Burlington Friends Meeting Minute on Our Relationship with Nature


Our experience and unfolding understanding of Quaker traditions and testimonies tell us that right living goes beyond the human-centered considerations of science and economics. It requires building a relationship with the natural world that is as caring as the peacework we do with humans.

Increasing evidence of environmental imbalance indicates that we have not met this duty. Examples of this imbalance exist at various levels. On a global level, we see climatic warming, loss of ozone layer, and species extinction. Nationally, we see continuing overuse of wilderness areas, loss of agricultural topsoil, and increasing environmentally caused cancers. Locally, land-use decisions are marked by development of prime farmland, reliance on the automobile for general transportation purposes, and disregard for wildlife habitat. We are concerned that these issues are reaching crisis levels.

We recognize that these issues are interconnected by human behaviors that are the result of a spiritual crisis which overemphasizes material affluence at the cost of social well-being. We hear a calling to look to that of God in all Creation for guidance in being better participants in the natural systems. We feel the Quaker tradition calls us and other Friends to witness to this concern.

To this end, Burlington Friends Meeting calls on Friends to join us in:


  • Considering and acting on this concern as one of critical importance in our lives.
  • Looking into our daily habits and their entanglements for the seeds of the damage humans cause to the health of the natural world.
  • Challenging ourselves to change our personal habits and lifestyles as we are led.
  • Working to assist natural processes in returning to health those ecosystems damaged by human activities.

We are encouraged by the efforts that already have been made in this direction and thank all who make the significant commitments required to contribute to the health of our planet.