Letters - 31 January 2020

From thanks and farewell to finding common ground

Thanks and farewell

May I take the opportunity of this letters page of the ‘sister’ publication to the Friends Quarterly (FQ) to thank all those who have made such kind comments on my retirement as the editor of FQ. I have been overwhelmed by so many expressions of thanks, not least in a special publication put together by my good colleagues at the Friend. I wish Gill Sewell and Olivia Sewell Risley every success in taking forward the Friends Quarterly into a new era.

Tony Stoller
Former editor,
the Friends Quarterly

Crisis and imperative

I am saddened by Catherine Dawson’s response (17 January 2020) to the interview with Ian Bray (20 & 27 December 2019). She takes the ‘technocratic saviour’ approach, which is as unhelpful as the ‘patriarchal paradigm’ of ever-expanding economies and business as usual. Industrialisation has caused pollution and industrialisation of agricultural processes has led to species extinction. All that has been driven by the profit-seeking motive, leading to the enrichment of the few at the expense of the many (especially those who live in non-western societies or are otherwise discriminated against). We need to do more than rely on someone else to come up with a technical solution. What Extinction Rebellion (XR) has undoubtedly done is raise the profile of the climate emergency – the award by the Political Studies Association (reported in the news section on 17 January) bears testimony to that.

As XR has urged the truth to be told, its members have listened to people from other backgrounds who have criticised them, and they have taken on board the need for diversity and a different way of being. Yes, XR does believe capitalism has failed and we need to live a different way, but I have never seen or heard of XR promoting utopia (let alone be careless of the need to feed people – quite the reverse, in fact).

The problem is systemic and the solution will be systemic. XR’s role has been to highlight that – climate campaigning is not a facade for XR’s political motive, rather the climate emergency caused activists in XR to look at its causes. The climate crisis is the imperative for fundamental change.

Helen Meads

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