New Zealand and Australia Yearly Meetings Responses


A Report to YM A/NZ and Karen Street, Pacific YM, (USA) based on information received from individual Friends and responses to a survey put out by the Spiritual Ecology of Kapity Meeting (QSEG).

Background to Friends' Witness to Environmental Sustainability:

1.    Our YM 2000 Statement on Environmental Sustainability encouraged "Friends to amend their life-styles and support each other in making the changes necessary as our witness to this testimony".

2.    Minute 29 of YM 2001 asked us to take our experience and learnings [on Environmental Sustainability] back to our Meetings for discussion and understanding.

3.    In 2000, Britain YM began to consider Friends' Corporate Witness to the Earth by setting up "Earth:  Our Creative Responsibility Group" [EOCR].  In response to a  2001 BYM "Call to Action" a Project was set up to support the development of Friends' corporate Witness to Sustainable Living in four phases over three years.  Phase I seeks to identify Friends' witness and to bring together their values, views and experiences.
QSEG felt this might be a useful starting point to examine NZ Friends' witness.

Patterns emerging from NZ Friends' responses to the Survey:

We received 248 responses.  Statistics set out in Documents in Advance 2003 showed that 392 people attended Meeting for Worship.  So it is apparent that well over half of Friends and Attenders responded.  This is a great effort and we thank all Friends for their cooperation.

The Survey was not intended to be exhaustive.  It only asked a few of the most obvious things that anyone could easily incorporate into their lifestyle.

We found that:
    192 try to conserve energy
    113 heat their homes with coal or wood
    167 use either gas or electricity for heating
    117 make serious efforts to conserve water, while 51 did so occasionally

Purchasing patterns showed that:
    70 bought environmentally benign products
    118 bought 2nd hand
    120 bought local produce,  70 also buying organic
    142 shopped conventionally.

    71 are car-pooling  or using public transport
    62 have more than one car
Dealing with waste:
    170 carefully reduce their consumption,   
    172 are serious about reducing consumption with only 24 who do so occasionally or never.
    184 compost their green waste

This question was broad covering those who have a small garden, to those engaged in a small holding or farming:
    90 used conventional management practices and 80 were organic
Air trips:  [one of the biggest contributers to global warming]
    97 take a maximum of one air trip a year while
    71 take more than one.  Some take no air trips at all.

    146 indicated their homes are insulated [but only two of our meeting houses are insulated]

Local groups:
    44 are actively involved in outside groups working on ecological issues while 34 are supporters of such groups.
37 Friends are involved in their own personal projects, encouraging us to:
        Climate Change Response Bill
        Pesticide Risk Reduction
        Human gene research
        Coastal Dune vegetation
        Oceans policy for NZ
        Toxic waste
        Air quality
        Genetic Engineering

    A handful of Friends have built energy-efficient houses and gardens using solar and wind energy, building materials kind to the environment and contributing to soil enrichment.

    As yet we have no information on the survey results undertaken by the Witness to Sustainability project of Britain YM, but we think our survey shows that a good proportion of Friends in our YM in Aotearoa/NZ are witnessing to the avoidance of environmental degradation.

Return to YM page

Return to Friends Energy Project home page