A Robust, Joyous, Post-Carbon Remnant
Local Food Production and Self-Transformation in Community
by Pamela Boyce Simms, Guest Editor
Hudson Meeting, NYYM, Friends General Conference, and Quaker Earthcare Witness UN Representative
The lives of NYYM (f)Friends who brought this issue of Spark to life are profoundly inspiring. They and other likeminded Friends throughout the Yearly Meeting are the fiery heart of environmental resilience-building that will generate a robust, joyous, post-carbon remnant. Their work provides a window into how, with focused intentionality and in community, we will emerge victorious and stronger from the climate change crucible.
It has been a joy and privilege to wholeheartedly sing the praises of how “aerated” and spaciousness i find New York Yearly Meeting to be as i visit with other yearly meetings, and the constellation of Friends’ organizations. NYYM has offered me space to explore leadings, and NYYM Friends have shown me unwavering support.
However, as a former clerk of the NYYM Earthcare Working Group i was admittedly less enthusiastic about what i observed of NYYM Friends’ commitment to Earthcare as an organized witness concern until i began Earthcare conversations for this issue of Spark.
We are delighted to lift up herein, Friends among other New Yorkers in large swaths of the state who never stopped living the simple, environmentally sustainable lifestyles of their great grandparents. These Friends have now doubled down on their commitment to safeguarding the Earth. Other Friend-exemplars, who, while surrounded by mainstream consumerism, steadfastly model resilience in such a way as to touch the lives of exponential numbers of people around them.
Focus on What Counts—Food, Water, and Self-transformation in Community
Let’s maintain one-pointed focus on building the foundation for thriving in the oil-constrained future that’s on the horizon. At a time when climate change is dialing up and most Americans are dependent upon an oligarchic corporate infrastructure for survival, let’s ensure that we address the basics. Let’s focus on access to food and drinkable water as the frequency of climate disruptions accelerates.
We have choices. We can reskill and reverse the overspecialization that has atrophied core life skills.
We can relearn to holistically and autonomously take care of our own basic food needs rather than be fed by corporations focused on profit rather than people. We can choose to purposefully relocalize food production wherever we are and protect our water supply as we care for the Earth AS Self. Learning to care for the Earth AS Self invites us to commit to ongoing self-transformation.
The NYYM Friends who have shared their stories herein are farmers, chaplains, hydrogeologists, shepherds, mystics, homesteaders, local government officials, naturalists, professors, and Master Gardeners. They till the soil, herd the sheep, insulate walls, minister unto many, commune with nature, educate, and model resilience in Ithaca, Brooklyn, Clinton, East Chatham, and Seneca Castle in New York, and in Highland Park and Montclair in New Jersey.
They are steadfastly supported in their local environmental resilience-building by the policy and advocacy work of Friends dedicated to Earthcare engagement at national and international levels: Quaker Earthcare Witness (QEW), Quaker UN Office (QUNO), and the Friends World Consultative Council (FWCC).
The highest collective aspiration we offer for NYYM, and for all Friends, is that we learn to imitate the natural world and live into the reality of our interconnectedness, from hyper-local to international levels. May we learn to “be love” personified, and in so doing become a robust, joyous, remnant.