Letters - 9 November 2018

From gratitude and sadness to 'a bit of craic'

Gratitude and sadness

It was with gratitude for his service and editing of the Friend, but also with a great sadness to read Ian Kirk-Smith’s last editorial for the magazine (2 November).

Ian’s work has been unstinting for the last eight years, at personal cost to his health while missing his lovely family. The magazine has been a great source of information and inspiration for many Friends. I am personally thankful for his steady hand and input to our Quakerly lives.

Ian writes movingly of his family home of Mullinbouys, Ireland.

The famine still figures largely in the hearts and minds of anyone with Irish roots (my mother from Southern Ireland used to speak about how it affected her family) and Ian writes of the famine pots and kindness of one person to another, one nation to another and one religion to another, and the truism of love and caring reaching above and beyond difference.

He shows the Light is always shining brightly for us all, even in the darkness of an ending, or moving from one phase of life to another.

May he have a Light-filled life with his family and friends in Ireland. May the familiarity of the fields and meadows of South Donegal sustain and renew him.

Many thanks, Ian, for all you have done for your readers. Live well, live long, let the Light shine on you.

Rosie Adamson-Clark


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has now identified twelve years as the window of opportunity we have to turn ourselves around if we are to avoid global disaster.

The Paris Agreement on climate change targets is still aspirational. Our economics model remains one of unsustainable ‘growth’. ‘Overshoot Day’, the date by which humanity has used more from nature than our planet can renew in the entire year, fell this year on 1 August, a day earlier than last year.

Until we face these realities, we remain submerged in our own form of climate change denial.

However, if we remember that ‘denial’ comes early in the commonly held view of the normal grieving process, hopefully we can forgive ourselves for being resistant to the opportunity to wake up to this reality, and allow ourselves to start to grieve our dreams and our losses and revisit our priorities.

We need to continue our worthy aspirations on the ‘long journey… on the issue of sustainability’ (see: ‘Meeting for Sufferings: Four specific proposals on sustainability’, 19 October). Let us also start discussing the deep adaptation required, acknowledging that our aspirations alone cannot mitigate the near-term collapse heading our way.

Please can we now include in our deliberations such questions as:

  • How do we support one another in the likelihood that we won’t succeed in achieving our collective sustainability goals, with these years perhaps being our last on Earth?
  • What are the lessons we need to learn as we adapt to the seemingly inevitable continuation of cumulative collapse?

Sue Holden

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