QCEA has previously been involved in advocacy work dealing with economic injustice and sustainability. Although these areas are no longer part of our current work programme, we remain passionate about these causes.
Quakers believe that there is ‘that of God in everyone’. It follows from this conviction that no one person is inherently better or deserving of respect than another. (This is the source of some of the better-known Quaker traditions from times when respect for the social hierarchy was the norm: Quakers used informal pronouns (thee and thou) and men did not raise their hats to show respect to a social better. And, today, QCEA staff still do not use titles of respect, such as Mr or Ms, but rather the full name of anyone whom we are addressing.)
Many Quakers have long held a concern for economic justice, reconciliation, and the right sharing of world resources. In the past, when Quakers and other non-conformists were denied access to universities in the United Kingdom (which then included the whole of Ireland), many started their own businesses. The concern for right treatment of workers was shown by many Quaker business owners. There is now an active group of Quakers in business in Britain who collaborate on improving best practice, as do many Quakers in other countries as well.
Our actions together create our world: Quakers work to ensure that the world we are creating is the world in which we want to live and to share with other people, including our children.
Quaker witness means that we act in faith to create the better world we believe to be possible. This includes our commitment to the sustainability of our planet, and human life. As Quakers, we believe that “we do not own the world, and its riches are not ours to dispose of at will…Work to ensure that our increasing power over nature is used responsibly, with reverence for life” (BYM Advices & Queries 42) Therefore we need to reassess human relationships with the Earth, including how we use resources – ranging from energy and water, to plastic and land – rather than just asking how we can replace dwindling materials.
– QCEA celebrates the leadership that the EU has shown in the context of its climate and energy goals. But much more has to be done.
– QCEA aims to stimulate greater scrutiny of how our economic systems relate to environmental problems, particularly unsustainable resource use, growing inequality, and the primary focus of the need for economic growth.
– We call for policies that prioritise the well-being of people and planet over the growth of gross domestic product (GDP) and private profit.
– We seek to model and promote the circular economy (which aims to maintain the value of resources for as long as possible, through re-use and recycling among other techniques) and appropriate valuation of the natural inputs into our production and consumption systems.
– QCEA calls upon the EU to accept responsibility for, and to acknowledge, its dependence on the environment and to recognise that an essential factor in promoting sustainable energy security for all people is for those of us who use more than our fair share to reduce our demand.
– QCEA calls upon the EU to ensure that it does not neglect its responsibility for human rights worldwide in sourcing its energy.