Friends General Conference

Together we nurture the spiritual vitality of Friends

Stewardship of the Earth

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How do we show appreciation for the interconnectedness of all life?

How do we use the world’s resources with care and consideration for future generations and with respect for all life?

In what other ways do we carry out our commitment to stewardship of the Earth?

Do we intentionally explore and live our conviction that there is that of God in all creation?


Friends have connected with the earth and all it holds as part of our spiritual development. From George Fox walking throughout England searching for his spiritual identity to current times, we are aware that we are only stewards, not owners of the Earth. We need to be constantly aware of how our actions affect the rest of the world. By not using more than we need and by sharing with others, we help ensure that the earth will continue to support everyone.


Sustainability as a concept has recently acquired new spiritual depth of meaning to include a resolve to live in harmony with biological and physical systems, and to work to create social systems that can enable us to do that. It includes a sense of connectedness and an understanding of the utter dependence of human society within the intricate web of life; a passion for environmental justice and ecological ethics; an understanding of dynamic natural balances and processes; and a recognition of limits to growth due to finite resources. Our concern for Sustainability recognizes our responsibility to future generations, to care for the Earth as our own home and the home of all that dwell herein. We seek a relationship between human beings and the Earth that is mutually enhancing.

Quaker Earthcare Witness, 1998

We are called to assist the Earth to heal her wounds and in the process heal our own–indeed to embrace the whole of creation in all its diversity, beauty and wonder. 
Wangari Maathai, 2004

The produce of the earth is a gift from our gracious creator to the inhabitants, and to impoverish the earth now to support outward greatness appears to be an injury to the succeeding age. 
John Woolman, c. 1760

As a Religious Society of Friends we see the stewardship of God’s creation as a major concern. The environmental crisis is at root a spiritual and religious crisis; we are called to look again at the real purpose of being on this earth, which is to till it and keep it so as to reveal the glory of God for generations to come. 
London Yearly Meeting, 1988

That the sweat and tedious labor of the farmer, early and late, cold and hot, wet and dry, should be converted into the pleasure of a small number of men–that continued severity should be laid on nineteen parts of the land to feed the inordinate lusts and delicate appetites of the twentieth, is so far from the will of the great Governor of the world, [it] is wretched and blasphemous. 
William Penn, 1668

All things are bound together. All things connect. Whatever befalls the earth, befalls also the children of the earth. 
Oren Lyons, Chief of the Onondaga Nation