East Meets West – Music Making in the Meeting House

The wonderful acoustic qualities of our 18 Century  Meeting House hall were put to good use by a local duo, Clare O’Connell and Eleanor Turner. They set up a music studio to record their latest album. It sounds amazing.

 

 

The whole performance will be aired online on 2nd May 2021:

Clare writes,

Join us for a evocative and uplifting mix of of delicate and nuanced Eastern inspired classical music arranged and performed by Eleanor Turner (harp) and Clare O’Connell (cello) at the Quaker Meeting House in Hemel Hempstead.

The programme includes new arrangements of Pagodes by Debussy, Laideronette by Ravel, two Gnossienes by Eric Satie, an improvised Raag by Eleanor Turner and Ravi Shankar’s Sonata for cello and harp.

Book at www.behindthemirror.org

 

Clare selected the Meeting House for its acoustic qualities.  We hope to resume our musical programme soon! If you are an acoustic  musical artist who would like to perform in a very special space, with an appreciative audience please get in touch.

We also welcome enquiries from musicians interested in recording.  Contact our premises and hiring team

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Join our Woodlands for All Lunchtime Lobby in Hemel Hempstead, April 22 2021

Woodlands for All logo

Join an environmental lobby to local politicians on 22 April 2021, 12.30 – 2.15pm

Listen to fantastic speakers and show your support for our demands for investment in woodlands for all. Woodlands must be part of the planned expansion* of our beautiful town.

We are asking Mike Penning to help us change the law to make it a legal requirement for woodlands to be nurtured and protected. Join us and other passionate believers in the power of trees, woods and forests to improve our lives. People,  place and planet working in harmony.

Register on Eventbrite – it is free. 

Woodland for all event poster

 

 

We are working in collaboration with:

Hope for the Future

Carey Baptist Church

Green Alliance

Woodland Trust

Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust

Dennis Furnell

*See Dacorum Local Plan  – 2020 to 2038

For more information, contact us!

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Guest blog: Thirty Years a Polluter

We are delighted to host this guest contribution from Colin Cartwright, partner in our Woodlands for All environmental lobby project.
Colin is a minister at Carey Baptist Church in Hemel Hempstead.

A short, personal reflection for your thoughts and prayers and discussion. 

Thirty years a polluter. Yes, that’s me. Just the other day I realised that it’s 30 years since I learned to drive. Despite being an obsessive cyclist for most of that time and despite the fact that I haven’t needed to commute in a car to work, 30 years of driving round a petrol-driven combustion engine every week, must add up to a lot of polluting. Carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, as well as carcinogenic particulates. Which is why I want to make the next 30 years look a lot different.

My hope is that 2020 is a ‘turning point’ year. It was a year when I started to undertake a journey of ecological repentance, in order to ‘redeem’ the last 30 years and to live in a more sustainable way for our planet. For starters, I am looking at replacing my existing car with a more environmentally friendly one. But I also want to be responsible for planting and growing one new tree, in a sustainable way that is appropriate for the environment, every year that I am on this planet.

Going beyond my own personal responsibility, I want to encourage those around me to take similar steps. And what would be most desirable would be to encourage Carey collectively to engage with drawing up a positive strategy, perhaps called: ‘renewing our community with God’s creation for the future’. This would help to generate much-needed new leadership in the church, by the church showing leadership about our environment. This might involve, for example, re-configuring our church buildings so that they are more energy efficient and at the very least, carbon neutral. Perhaps Carey might also partner with a local nature reserve or with a wildlife trust. However, the details of this new strategy will require a lot of further thought & discussion.

There are a whole number of things we have learned from this coronavirus crisis. But it has certainly shown us that:

  • 1) Together we can take drastic steps for the global good when needed.
  • 2) Humanity cannot just ‘revert to type’ after the pandemic. That way leads to mass extinction for many other species and ours as well.
  • 3) The natural world which we are part of, continues to astound us and we can learn so much from engaging positively with it.

I pray that our Creator and Saviour God will show us the way of life and lead us to build a new future together. And I look forward, once you have had time to think about all this, to hearing your reflections and to discussing this in depth, as we continue to emerge from this pandemic.

Colin Cartwright,  Carey Baptist Eco-Church 

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Woodlands for All Lobby Training Update

 

On 25 January our first Woodlands for All Lobbying training took place. We learned all about non-violent ways of talking to our local MP about the things that we care about and affect us deeply. Following the session, we are formulating some simple questions to ask our MP, Sir Mike Penning. We want him to act in defence of trees and to support forestation  –  an effective action against climate change, for a healthier and more beautiful environment.

Our steering group is supported by members of the Dacorum Environmental Forum, Friends of Halsey Field, Dacorum Interfaith Network, and Carey Baptist eco-Church. We invite local people to get involved who are passionate about woodlands and what they do for us. Our lobby will include speakers on the importance of planting more trees in Hemel Hempstead and conserving the woodland we have for future generations. We are presenting evidence of the role of trees in combatting climate change and air pollution and the ways trees help the mental and physical health of residents of our town.

How you can get involved  

You can attend one of our monthly training and planning sessions,  through which you will be able to join a 1 hour online meeting with Mike Penning in April 2021.

Training  – Next session 3.00 – 3.45 pm 23 February

All our online training sessions are being provided by ecological lobbying charity, Hope For The Future

To join the group,  please contact Suzanne Watts, event organiser at HemelQuakerClerk @ gmail.com

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Friends launch an online lobby for trees and woodlands in Hemel Hempstead

Woo

Hemel Hempstead Quakers have teamed up with Carey Baptist Church and Hope for the Future to campaign for tree planting in Hemel Hempstead. Quakers worldwide view climate change as a peace and justice concern. They seek to transform the human activities which feed environmental crises unprecedented in human history, including the rate of species extinction, ocean acidification, soil erosion, chemical pollution and the rate of rising global temperature.

Woodland areas are an attractive and well loved feature in Hemel Hempstead

What’s it about

We believe there is an existential threat to the character of Hemel Hempstead as a woodland town

There is a planned development of 13,000 houses to the North and East of the town.

As a matter of fairness, any expansion of Hemel Hempstead should offer equal access to woodland areas and open spaces to new residents,  preserving our own cherished resources and extending them to improve biodiversity and ecology of any new areas of housing.

We would like to invite local people who are passionate about

  • tree planting in Hemel Hempstead
  • woodland conservation
  • the importance of trees in combatting climate change and air pollution
  • the social impact of trees on mental and physical health of residents

Commitment 

  • 1 – 2 hour online lobby to the local MP in March 2021
  • Online training sessions provided by HFTF experts

Training 

  • Training and Planning  via Zoom sessions.
    25 January 3.00pm
    23 February 3.00pm

All residents of Dacorum who support this lobby are welcome to join irrespective of their beliefs. Please note it is not a lobby against housebuilding. Interested to find out more?  Contact us

Further information

Information about the plan for 10,000+ new homes in Hemel Hempstead: https://dacorumlocalplan.consultation.ai/resources/assets/pdf/DBC_VE_Summary_Local_Plan_2020.pdf

Information about a separate plan for 3000 + new homes in ‘East Hemel’ (land owned by St Albans District Council) https://easthemel.co.uk/

The Carey Baptist Eco Church in Hemel Hempstead https://www.careybaptisthemel.org.uk/ecochurch/

“We must not become complacent. Whether your preferred candidate won or not,  our MPs must be held accountable to the promises they made about climate action during the election period”
Hope for the Future 

 

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Celebrate!  Nuclear Ban Treaty Zoom Event Friday, 22 January 2021, 7 – 9 pm

We encourage all Friends, attenders and visitors to celebrate the UN Nuclear Ban Treaty which comes into international law on 22 Jan.

Here are some actions

  1. Join a web event organised by Cambridge Quakers on Friday 22 January 2021

Inspired work, begun by a small group of concerned people in Melbourne Australia, and taken forward by peace campaigners from around the world, has produced the  International Coalition to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, ICAN,

This campaign won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017.

Join us on Zoom to hear the story, find out more about the Treaty,  and what you might do to: pressure the UK government to scale back its weapons,  put a stop to the manufacture of nuclear arms.  Entry to the event is free.  Just sign up with https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/nuclear-weapons-now-banned-a-step-towards-peace-tickets-133129105739

More information from: Cambridgeshire Quakers: hanmorrow@icloud.com

2. Support the Treaty by displaying a window poster

Quakers in Britain have designed a number of downloadable posters which you can put in your home windows on 22 January.

Please download from this page about  Quakers national action on nuclear treaty

Our local action on Trident

So far, the UK government is refusing to engage with the Treaty. Quakers in Britain are urging the government to sign up to the Treaty and not to boycott it.

 

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Hemel Quakers Celebrate the Light with other Faiths and Denominations

Light…

Mermie Karger is a member of Hemel Hempstead Local Quaker Meeting. She took photos of the countryside around Hemel Hempstead and edited this video for sharing with the Dacorum Interfaith Network’s end of year celebration held on Zoom in December 2020.

In the manner of Quaker silent worship, the video proceeds slowly, allowing reflection.

 

These are the spoken words:

We celebrate the Light which is sacred in all people ~ God, the light within, a universal goodness, love.

We worship in silence, listening to that Light within each of us, sometimes spoken, often not.

Our belief that the light of love is at the centre of existence, that all human life is of equal worth, and that each person is unique leads Quakers to ‘live in the virtue of that life and power that takes away the occasion of all wars.

Our belief that everyone is equal inspires us to try to change the systems that cause injustice and that stop us being genuine communities.

Living according to the deepest truths of the light of love means speaking the truth at all times. As we are guided by integrity, so we expect to see it in public life.

The light of love is in the Earth and all of its creatures. We campaign for climate and energy justice, and for an economy that is clean and fair to all. The light of love means living simply and celebrating what really matters: the people around us, the natural world, our experience of stillness.

We are the Light of the world and our role is to touch the world with that Light.

…and sound

At our Christmas meeting for worship on 20 December we listened to a beautiful recording ‘The mystery of Christmas’, narrated by Jane Levy. Thanks to our Friend, Jonathan Kempster, who produced this for churches around Berkhamsted. It can be enjoyed here:

 

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Speaking Truth to Power – Follow up blog #1 How does reduced financial inequality lead to reduced GreenHouse Gas (GHG) emissions?

At our recent event, The Climate Emergency in Dacorum – How You Can Speak Truth to Power there was debate on the questions posed by the climate justice movement.

Some citizens felt that reducing inequality between richer and poorer nations would simply result in a greater output of emissions as countries achieved higher levels of production. 

This is a complex issue so we were pleased to receive the following thoughtful and informed letter from a Quaker at Luton meeting, Colin Hall, who is also the secretary of the Bedford Climate Forum. 

 

Dear Friends at Hemel Hempstead

Many thanks for organising this event on Climate Emergency, and to Rebecca Woo for leading it.  Action on climate the environmental crisis is so utterly important, yet it seems to figure so little in current UK government planning, as far as we can tell.  Thanks too for the links and follow up material from Rebecca.

I have been thinking about the vital concept of climate justice and in particular the searching question asked about whether reduced financial inequality (desirable in itself) would actually lead to reduced GreenHouse Gas (GHG) emissions, i.e. as suggested, would not the poor produce more GHG as they become richer?

I can think of various related reasons to be hopeful that greater financial equality if enacted could help to address climate catastrophe – there may be many others:

  1. More equal societies do better in many key respects, one of which is greater environmental awareness.
  2. Now is not forever.  Great financial equality could lead to different values and mindset that in turn might lead to changed behaviour.  Rather than competing one with another, we might think and act more with and for others, and the whole world at large, with a greater sense of both service and connection with our neighbours and indeed the whole world.  Thus, becoming somewhat richer might not mean that we would behave like the present over-consuming rich.
  3. Related to this the “converge and contract” model, often used at UN level, outlines relations between richer and poorer countries, but is also applicable within societies.  Poor countries must first of all be brought up to an acceptable level of wealth, then all countries can agree to rein in environmentally destructive practices, including those based on fossil-fuels.
  4. The Earth can no longer afford the rich.  Huge current inequality means that the rich are inherently dangerous, often committed to an extractive economic, world-endangering system and status quo, with the connections and influence to maintain it in their own interests because of their wealth (OXFAM Report).  Redistribution from rich to poor could weaken this power that threatens democracy, as well as life on earth.  By “the rich” we can mean both very wealthy individuals and very powerful corporations within the whole system of financialised capitalism. 
  5. A carbon fee (or tax) and dividend could help both to reduce financial inequality and promote carbon savings.  In this scheme, fossil fuels are taxed as close to source as possible.  The revenue raised is repaid to all citizens equally as a dividend.  The rich use carbon resources proportionally far more than average or poorer members of society (e.g they fly much more), and so they pay higher carbon fees. The overall effect is to redistribute from rich to poorer.  Fossil fuels and goods that contain them become more expensive as the tax is included in prices, discouraging consumption of them.   An advantage claimed for carbon tax and dividend is that it will secure “buy-in” for action on climate emergency from most people.  To be effective it must be charged at a high rate as soon as possible in order to provide a kind of basic income (or ingredient of it) and to reduce carbon consumption sufficiently. 

However, we should support the compelling concept of climate justice as an end in itself because it is morally right.  It has been framed in a related manner in terms of Human Rights by the Quaker United Nations Office.  See:  https://quno.org/sites/default/files/resources/QUNO_A%20Negotiators%20Toolkit_May%202018_SPREADS.pdf 

We should argue for a universal system of climate justice that includes future generations (we are stealing from the yet unborn) and rights for all species of life on Earth, together with ecocide as a crime in national and international law, as proposed by the recent French Citizens Convention. https://www.conventioncitoyennepourleclimat.fr/en/

As Quakers, we aim to build the republic of heaven on Earth, no less.

In Friendship

Colin

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Speaking Truth to Power: A dozen ways forward for the environment in Dacorum

 

Our first ever online Climate Justice event took place on 17 September 2020. We were delighted to host this event with 27 registrants from a wide spectrum of climate allies in Dacorum. 

They shared their ideas and experiences of trying to influence local government about critical environmental issues. It was great to have so many well informed and expert participants. 

We all learned a great deal from our host speaker and climate advocate, Rebecca Woo, who is keyed into all the very latest thinking and action on climate justice in the UK and round the world.

Workshop Output

Everyone pledged to take steps to learn more or take action.  Here are a dozen things, large and small people committed to:

    1. Try to find and join a local group relevant to my area of concern, and try to put aside time to engage with it at defined times every month.
    2. Engage more with councillors. 
    3. Finish Sunnyside Rural Trust’s environmental action plan
    4. Check and progress Dacorum Environmental Forum Steering Group action to send Climate Change letter to someone at Dacorum Boro Council.
    5. More networking with like minded people
    6. Identify potential allies more systematically.
    7. Put the anniversary of the climate emergency declaration of Dacorum Borough and Herts County Councils in my calendar and check their progress against stated intentions.
    8. Discuss next steps with Dacorum Environmental Forum in view of presentation
    9. Encourage councillors to reach out to developers in positive green routes in all housing development.
    10. How to try to get local authorities to insist on better standards of insulation in newly built houses. Also in existing houses.
    11. Share ideas from this meeting with Watford Quaker Climate Justice group to help us shape our next actions. 
    12. Try to find out the exact trail of recycled goods from the home to their final destination.

We are pleased that the representatives of so many local organisations felt reinvigorated in their commitment to preserving our precious ecosystem. 

To get involved in supporting them, please visit their websites and contact their representatives:

Boxmoor Trust

Dacorum Environmental Forum

Halsey Field Wildlife Site

Plastic Free Tring 

Sunnyside Rural Trust 

Herts County Council – (represented at the event by William Wyatt-Lowe, Hemel Hempstead) 

 Extinction Rebellion Dacorum 

We are grateful to Rebecca Woo, Campaigns and Advocacy Coordinator, Quaker Peace and Social Witness for her detailed presentation. 

Useful guides for speaking to people in power:

Community wealth building:

Community municipal bonds or investment:

Other links and groups Rebecca mentioned:

  • The amazing 4Cs project
  • The work the New Economics Foundation is doing on the modelling for a minimum income guarantee
  • The work student-led group Rethinking Economics is doing to build a better understanding of economics in the classroom
  • The 3.5% rule (Erica Chenoweth – Harvard)
  • The Build Back Better campaign, which provides an invaluable opportunity to ensure your climate action reflects recent events like the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting point for this is their website (in the slides) but you’re also welcome to look at the Build Back Better Briefing for Quakers.
  • The role of young people and indigenous peoples in creating more caring and sustainable society:   Meera Ghani’s words in Oxfam’s ‘Climate Justice: Feminist Journeys’ Zine 

 

If you have any questions about the slides or content please contact us using our contact page

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NEW DATE: The Climate Emergency in Dacorum – How You Can Speak Truth to Power

17 September 2020 

6.30 pm 

Online by Zoom  

Hemel Hempstead Quakers are holding our first ever online workshop to help build skills to advocate for climate justice. 

We’ll be talking about local government structures and what we can do to get elected representatives to act quicker on the declared Climate Emergency. 

The leader of the workshop will be Rebecca Woo

Rebecca is Campaigns and Advocacy Co-ordinator for Quaker Peace and Social Witness. As a lawyer and campaigner for climate and social justice, her role is to deliver expertise to local Quakers and help build skills in advocacy and lobbying in their communities. 

Why are Quakers holding this event for free? 

Quakers are working to build an energy and economic system that has equality, justice and sustainability at its heart. Find out more here:  https://www.quaker.org.uk/our-work/sustainability/climate-justice-1

 The workshop will be held on Zoom on 17 September 2020, 6.30 pm to 9.30 pm 

Register in advance for this meeting:

You are invited to a Zoom meeting.
When: Sep 17, 2020 06:30 PM London

Register in advance for this meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAlce2opjwiEtUGA3Qh5haoOrGO8s_h_iZw

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

For more information contact us.

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