A Voluntary Carbon Tax Witness

To address climate change in a meaningful way, we realize we must do more than change our light bulbs or drive a Prius.  The critical challenge is to reduce worldwide use of carbon. A U.S. carbon tax would be a powerful incentive toward that end.  Although it is politically untenable now, we can still make a personal choice for a Voluntary Carbon Tax Witness.  As George Fox suggests, we can “Be patterns, be examples…that [our] life may preach among all sorts of people, and to them…”

Climate change can be overwhelming and we all wear a carbon sword. Remembering George Fox’s words to William Penn, “wear (your sword) as long as thee can,” we take on this witness as we are led. Fourteen of us from Mt. Toby Friends Meeting have responded to our leading to this witness. Those doing the witness pledge a selected percent for one or more of our personal carbon-use expenditures on:

  • driving
  • heating
  • electricity
  • other transportation

The amount of one’s pledge is confidential; the witness is public. Each quarter we decide which environmental effort will receive the collected funds.

Climate change is ominous, complex, even overwhelming—it is removed from our daily lives and it can be pushed away. According to a Yale University poll, 18% of those in the U.S. are alarmed and are making changes—a significant number of us; we are anxious to do something more about it. Another 33% believe that climate change is real but distant; it will not directly impact them—there is no sense of urgency. The other 49% ignore the issue or flatly deny it.

We are hopeful that this witness is seen by Quakers and others as an opportunity to take meaningful action that aligns with their values and they too, will feel led to this witness. Where the people lead, politicians may eventually follow.