Climate Crisis / COP26

Climate Crisis / COP26

Current News

British Quakers send powerful message to world leaders at COP26 from British Yearly Meeting:

To those gathering at COP 26 we offer our anger, our grief and our kinder ground, as well as our hope that they can share a vision of a better world. We ask them to renew and redouble their efforts, as we will do ourselves, giving no less than all we can to deliver a liveable planet and just societies.
(Part of Minute 33, British Yearly Meeting 2021)

Find out about COP26. What is being negotiated? What can you do to take action? Watch this great YouTube video from a recent Quaker Peace and Social Witness Workshop.

Pilgrimages to COP26. As part of the build-up to the UN climate talks (COP26) in Glasgow in November, several different pilgrimages are underway including legs from Bury St Edmunds. To keep up to date see “Latest News” on the right.

Green Fair. We really enjoyed participating in the Green Fair (see photo above) at the Apex organised by West Suffolk Hive. Our stunning display attracted plenty of interest and featured some beautiful panels from Loving Earth. Several members of our meeting are contributing to the Loving Earth global project and the results will be displayed at the COP26 Conference.

Meeting House Garden

Pledge to Wild East. Our lovely meeting house garden (photo on the right) appears as pledge on the Wild East Map of Dreams. We have pledge half of the garden around the Meeting House to nature.

Find out more:
Search the Hive Eco Directory to find more about local Green organisations and businesses
Explore the work of British Quakers on Climate Change and Social Justice


Quakers and Climate Change

John Woolman’s words in 1772 sound as clearly to us now:
“The produce of the earth is a gift from our gracious creator to the inhabitants, and
to impoverish the earth now to support outward greatness appears to be an injury
to the succeeding age.” (Quaker faith & practice 25.01)

In 2011, at the annual gathering of Quakers in Britain (BYM) held in Canterbury, Quakers made a strong corporate commitment to become a low-carbon, sustainable community. This has become known as the Canterbury Commitment . Part of the minute reads ” A concern for the Earth and the well-being of all who dwell in it is not new, and we have not now received new information which calls us to act. Rather we are renewing our commitment to a sense of the unity of creation which has always been part of Friends’ testimonies. 

In 2013, Quakers were the first church in Britain to divest our centrally held funds from fossil fuels. In 2017, Quakers called for a ban on fracking. Much has been achieved in Bury St. Edmunds in developing a sustainable Meeting House and its garden and in personal and collective reflection and activity, We have a vibrant and active climate change and sustainability group. Much more needs to be done.

Today, the crisis is not just more imminent and more threatening; it is already taking huge toll in hunger, violent conflict, and the displacement of millions in vulnerable communities.   We have had a succession of scientific reports and warnings of increasing danger and too little action. Across all sectors of society there is a growing desire for regeneration of our land and society – a call to ‘Build Back Better’.  In the UK, we have the responsibility as host for the crucial UN COP 26 in November 2021″. Part of a minute of Bury St. Edmunds local Quaker meeting 2021.

At the 2021 Yearly Meeting British Quakers restated in the strongest terms possible our long standing commitment to work towards climate justice:


“Friends across the world have long held a concern for us to live in right relationship with creation. We stand now, looking back at minutes from our own Yearly Meeting in 2011, from worldwide gatherings of friends in Kabarak and Pisac, and looking ahead to the COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference taking place in Glasgow later this year. Events of recent weeks remind us that climate crisis is here, and that it affects us already. There is so much to lose, and so much to gain.
What more does love require of us here, and now?
To those gathering at COP 26 we offer our anger, our grief and our kinder ground, as well as our hope that they can share a vision of a better world. We ask them to renew and redouble their efforts, as we will do ourselves, giving no less than all we can to deliver a liveable planet and just societies.
From personal witness, let us build collective action. Those privileged by our current economic and political systems will not give up their positions without a struggle. To the extent that we hold privilege in these systems, we must also be ready to sacrifice this. We believe that our current political systems do not serve us effectively in this work. We pray that we will remain undaunted by obfuscation, delay and distraction in response to our work.
Seeking to reduce carbon emissions is an urgent priority, but without interrogating and disrupting our existing economic systems, this will only us back to an unjust system, and may encourage corporations, governments and individuals to delay necessary action and avoid systemic change.
While living faithfully, taking practical action to reduce our personal impact on the planet allows us to work in this area with integrity, it cannot be where our faith-led action ends. Eldership, building resilient communities, right ordering and witness are also fundamental parts of the actions we must take.
Climate justice is anti-racist work. The people most affected by the urgent and systemic crisis must be placed first in gaining this justice. If we have faith we will find many things to do but we cannot set the agenda without centering the experience and needs of people on the front line of climate change. Quakers in Britain must join with Friends and others across the world learning and acting together.
Can our anger, grief and love push us forward to renewed action?