New Zealand and Australia Yearly Meetings
OUR YM IS DOING ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION
A Report to YM A/NZ and Karen Street, Pacific YM, (USA) based on
information received from individual Friends and responses to a survey
put out by the Spiritual Ecology of Kapity Meeting (QSEG).
Background to Friends' Witness to
1. Our YM 2000 Statement on Environmental
Sustainability encouraged "Friends to amend their life-styles and
support each other in making the changes necessary as our witness to
2. Minute 29 of YM 2001 asked us to take our
experience and learnings [on Environmental Sustainability] back to our
Meetings for discussion and understanding.
3. In 2000, Britain YM began to consider Friends'
Corporate Witness to the Earth by setting up "Earth: Our Creative
Responsibility Group" [EOCR]. In response to a 2001 BYM
"Call to Action" a Project was set up to support the development of
Friends' corporate Witness to Sustainable Living in four phases over
three years. Phase I seeks to identify Friends' witness and to
bring together their values, views and experiences.
QSEG felt this might be a useful starting point to examine NZ Friends'
Patterns emerging from NZ Friends'
responses to the Survey:
We received 248 responses. Statistics set out in Documents in
Advance 2003 showed that 392 people attended Meeting for Worship.
So it is apparent that well over half of Friends and Attenders
responded. This is a great effort and we thank all Friends for
The Survey was not intended to be exhaustive. It only asked a few
of the most obvious things that anyone could easily incorporate into
We found that:
192 try to conserve energy
113 heat their homes with coal or wood
167 use either gas or electricity for heating
117 make serious efforts to conserve water, while 51
did so occasionally
Purchasing patterns showed that:
70 bought environmentally benign products
118 bought 2nd hand
120 bought local produce, 70 also buying
142 shopped conventionally.
71 are car-pooling or using public transport
62 have more than one car
Dealing with waste:
170 carefully reduce their
172 are serious about reducing consumption with only
24 who do so occasionally or never.
184 compost their green waste
This question was broad covering those who have a small garden, to
those engaged in a small holding or farming:
90 used conventional management practices and 80
Air trips: [one of the biggest contributers to global warming]
97 take a maximum of one air trip a year while
71 take more than one. Some take no air trips
146 indicated their homes are insulated [but only
two of our meeting houses are insulated]
44 are actively involved in outside groups working
on ecological issues while 34 are supporters of such groups.
37 Friends are involved in their own personal projects, encouraging us
- Walk more lightly on the Earth
- Be respectful to the planet
- Acknowledge our interconnectedness and
- Reduce, re-use, recycle consumption
- Encourage and commend local Council efforts to
establish recycling stations, and areas for composting green waste
- Belong to local environmental groups [eg.
Forest and Bird, Greenpeace, Soil and Health, Karori
Wildlife Sanctuary, Kapiti Environmental Action, Coastal
Dune Vegetation Network]
- Become aware of finite water resources; be
frugal in water use; grow fewer water-greedy plants
- Use more public transport; bike;
- Conserve energy
- Eat and grow more organic food; use GE-free
products; avoid chemical sprays; compost
- Raise public awareness of environmental issues
- Encourage community dialogue— "speaking truth
- Write submissions. Friends sent a
variety of submissions to government on ecological
Climate Change Response Bill
Pesticide Risk Reduction
Human gene research
Coastal Dune vegetation
Oceans policy for NZ
- Educate our children—they still have a
capacity for wonder, love and compassion
- Be aware of the environmentally destructive
power of multi-national corporations [Friends have joined the
Sustainable Business Network and the Council for Socially Responsible
- Support legislation encouraging the right use
A handful of Friends have built energy-efficient
houses and gardens using solar and wind energy, building materials kind
to the environment and contributing to soil enrichment.
As yet we have no information on the survey results
undertaken by the Witness to Sustainability project of Britain YM, but
we think our survey shows that a good proportion of Friends in our YM
in Aotearoa/NZ are witnessing to the avoidance of environmental