Monday, 4 November 2013

Divestment Campaign

Last week I was at Birmingham University for the Fossil Free Tour - put together by, People and Planet and Operation Noah. The Fossil Free Tour is travelling the world spreading the word to divest from fossil free companies.

I went for a few reasons,

- I went because of the recent decision by Quakers in Britain to divest from fossil fuels.

- I went because to be honest, I hadn't been to an event of this kind for a while and I wanted to hear more about the campaign and to see who else was there.

- I went because I wanted to be inspired.

Bill Mckibben was the draw, the headline speaker, the inspiration. He spoke about the international campaign to divest from fossil fuels. He spoke about 'doing the math'. That the share prices of fossil fuel companies are based on fuel that should never, can never be allowed to be extracted. To extract this fuel goes against even the most conservative of estimates.

Bill Mckibben's words describe it far more eloquently.

'The divestment campaign is based on the belief that if we are to stay below 2°C of warming, we cannot emit more than 565 gigatons of carbon dioxide in the future. Fossil fuel companies have more than five times that amount in coal, oil and gas reserves.'

A short trailer has been produced which can be seen here  Bill Mckibben - Do the Math

What we need, Bill Mckibben said, was Energy Companies - not Fossil Fuel companies. And to this end we must divest, take away their financial and political power. As a Quaker I could feel the saying 'Speak Truth to Power' singing through my veins. He spoke about those who have already taken this step and as he mentioned Quakers in Britain - it felt to me like we were beginning to live up to our commitment to become a low carbon sustainable community. Bill McKibben said Quakers in Britain 'had put their money where their mouths are' I hope others will divest and that this campaign continues to build momentum.

He showed a number of images during the presentation, these are the two that have stayed with me. These photos are from the 350 flickr photostream. (Join the Dots)
This first picture from Haiti was one that Bill McKibben made special mention to. The words on the paper say 'Your actions affect me'  He repeated these words 'Your actions affect me'.

I can only hope that these words come true for the Divestment campaign. I hope our actions affect the Fossil Fuel companies.

We must remember this is not the first time divestment has been used, and we were reminded of these examples on the night. From groups who have divested to make a difference, and they did! (Join the Dots)
This second image is the one I can't stop thinking about, and its because just as it came on screen, Bill Mckibben said something like, 'you'd have thought they have other things on their minds'. I think that statement could be true for everyone. I am lucky in my personal circumstances however I still manage to fill my mind with all sorts of worries and thoughts but the dangers of climate change are ever present, I am constantly thinking about the future of our planet and of humanity. This campaign provides a focus, an opportunity for an effective international campaign. We must all take responsibility for our own lives and actions - but we must also speak truth to power. This is one way to do just that!

Monday, 14 October 2013

Quakers to disinvest from fossil fuels

It has been a while since I posted, I apologise. This post is to let everyone know about the recent commitment Quakers made to disinvest from fossil fuels.

Below is a copy of the press release, this can also be found on the Quakers in Britain website. Within the text is a link to the Quaker briefing 'Ending fossil fuel dependency'.

News Release8 October 2013

Quakers to disinvest from fossil fuels

Quakers in Britain today (8 October) took steps to disinvest from companies engaged in extracting fossil fuels. The decision was taken by their Investment Committee, under responsibilities devolved by the Trustees.Quakers say that investing in companies which are engaged in fossil fuel extraction is incompatible with their commitment made in 2011 to become a sustainable low-carbon community. Since then they have been speaking out to create pressure in the UK for an energy system and economy that does not rely on fossil fuels.The decision follows the publication of a Quaker briefing Ending fossil fuel dependency [new window].Quakers have been praised by the environmental campaign group, Operation Noah, for being the first Christian denomination to divest from fossil fuel extraction. Operation Noah’s recent report, Bright Now, says “For the sake of humanity’s survival, we cannot afford to invest in fossil fuels any longer.”The move is backed by overwhelming support from Quakers all round the country who attended Quakers’ Meeting for Sufferings (their representative decision-making body) at the weekend. That meeting heard that Britain Yearly Meeting, as the body of Quakers is formally known, currently has about £21 million invested in the stock market, including in Statoil and BG Group. As at 30 September this year BG Group represents 2.73 percent of the portfolio by value, while Statoil accounted for 1.12 percent. Trustees, who oversee this investment, are to review their entire investment policy.The minute of the meeting recording their wish to disinvest said: “We want to invest in renewable energy and energy-saving schemes. Action we will take as individuals, as meetings and as Britain Yearly Meeting Trustees should aim to minimise damage and strengthen our advocacy position.“We have expressed our difficulties, especially since we all depend in many ways on fossil fuels, but we need to make positive steps towards the change we want to see,” the minute concluded.Local Quaker Meetings are being encouraged to engage in these issues, especially during Ethical Investment Week [13 to 19 October].


Notes to editors
  • Quakers are known formally as the Religious Society of Friends.
  • Around 23,000 people attend nearly 475 Quaker meetings in Britain. Their commitment to equality, justice, peace, simplicity and truth challenges them to seek positive social and legislative change.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Resilience - our resilience and that of our community

Personal Resilience

Sometimes you see people click, the conversation flows, they are animated and engaged, their faces smile. Human interaction, when it is positive fills me with joy, people are happy and I am seeing before me glimmers of the grace of God.

But it’s not always good, sometimes, often, interaction is negative – people get hurt, or worse. In the past I wanted to face this straight on, I determinedly set out to prove how much good there was in the world, for every negative experience I would aim to build more friendships, more dialogue, more campaigns, and more petitions against injustice.

I feel like human interaction is at the core of all, if we valued the human, would we live in a way that was detrimental to others, would we drive gas guzzling vehicles knowing that it was creating a world where millions would suffer the adverse effects of climate change, would we continue to eat foods that were high carbon, out of season, food that had travelled across the world, food that was handpicked because it looked the right colour or the right shape whilst food with so called imperfections are discarded.

These days I feel like I am walking a tightrope, sometimes I want to close my door as it gives me the illusion of feeling safe. The reality is I don’t feel safe, I won’t feel safe unless I fight for the world I want to live in. This week, that world includes one where legal aid isn’t cut, where we save the artic, where people don’t incite racial hatred, where the richer don’t get richer and the poorer don’t get poorer.
I need to be a part of the positive human interaction because I need to be filled with at least a few glimmers of the grace of God.

Community Resilience

At work, Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre, where I am the Faith in Action Tutor, we have been talking about resilience, how resilient do we feel? Are we a part of resilient communities? I think my answer to this question, would have to begin with the consideration of whether or not I belong to a community and if I do – which ones and how involved I am in each.

If you feel a part of a community, I believe you can feel empowered to do all sorts of things, perhaps we feel a little braver, more adventurous, willing to take risks knowing that we are not acting alone. Perhaps we feel we can achieve change when working together. If I consider taking action on Climate Change, I might feel like my actions have no impact – but if I consider my actions along with others in my communities and those taking action on Climate Change then suddenly my impact becomes part of a bigger picture.

If we don’t feel a part of a community, or that the community does not feel resilient to hold us – then what? Do we become isolated? Detached? Are we less likely to take action as we don’t feel supported by one another?

However working within community is a challenge in itself, communities aren’t places where we all think the same and would be led to the same action. There is always a need to communicate with one another, to be clear in our own convictions without drowning out the ideas of others.

This is only the very beginning of this conversation.  Resilience is going to be a theme for some of our Woodbrooke courses in 2014 (in particular), if you are interested – please get in touch. The brochure for 2014 will be available late autumn. 

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Low Carbon and Minute 36

This is the final guest blog from John Gray, in a series exploring British Quakers’ “Minute 36” commitment to become a low carbon sustainable community just-and-sustainable-world. 
Previous postings addressed Community, and Sustainable; this third article takes a look at Low carbon. John attends Friargate Quaker meeting in York.

Carbon matters because of our addiction to finite fossil fuels, and because of the significant influence of greenhouse gases on climate change. Going low carbon tackles these two related issues: a low carbon economy and behaviours increase energy security and help to mitigate the effects of climate change.

There’s no measurable number in “Low”, so the emphasis at this early stage in the Minute 36 or Canterbury Commitment must first be lower carbon: let’s make a start on what we can do, without worrying too much about exactly how we need to reduce by.

Back in the heady days of December 2009, at the time of the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, there were still hopes of holding the increase in global average temperature below 2 °C or 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels. That now looks increasingly unlikely: see, for example,

I remember in 2010 waking up one morning and thinking, We’re not going to make that 2 ⁰C limit. That realisation wasn’t a place of inward despair, but rather it felt like an acceptance of an unwelcome but real truth: from now on I would view a rise above 2 ⁰C as part of the context within which we are now living - with all its desperately serious consequences. As the journal article referenced above coldly notes: “We find that current emission trends continue to track scenarios that lead to the highest temperature increases.”

It’s important to keep hold of hope. This Vaclav Havel quote keeps me going:

" I understand [hope] above all as a state of mind, not a state of the world … Hope is an orientation of the spirit, an orientation of the heart; it transcends the world that is immediately experienced, and is anchored somewhere beyond its horizons. Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously headed for early success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed."

Or try Paul Hawken’s Commencement Address to the University of Portland Class of 2009:

“When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my answer is always the same: If you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand the data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse.”

In the face of the probability of a 2 ⁰C rise, and given increasing globalisation and its climate consequences, it’s no wonder people wonder why they should bother taking action.

But there are many logical as well as spiritual justifications, and here are a few:

If we learn how to live lower carbon lifestyles at an individual level, then that makes action more likely and more possible within families, and within our local communities (such as neighbourhoods or our Quaker meetings), and then in the organisations we support or work in, in wider societies, in governments, and in countries. It’s like a ladder: if we don’t take the step of acting individually, the other steps are far less likely to happen.

Continuing the step image: to imagine a world without weapons, what would be the penultimate step we'd have to take before we achieved that world? And what would be the step before that?, and before that?, back to where we stand today. Similarly, if we imagine a truly self-sufficient world, we are not able now to leap straight to it, but we can imagine the step of individual action as being an important part of reaching it – and as that is achieved, like stepping stones, the next step becomes possible to reach.

There’s a parallel from the earliest Friends’ internal debates about slave-holding and slave-trading. Two key arguments were the Golden Rule (do to others as you would like to be done to yourself), and that the slave trade depended on violence and was thus contrary to Friends’ peace testimony.

The same arguments could be applied today: we would not wish ourselves to experience the consequences of significant global warming, yet many around the world are already doing so (300,000 deaths a year, and 3 million people affected each year attributed to climate change, according to research by Kofi Annan’s Global Humanitarian Forum – and that was a study in 2009). And there’s no doubting the violence endemic in our profit-driven globalised economy.

The change we seek within Minute 36 will take time, and many more people of course than just the Quakers. It’s less than two years since the Commitment was made and we need not to default into a “let’s beat ourselves up” mindset – though action is still urgently needed. After all, it took Quakers in America a hundred and one years from when in 1657 George Fox first wrote about slavery in the colonies, to Philadelphia Yearly Meeting in 1758 making slave-trading an enforceable breach of Quaker discipline.

Statistics and scientific predictions can reduce us to guilt-ridden despair. It seems essential to me that we ground any action not in fear, obligation, or from a place of separation from people and planet; but to act out of love, joy, and connection to people and planet. It’s why books such as Keith Farnish’s Time’s Up encourages us to start by nurturing that deep connection. Acting as though people and planet matter is effectively a spiritual practice.

As a part of that spiritual practice, we can “practise giving up”, as Pam Lunn puts it in Costing Not Less Than Everything. We can usefully get used to doing with less, and so build our own and others’ resilience, in anticipation of disruption to infrastructure and services. When roads are closed because of the weather; when we can’t fly because of volcanic ash; when in the face of all protests a post office is closed and fewer services are available locally – “treat this as practice” for the future. When the British winter went on and on - and on! - earlier this year, and newspapers carried reports of the country about to run out of heating gas, there was an opportunity to practice self-rationing gas usage (if you missed it, other opportunities to practice will arise).The island of Eigg community, which has its own electricity grid and at times needs everyone on the island to self-regulate their usage, shows what is possible when people really get the link between the availability of resources and their use.

So I’m full of hope – for the future, and for Minute 36. I do not doubt the importance of action, and the centrality of Minute 36 to modern Quaker practice and values. Perhaps one day Quakers will be as well-known for their sustaining of and relationship with the planet we live on, as they are currently celebrated for their abolitionist past.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Sustainability and Minute 36

This is the second guest blog from John Gray, in a series exploring British Quakers’“Minute 36” commitment to become a low carbon sustainable community just-and-sustainable-world. 

This article explores the second element of the commitment: sustainability. 


What does sustainability mean in the context of Minute 36? What are we doing or would like to do that we can call sustainable? 

Out in the wider world, sustainable is often used by organisations or governments to describe environmentally-friendly practice. This sometimes means “We’re using less energy than we did before” or “We’re trying to do less harm than we did before”, or even “We’re trying to mitigate some of the harm that we nevertheless choose to continue to do.” 

A more sophisticated use of the word is to describe the conversion of economies or behaviours towards the targets needed to avoid catastrophic climate change. As we would need at least three planets for everyone to live a UK-equivalent lifestyle, the steps that humankind is currently taking are nowhere near big enough to justify calling them sustainable. 

Is there a better definition? 

To my mind, sustainability has a very pure meaning: if something is sustainable, it has the capacity to adapt and continue indefinitely. 

The 1987 World Commission on Environment and Development, also known as the Brundtland Commission, defined sustainable development as: 

“Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

This definition describes a pattern of behaviour which in theory could continue forever. However this definition views the earth and its resources from a human point of view: resources must be conserved because we need them for future (human) generations. In reality, though, we are part of the ecosystem, and one of many species. The definition makes no reference to the web of life of which we are part; it implies that resources are available primarily to keep our way of life going, at the expense of other species if necessary. 

A more recent definition of sustainable development feels to me to be a step forward: “Development that meets the needs of the present while safeguarding Earth’s life-support system, on which the welfare of current and future generations depends” (1) - though I’m still wary of that word “generations” if it’s only about humans. 

Sustainable lifestyles 

Whether or not these definitions are adequate, my sense is that they are weakened if we use sustainable for anything less than that which can exist or continue indefinitely. It is certainly weakened if it is used as greenwash or to imply that something is being done when in reality not enough is being done. 

So what do I say instead of sustainability when describing human economic or environmental activity? 

The closest I’ve got so far is the phrase ‘responsible practice’. By this I mean practice which takes into account the effect of our behaviours on people and planet. Essentially, this means how we use, process and dispose of the earth’s resources; but it also includes the impacts on biodiversity and on other human beings in relation to dignity, human rights and aspiration. 

We cannot halt immediately the damage that is being done, nor repair what is irreparable. But we can learn as much as we can about our impact – in human as well as ecological terms – and we can take as big steps as we possibly can, as quickly as we possibly can, to reduce and ultimately avoid those impacts. 

That for me is responsible behaviour from a global standpoint. It doesn’t rescue us in anyway – it leads us into evaluating and negotiating our practice, especially if we’re part of a community working out sustainability together; the conversations explored in last week’s article are inevitable and ultimately provide the way through. 

Another sustainability? 

To sustain something has another meaning too: to nourish or enliven something. 

Rather than thinking of sustainability as forever enabling us to consume resources, I hope one day we may use “sustainable” to describe human practice which truly nourishes and enlivens the earth. After all we have drawn from the planet, the time I think has come for more sustaining in return. 


Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Community and Minute 36

This post is the first of 3 guest posts. Before we begin, John Gray tells us a little more about his background and I leave you to his words. 

I was brought up a Quaker, and I am an attender at Friargate meeting in York. I originally qualified as a solicitor, and since leaving the law in 1994 I’ve worked and volunteered in the not-for-profit sector, including at the Quaker UN Office in Geneva and with local Friends caught up in the ethnic-political conflict in Burundi. For the last twelve years I have been a freelance organisational consultant and coach, specialising in organisational and individual change, and inquiry approaches into ethical and environmentally responsible practice.

In the summer of 2011, Britain’s Quakers at their Yearly Meeting Gathering, the business assembly of Friends in Britain, made an historical corporate commitment to become a low carbon sustainable community just-and-sustainable-world The commitment has since become known as the Minute 36 Commitment, or the Canterbury Commitment, drawing the name from where the Yearly Meeting Gathering took place.

These three guest blogs on the Good Lives blog explore in turn the three elements of the Minute 36 Commitment: community, sustainable, and low carbon.

Community and Minute 36

For me the greatest challenge and opportunity in the Minute 36 Commitment are not the aspirations to sustainability or low-carbon, but rather that we aspire to these things as a community.

Even as we sat in the Yearly Meeting Gathering session, it was clear that for some Friends the aspects of targets and accountability were problematic, and for some, the words  baselines and frameworks were in themselves contradictory to the concept of community.

Recent articles and correspondence in The Friend echo this. What does it mean if some members of the community are not the least interested in committing to become a low-carbon community? If I’m in community with someone who has different views, do I ignore them? Tolerate them? Try to influence them? Will Minute 36 remain a silent topic? What is our response to the work of Quaker Peace and Social Witness, Woodbrooke and others in enabling us to live this commitment in practice?

My guess is that within any typical Quaker meeting there will be a range of views about the Canterbury Commitment. There will be those who regard the Commitment as central, perhaps the most significant, aspect of their Quaker witness in the world today. There will be a few who do not regard human-made climate change as an established fact and thus requiring no action. There will be another group, perhaps larger in number, who are accepting of the evidence but who do not believe that changes in behaviour individually or as a meeting are appropriate responses. For everyone, there will be levels of comparative ignorance or misunderstanding of the evidence, and emotional response to the Minute 36 commitment which at their strongest could include passion, fear, anger (at themselves or at other people), resignation or despair.

This range of responses is also likely to be found in Quakers in their other meetings –committees, special interest groups and Quaker-led organisations. I mention these because the Commitment refers to corporate as well as individual action, so wherever any Friends are meeting or working together in the expression of their Quakerism.

The strength of the wider public debate on environmental issues – its critical language and vehemence, the blame-culture and vested interests (on both sides) - is unlikely to embolden Friends who are wondering how on earth to begin the conversations with their fellow Quakers.

It is because of all this that the word Community in the Commitment, 'a low-carbon community', is for me the way forward. Friends have over 350 years' experience of trying to live in community with each other. We began as a gathered body of people, and although the foundation of our religious experience is 'What canst thou say?', our spiritual practice is of corporate worship, not individual meditation. When James Naylor rode on a donkey into Bristol in 1656 in apparent imitation of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, early Quakers’ response led in part to the establishing of processes – still in use today – of testing concerns as a way of moderating and guiding spiritually-grounded action in the world, This aspect of community, establishing norms and expectations and a willingness to support Friends in living their witness, still serves us well in our collective discernment of right ordering.

So back to those troubling words in Minute 36, accountability and baselines. My view is that accountability is the very nature of being in community with other people.

If I have views on other's behaviour, what am I do with those views? Is it OK to fly for work? Is it OK to fly to visit family in far-flung places of the world? Is it OK to install a hot-tub in my back garden? Is it better to buy locally-grown produce or support fairtrade  producers in the developing world? if I have a larger carbon footprint than you, can we negotiate a sharing – rationing – of carbon usage?

There are no right and wrong answers to these questions – it seems to me that it is for each community to find answers together. And a starting point is to dare to name the questions.

It seems no coincidence that the sections in community and on conflict, in Chapter 10 of Quaker Faith and Practice, are next to each other. To be in relationship with others is encounter difference, and that may lead to conflict, and that conflict may be a negative destructive experience or an affirming deepening process.

These two quotations from QF&P might serve as useful starting points for Friends wishing to explore, in relationship with the Friends around them, what being a community of sustainable, low-carbon users might entail.

Our shared experience of waiting for God’s guidance in our meetings for worship and for church affairs, together with careful listening and gentleness of heart, forms the basis on which we can live out a life of love with and for each other and for those outside our community (from 10.03, QF&P)

And from 10.24:
In our desire to be kind to everybody, to appear united in spirit, to have no majorities and minorities, we minimise our divisions and draw a veil over our doubts. We fail to recognise that tension is not only inescapable, however much hidden, but when brought into the open is a positive good.

John Gray
07986 016804 

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Visiting my MP

The first time I met my MP was for a school project and at the time I was in awe of them thinking surely if they sit in Parliament they must have had some level of specialist training. Realising they were just like the rest of us was a shock, I had been convinced there must be an MP qualification. It was also an eye opener, any of us could be MPs!

The second time I met my MP was whilst working for Birmingham Friends of the Earth and it was part of my job – I went to visit an MP not my MP but from a constituency where we had members and I was representing the organisation.  I was a bundle of nerves; I had read all the briefing papers and had them all at the ready so that I could appear more professional through my ability to quote facts and figures. Needless to say it was neither good nor effective. As in all things what I needed was to go in with integrity and to say how I felt, had I been the MP sat across the table I would have rather listened to someone speak from the heart rather than listen to someone fumble through papers and mutter facts.

There seems to be at any one time a number of concerns I could visit or write to my MP or Councillor about, so I find myself picking and choosing. Sometimes it’s an issue that I feel led to bring up with them – most recently these have included concerns over the gritting of pavements in icy and snowy conditions, the sales of weapons and most recently the Energy Bill.

The Energy Bill was one of the topics on the agenda at the Central England Quakers Sustainability Forum I attended last week. Chris Walker from Quaker Peace and Social Witness came to speak to us about some of the issues associated with the Bill and highlighted 3 areas in which the Bill could be strengthened.

- An amendment to commit now to decarbonise the power sector by 2030

- An amendment to enable energy efficiency incentives to be introduced to the bill

- Take action to tackle fuel poverty

More information and links to briefing papers are available here

Towards the end of his talk Chris spoke about how we could talk to our MPs, reminding me that we can speak from a place of belief and values, as a people of faith. I don’t need to know the percentages involved to know how I feel about something.  These days I don’t need to be an expert in all things as there so many excellent briefing papers around to help me come to an understanding of the key issues involved. In this instance there is an excellent briefing paper, available here

Another resource I regularly use is the website, theyworkforyou. You can find out who your MP is and sign up to alerts about what they have said and the questions they ask in public debates and you can track their voting record on bills.

Woodbrooke is running a course in December 2013 around Quakers and Politics if you would like to engage with this further. 

Friday, 11 January 2013

Introducing Maud

Hello! I’m Maud.  When my colleague, Pam Lunn retired at the end of 2012, I was tasked with continuing this blog that she created and nurtured.  I thought my first post had better be an introductory one. So here goes.

If you have been to Woodbrooke in the last couple of years you may have met me, as I began working as the Faith in Action tutor 2 years ago.  I came to Woodbrooke from Birmingham Friends of the Earth (BFoE), a fantastic organisation, where I learnt a vast amount about grassroots campaigning, and experienced many a cold day trying to engage the public - asking people to sign up for campaigns and to play a more proactive role in their neighbourhood.  
I learnt at Birmingham Friends of the Earth that if we are going to create change we need to listen to one another, and really listen without trying to provide a generic answer.   One size doesn't fit all especially in the areas of Climate Change, Peak Oil, Sustainability, and Environmental Justice.  With friends and colleagues I established Faith and Climate Change.  This project lived within BFoE and was designed to forge relationships with faith communities, - to listen to their needs, concerns and ideas, and then to design a package to help them move forward.  I wanted to work with faith communities because when I asked myself why I felt called to work in this sector, it always came back to being a Quaker and my Quakerism.  I wanted to spend my days talking to people of faith about these issues.  I discovered for some, that the financial rewards of running a sustainable community centre attached to their place of worship was their motivator, for others it was Scripture, for some it was the chance for interfaith dialogue around a particular issue.  For almost everyone, the reason was different and the project was small enough to be as responsive as we needed it to be.

Eventually I wanted to spend more time exploring these issues within my faith community and so I ended up at Woodbrooke, looking not just at Sustainability but at a range of issues that Quakers are concerned with.  My first experience of Good Lives was the course, ‘Because we’re worth it’.   I loved the course, it took me to a place where I could name the values that underpinned my life choices:  it also made for great marriage preparation as I came with my now husband, but that was a happy coincidence!  I then went on to meet with the Good Lives on-going group, a group of Good Lives participants who had attended all or almost all of the courses and wanted to explore these issues further and together. It was great to be part of a group where we prioritised sharing our stories with one another.  

What next?

One question for Woodbrooke is how to continue the work begun by the Good Lives project. In 2011 Quakers made a corporate commitment to become a low carbon sustainable community.  To realise this as a community, not as a collection of individuals, but as a community – what does this mean for us? Are our communities resilient enough for the task, and when the task might be different for us all, how can we do it and how can we measure it to know we are being effective?   

These are only some of the questions I have… I would be really interested to hear from you, and hope this blog can serve as way to keep the conversation going.

Some of the courses we offer at Woodbrooke may answer a few of your questions – in 2013 we have the following courses that may speak to you