Friends gather for Loss and Damage Day

'Friends in Lancaster, Cardiff, Manchester, Totnes, and Beccles gathered to support Loss and Damage Day on 22 September.'

Banner made by Friends at Penzance Meeting

Quakers gathered in witness this week to stand in solidarity with those living with the worst impacts of climate change. With vigils and outreach across the country, Friends in Lancaster, Cardiff, Manchester, Totnes, and Beccles gathered to support Loss and Damage Day on 22 September, calling on wealthy countries and fossil fuel corporations to pay up for the loss and damage they cause. These climate impacts include floods and sea-level rise, as well as extreme weather events such as hurricanes.

Cardiff Friends witnessed outside Senedd Cymru on 28 September. The week before Quakers in London joined other campaigners and faith groups in a Walk of Witness from St John’s Church in Waterloo, to Parliament Square. Along the way, they stopped close to Shell’s headquarters to bear silent witness to the destruction being caused by Shell and other fossil fuel companies.

Steve Whitehead, from Beccles Meeting, which held an hour-long silent vigil in the market place, told the Friend: ‘We have promoted it as an opportunity for local faith groups and other people of goodwill to come together in solidarity with communities across the world that have been unjustly devastated by climate breakdown. Some Friends will stand apart from the vigil and engage with the passers-by about the issues of loss and damage and the need for reparations.’

For him, he said, the vigil is ‘an act of communal prayer’ and ‘a very visible witness showing that we care’.

‘Given the scale of the problems of climate change it is surely a drop in the ocean. My motivation and hope is that every drop counts.’

Alison Meaton, from Penzance Meeting, which held a Meeting for Worship in the grounds of Truro Cathedral, said: ‘At COP26 I heard delegates from the Global South speaking about the changes their countries are experiencing with sea level rises and changes in weather patterns. Two examples of countries hit by catastrophic effects of climate breakdown are Madagascar suffering famine and Pakistan’s devastating floods. With our Quaker testimonies… how can we in the West stand by while others suffer because of our huge carbon emissions?’

The witness was ‘only the beginning’, she said, with a long term campaign planned, where she hopes to show the banners created by Friends – both Quaker and secular – in her Suheli Stitch group.

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