The Peace and Social Concerns Committee presented a forum February 23 on “Taking Action to Protect Our Environment,” attended by approximately 25 Friends and Attenders. Jamie Lockard and Burt Dallas led the forum and noted the rise of environmental issues and awareness over the past 60 years. The degradation of our resources and climate change have reached a crisis stage in the current era.  The focus of the forum was to identify ways in which Radnor Monthly Meeting and its members and attenders can become more aware of environmental issues and take concrete action to improve and protect our environment.

Burt noted that caring for the environment is consistent with our Quaker values, including integrity, community, equality and stewardship.  He cited as one important example and action each of us can take is to consider eating a plant-based diet due to the massive resources required to raise animals for food, especially cattle. Articles were provided highlighting these facts.  For example, it takes 660 gallons of water to produce the beef in one hamburger.

Jamie then led us in breaking into four sub-groups to discuss addressing environmental issues at concentric levels: (1) individually, (2) at the Meeting level; (3) locally (township and county); and (4) nationally and globally.

Each break-out group brainstormed about ideas and items for action, summarized as follows (with apologies if any of the wonderful ideas and themes not captured here):

  1. Individual Actions
  • diet-based reduction of carbon footprint:  less meat/more plants
  • consult “Better World Shopping Guide,” which evaluates vendors and their focus on ecological issues
  • buy locally
  • choose business and products that use less packaging
  • take your own reusable shopping bag, versus using disposable plastic bags
  • recycle
  • home composting
  • switch to eco-friendly energy suppliers
  • green burials
  • carpool
  • energy efficient appliances/lightbulbs
  • turn down the thermostat
  • use clotheslines to dry laundry
  • use websites such as Nextdoor for recycling objects/furniture etc. rather than tossing them

2.   meeting Actions

Focus on the green space that we have at Radnor Meeting, including enjoying and respecting our grounds, making more use of the grounds, sharing our grounds with the community or other faith-based groups, having an inter-faith progressive garden tour, and cleaning  up a stream in our area (first day school activity?).

3. Local/Governmental level

Begin to work with other local faith-based organizations on environmental action, lobbying and legislation, including addressing such issues as maintaining open space, planting trees, recycling, better use of energy, charging stations for electric cars, litter pickup, stream cleanup, better public transportation and supporting efforts to adopt rules at housing developments to promote better environmental practices.

  1. National/global level
  • Improving public transportation to reduce the need for cars and imagining our area with less congestion
  • Supporting students from Radnor Meeting with scholarships to attend lobbying events (training the next generation)
  • Providing coordination/access to national efforts such as Friends Committee for National Legislation

The entire group then reconvened and reviewed the thoughts and ideas submitted.  One theme that emerged is that members of our Meeting want more information and resources to educate themselves about environmental issues so that they can act.  Those at the forum strongly supported updating the Meeting website to have more information and resources about the environment and actions we can take.

We will discuss the suggested items for action at the next meeting of Peace and Social Concerns and hope to be returning to the Meeting with plans for further action in the near future.  We appreciate everyone’s enthusiasm and support at the forum, and especially thank Jamie, Burt and Steve Olshevski for their hard work, insights and energy in preparing for this forum and leading our environmental efforts.  We hope this will be an ongoing commitment of the Meeting.