Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Earth Quaker Action Team: Faith and environment: Action against coal activities



In case you hadn't noticed, Networkers, Miss Eagle is a Quaker.  She attends Eastern Suburbs Local Meeting (part of Victoria Regional Meeting) in Melbourne, Victoria. I want to share with you what American Friends (Quakers are  properly known as the Religious Society of Friends) are up to.  Over at Huffington Post, Eileen Flanagan has written Quakers Advocate Living in 'Right Relationship' with Creation about the activities of Quakers on the front line of the mess which is coal-mining in Appalachia.  And we have our own coal-related messes here in Australia in the form of open-cut pit mining and coal seam gas exploration and extraction.

Unfortunately, Friends in Australia have been a bit slow in getting their collective act together and really moving their Meetings into concerted action.  Sure, there are individuals like mois and like Andrew Bray from BREAZE in Ballarat to whom I have done  a shout out to below.  But the powerful collective factor is absent from Australian Friends at this time - although there are stirrings across the States.

In fact, my own experience of faith and interfaith environmental groups here in Victoria is that they tend towards quietism on environmental matters or, not to put too fine a point on the matter, people of faith seem to be more inclined to the warm and fuzzy and personal with regard to the environment rather than getting stuck into the pointy end where decisions are made and decisions affected.  

At my great age and antiquity, I am hardly the essence of activism anymore.  Most - although not all - is done on my posterior in front of the computer.  I could never be the chain-myself-to-a-coal-facility person even in my more active days.  However, I have to be where the people are.  I have to be where those who are affected by poor decisions are.  I have to be adding to my knowledge of issues and people to ever press for community engagement and increased knowledge of community impacts.  And I find so few people of faith - any faith - there.

For me planet and people are an outworking of my faith and an essential part of my faith practice.  I firmly agree with Paul in his Letter to the Romans (1:20) where he says - For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made. And if creation so manifests the qualities of its Creator, surely it behoves people of faith to sit up straight, pay attention, and plan their next activity!  In fact (I am not wanting to sound extreme here) I think the other side of the coin is that destruction of creation, in this context, is blasphemy and sacrilege.  

You can see, Networkers, that I don't regard my activities - simple as they are - as warm, fuzzy, personal or self-centred.  I might not always hit my target - but, from time to time, acting in concert with others we do.  And, if I/we don't?  Well, I/we are the voice/s of the prophet/s alive in the land!



The Earth Quaker Action Team is a group of people 
dedicated to ensuring the well-being of our planet 
by using nonviolent direct action 
to stand up against destructive and unjust practices, 
This video explains the groups mission, how it came about, 
and its BLAM (Bank Like Appalachia Matters) campaign, 
It was filmed at Appalachia Rising on 9.21.10.

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