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Quakers' eco stories

October 28, 2011:

Friends House in London

British Quakers are tackling the challenge to lead more environmentally friendly lifestyles with gusto. Individuals and Local Meetings are responding to the Living Witness Project with imagination, commitment – and a sense of fun.

Sharing surplus apples, insulating homes, becoming vegetarian, revamping buildings and planting trees are just some of the ways in which British Quakers are embracing the need to be more mindful about using the Earth’s resources.

Jacqui Poole of Bideford LM says: ‘We agreed that our first challenge was to educate ourselves, the better, eventually to enthuse others! We achieved this in various ways; the two most successful being a) to watch and discuss various documentaries about climate change, including 'An Inconvenient Truth', David Attenborough’s 'The Truth about Climate Change', Greenpeace’s 'A Convenient Solution' and finally 'The Age of Stupid' and b) to invite the LWP to provide a one-day workshop.

‘Simultaneously, we managed to get an agreement with a free local magazine, The Bideford Buzz, to have a ‘Green Page’. For this, we paid £150 for an article once a month for about 6 months.

‘We organised the public showing of three of the documentaries on two separate occasions. This attracted an audience of about 40, including some councillors and the Liberal Democrat Candidate for Parliament. As a result of a one-day workshop, we have managed to eliminate a 'cold spot' in the Meeting House and we are considering the feasibility of solar panels. Thirdly, we have a 'green slot' in our own Meeting Newsletter once a month.’

Wandsworth LM organized a Green Fair. Linda Murgatroyd says: A couple of local transition town groups, Friends of the Earth, the local Green Party, the local Cycling Campaign, Food Up Front, etc, as well as a couple of local businesses (e.g. one that made organic juices), campaigns and charities were involved . The day offered opportunities to learn about energy efficiency, local wildlife, composting etc as well as fun activities.

A series of short films were shown and locally produced food and crafts were sold. The lunchtime talks and discussion on ‘Climate
Change for the Confused’ and ‘Building sustainable communities: what can we do together’ were the most successful.

Quaker Care, a care home with 40 residents in New Milton, Hampshire, now has solar water heating. Anthony Woolhouse says: ‘In 2010 the board authorised the installation of solar water heating as its first step in improving energy efficiency and hence reducing energy costs. Solar water heating was chosen as it is well established, and there is a large established base. This technological and installation risks were minimal.

‘We were fortunate in obtaining grant finance for 75% of the project. We received one of the last grants from the Department of Energy and Climate Change and were blessed by the receipt of a grant from the Quaker Housing Trust.

'Some residents are quite excited by “their home” becoming greener. The local paper printed a story on the project. We felt that the visibility of Quaker House as well as its sustainability has been enhanced.'

To read more stories about the low-carbon commitments of Quaker Local Meetings click here.



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Floor-coverings made from recycled bottletops, solar panels and recycled furniture are part of a low-carbon refurbishment of the Quakers' Friends House in London.