Quaker Earthcare Witness
Quaker Earthcare Witness (QEW) was founded in 1987. It grew out of a six-day workshop during a Quaker conference in Ohio. At that time and for the first fifteen years it was known as Friends’ Committee on Unity With Nature. It is a not for profit organization serving as a network for North American Friends.
QEW addresses the ecological and social crises of the world from a spiritual perspective, emphasizing Quaker process and testimonies. They seek to understand what it would mean to live in ‘right relationship’ with Earth and nature, and to act wherever they can to advance this cause.
We are called to live in right relationship with all Creation, recognizing that the entire world is interconnected and is a manifestation of God. We work to integrate into the beliefs and practices of the Religious Society of Friends the Truth that God’s Creation is to be respected, protected, and held in reverence in its own right, and the Truth that human aspirations for peace and justice depend upon restoring the earth’s ecological integrity. We promote these truths by being patterns and examples, by communicating our message, and by providing spiritual and material support to those engaged in the compelling task of transforming our relationship to the earth.
While QEW supports reforms in laws, technology, education, and institutions, its fundamental purpose is to facilitate transformation of humans' attitudes, values, identity, and worldview that underlie much of the environmental destruction going on in the world today. It seeks to do this at international, national and local levels.
It works at the UN in New York with QUNO (the Quaker UN office), AFSC (American Friends Service Committee), CFSC (Canadian Friends Service Committee), FWCC (Quakers’ global body) and FCNL (Friends Council for National Legislation). key issues are environmental justice, food/water and climate change.
For many supporters the value of the network lies in the difference it makes between feeling overwhelmed by today's environmental challenges and being a part of a growing community working for positive change. The network gives them greater strength to speak out and to act in whatever circumstances, and provides resources to do so..
QEW differs from other organizations that come from a purely environmental standpoint, in that it sees the current global crisis of ecological sustainability in spiritual terms. QEW’s actions are rooted in the belief that human aspirations for peace and justice depend on restoring Earth’s ecological integrity and living in right relationship with all of creation. By applying Friends’ ways and testimonies to discern what all this means, right action can be brought to today’s environmental concerns.
QEW has an annual programme of events and conferences. These include support for Young Adult Friends, an Earth Center at Friends General Conference, and two Steering Committee meetings. QEW also gives small grants to support Meetings and communities with start-up funds for greening projects.
QEW has several publications. A bimonthly journal, BeFriending Creation, contains accounts of the many diverse things that Friends are doing and saying. QEW also offers many pamphlets available in print and online, as well as several booklets.
There is a complementary relationship between QEW and the Quaker Institute for the Future (QIF). The aim of QIF is to undertake and publish high quality research about related topics, providing an evidence base that can inform the activism of QEW and other like-minded organisations.