Eugene Friends Meeting

Eugene Friends Meeting

of the Religious Society of Friends ("Quakers")

Seasonal Reflections on Unity with Nature

A journal of Earthcare thought and action for Eugene Friends Meeting

“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. Our actions have as yet been insufficient.”

From the Canterbury Commitment, Britain Yearly Meeting, 2011

Queries: 

What does it mean to be in Unity with Nature?

How might our lives change if we applied our Quaker Testimonies to the entire Living World?

Editor: Cynthia Black; all photos and artwork by editor unless noted.

March 2024: Sustainable Food

Archive:

  • March 2024: Sustainable Food
  • Feb. 2024: In Relationship with the Natural World
  • January 2024: New Year for Nature
  • December 2023: Unity with the Nurturing Darkness
  • November 2023: Unity with Indigenous People
  • October 2023: Unity with Forests
  • September 2023: Unity with Pollinators

  • Food and Our Testimonies

    Food unites and food divides. It both marks us into tribes and gives us opportunities to reach past our societal limits. From chicken barbecues to vegetarian-dominated potlucks, what we put on the table says a lot about our values, and how we welcome unfamiliar food choices is a measure of our hospitality. How do kitchen-table spreads of… (read more)


  • RECIPROCITY WITH THE EARTH

    In a culture of gratitude, everyone knows that gifts will follow the circle of reciprocity and flow back to you again. This time you give and next time you receive. Both the honor of giving and the humility of receiving are necessary halves of the circle. … The earth gives away for free the power… (read more)


  • LOVE AND ADVOCACY

    What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anaemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Martin Luther King Jr., Where Do We Go From Here? (1967) My love for the planet, and for every being on it,… (read more)


  • TRUE RELATIONSHIP WITH BIRDS

    Besides their intrinsic value as members of the Natural World, birds play many crucial roles in our ecosystems — including pest control, pollination, and seed dispersal — and are essential to human welfare. With an estimated 1,200 species facing extinction over the next century, and many more suffering from severe habitat loss, we must feel the impulse… (read more)


  • MUTUAL CARE

    We are showered every day with the gifts of the Earth, gifts we have neither earned nor paid for: air to breathe, nurturing rain, black soil, berries and honeybees, the tree that became this page, a bag of rice and the exuberance of a field of goldenrod and asters at full bloom. Though the Earth provides… (read more)


  • TAKE ACTION FOR THE EARTH

    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…. (read more)


  • BECOMING THE QUAKERS THAT NATURE  NEEDS

    “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of a difference you want to make.” —Jane Goodall We’ve been talking about discernment and clarity for Earth-care in the new year; after you have taken… (read more)


  • CLARITY IN THE NEW YEAR

    In winter, one can walk into woods that had been opaque with summer growth only a few months earlier and see the trees clearly, singly and together, and see the ground they are rooted in. … Winter clears the landscape, however brutally, giving us a chance to see ourselves and each other more clearly, to… (read more)


  • OPEN TO DISCERNMENT

    As we begin a new year, let us put the earth first in our priorities, because without a well-functioning planet all our other loves, dreams, testimonies and leadings will spin off in to chaos. Everything we honor, value, and work towards depends on the ecosystem around us. If we follow the threads of war and poverty… (read more)


  • RETURN TO THE LIGHT

    For the last few weeks I’ve been writing about the nurturing power of the darkness, and now it is time to return to the light – but very slowly. We’ve just experienced the winter solstice, when the northern hemisphere of the earth reaches its furthest tilt away from the sun; now it is beginning to… (read more)


  • UNITY WITH ROOTS

    Roots are the foundation of a tree, supporting the tree and holding it in place while also taking up water and nutrients from the soil. Many people imagine tree roots as a mirror image of the branches, but tree roots actually grow mostly horizontally from the base of the tree, rather than downward. Buttress roots right… (read more)


  • UNITY WITH SEEDS

    Only when we see that we are part of the totality of the planet, not a superior part with special privileges, can we work effectively to bring about an earth restored to wholeness. Darkness is no less desirable than light. It is rather, a rich source of creativity … First there is the darkness of… (read more)


  • UNITY WITH THE DARK

    To go in the dark with a light is to know the light. To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight, and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings, and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings. -Wendell Berry As the days get shorter and winter sets in, we each experience the… (read more)


  • LANDBACK

    Through the process of colonization, Indigenous people were forcibly removed from billions of acres of land that they depended upon and belonged to, and relocated to ever-diminishing reserves. We all know that Indigenous people have signed treaties to share the lands and waters that the U.S.and Canadian governments have failed to honor, and that, in many… (read more)


  • THE HAUDENOSAUNEE THANKSGIVING ADDRESS

    This First Day at 12:30 p.m. after Meeting for Worship, we will recite the Haudenosaunee (pronounced who-DIN-oh-show-nee) Thanksgiving Address Greetings to the World. Please join us, in person or on zoom! The Haudenosaunee people (also known as the Iroquois) have said that the words of the Thanksgiving Address are their gift to the world and are meant… (read more)


  • WHY LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ARE IMPORTANT

    A land acknowledgement is a statement, often at the start of a meeting or other gathering, that recognizes the Indigenous people who are the original caretakers and inhabitants of the land upon which the event is taking place. Acknowledgement means to accept and admit the truth of something, in this case, the complicated and fraught history of people… (read more)


  • WHY WE MUST LISTEN TO INDIGENOUS VOICES

    According to the United Nations, land areas managed by Indigenous Peoples are among the most biodiverse and well-conserved on the planet. The cultural stories of Indigenous People have embraced sustainability long before the term entered public discourse. Modern environmentalism has been deprived of Indigenous knowledge because our early environmental thinkers, like John Muir, saw nature as something apart… (read more)


  • FOREST BATHING for QUAKERS

    Shinrin-yoku is the Japanese practice of bathing your senses, or immersing yourself, in the forest; it’s a process of slowing down to pay attention to nature. Research shows that forest bathing reduces anxiety, strengthens your immune system, and helps you sleep better. And it will also help you to develop a stronger connection with nature. … (read more)


  • WILLAMETTE VALLEY OAK SAVANNA 

    Eugene rests in the Willamette Valley Oak Savanna ecoregion. Oak savannas are landscapes characterized by widely spaced oak trees and a prairie-like ground layer vegetation. The white oaks of this ecoregion are considered keystone species because “they support more life-forms than any other North American tree genus including fungi, insects, birds and mammals.” (U.S. National Park Service)… (read more)


  • OREGON FOREST DEFENSE 

    I talked about intact forests last week, but we hear more about old-growth forests in Oregon.  Oregon Wild says, “generally speaking, old growth means a forest that has not undergone any major unnatural changes (such as logging) for more than 100 to 150 years, contains a diversity of tree species and structures, and provides a home for a diversity of wildlife species. Natural disturbances like… (read more)


  • ON THE IMPORTANCE OF FORESTS

    Our world’s forests are one of the most effective nature-based solutions to climate change and the wildlife extinction crisis. Despite this, forests are undervalued and largely unprotected. More than 75% of the forests on the planet have been damaged or destroyed by roads, mining, logging, oil extraction or industrial farming. The remaining 25% of our planet’s forests are what we… (read more)


  • PLANTING NATIVE GARDENS

    Native pollinators need appropriate native plants, those that are indigenous to our specific geographic area: Here in the Willamette Valley, we live in the Pacific Lowland Mixed Forest ecosystem (same as the Puget Sound Valley). Before cultivation, we had dense coniferous forests, prairies that supported open stands of oaks, and wetlands with swamp or bog communities. The original, natural… (read more)


  • A WILD GARDEN

    “What if each American landowner made it a goal to convert half of his or her lawn to productive native plant communities? Even moderate success could collectively restore some semblance of ecosystem function to more than twenty million acres of what is now ecological wasteland. … we can create this country’s largest park system. It… (read more)


  • UNITY WITH NATIVE BEES AND BUTTERFLIES

    The concept of ‘unity with nature’ is still unsettled in Friends’ minds. Our commitment to the exploration of this concept … is alive and growing. But how to nurture it? Where will it lead us? Is it an aspect of our deepest spiritual selves, to be integrated into our whole being by quiet contemplation of wilderness and… (read more)


  • POLLINATORS ARE IN TROUBLE

    “We are at a critical point of losing so many species from local ecosystems that their ability to produce the oxygen, clean water, flood control, pollination, pest control, carbon storage, etc, that is, the ecosystem services that sustain us, will become seriously compromised.” ~ Doug Tallamy Bees, butterflies, birds, bats (and more) are critical to… (read more)


Butterfly Event at the Meeting House, Sunday, September 17, 2023, at 12:15