Revolutionary change does not come as one cataclysmic moment (beware of such moments!) but as an endless succession of surprises, moving zigzag toward a more decent society. We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world. Even when we don’t “win,” there is fun and fulfillment in the fact that we have been involved, with other good people, in something worthwhile. We need hope.~ Howard Zinn
Action for the earth is a huge topic with so many tragic implications – we can feel defeated before we begin. Do our individual actions actually matter, or is it all about big systems and policies beyond our individual control?
We know that systemic change is necessary to alter our course, but our individual day-to-day actions DO help spread a more sustainable worldview: Changes in our diet, our shopping habits, our transportation choices – these make a real difference, and model a life that values the Natural World. If we commit to learning something new every week, or trying on a new habit, or having a conversation with someone about earth-care, these are good and important steps to take.
But we cannot stop there. We cannot say, “I’m driving an electric car, so I’ve done my part.” We must act on those difficult leadings, the small voice that is urging something more.
A Friend said to me recently, “Living with integrity is only part of the solution to the environmental crisis we are in. Institutional change, in corporations and policy, make a greater impact, so we need not comfort ourselves with living simply … If I join with others to stop the capitalist exploitation of mines, landscapes, the atmosphere and people, I help make a macro impact that goes much farther in reducing the untenable stress on our environment. … Living with the disaster, and living in God’s Grace, simultaneously, is our spiritual quest. But saving the planet from our selfishness is a more immanent calling.”
Big progress in our world comes with policy shifts and mass education efforts. We need activists and advocates to bring attention to serious issues, inspire difficult discussions, and mobilize us all to use our voices and our votes – to influence political leaders and our government practices, and to move our corporations towards valuing planet over profit.
We can all become activists for the earth: We only need discern and define a cause we are passionate about, then bring awareness of it to others. Quakers have a legacy of peaceful protest and social activism. Our concern for the Earth and the wellbeing of all who live on it is deeply rooted in our Quaker faith. We acknowledge that the environmental crisis is enmeshed with global economic injustice, greed, war, racism, and inequality.
As F/friends, we envision an ideal—an Earth restored in which humans live in harmony with the natural world, celebrating rather than ignoring the interdependence between us. It is not only humanity that contains the Light within each person; the natural world contains that Light as well, and as Quakers we have a duty to push Congress towards policies that sustain our Earth as we know it.Friends Committee on National Legislation
Earth Care is a collective activity: We can take many kinds of action, and become individually greener – but when we join together as advocates and activists, we have a greater impact. We sustain our action by tending to our relationships with one another, by discussing and reflecting together, and by cultivating moments of joy.
Advises and Queries on Activism:
1. Tailor your actions to your own strengths and passions. What are you good at? What skills, resources, and influence are you bringing to the table? What brings you joy?
2. Consider what you can do that will have ripples. How will your action trigger a positive reaction in others? How might your individual actions change a larger system?
3. Find your community. Who can you join with to give yourself the strength of the bonds of solidarity?