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Jeanette Fitzsimons speaks to Quakers

Jeanette Fitzsimons speaks to Quakers

Former Green Party Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons gave the first of her public “Enough: The challenge of a post-growth economy” lecture series, organised by the New Zealand Society of Friends, on Sunday. The same lecture, organised by Quakers around the country, will be given at various Tertiary institutes in the coming weeks.

The lecture focused on moving to a steady state economy, a model supported strongly by New Zealand Friends. Fitzsimons, a sustainability expert, spoke of how continued growth on the current economic model is not possible. “Our earth is full, and there isn’t another one to move to”, she said.

But, she argued, life can still be good if we plan for a steady state economy – the “Economy of Enough”.

The cost of not doing this is for our country and our world to arrive at one or more of the physical limits without being prepared for the outcomes. The effect of this scenario would be uncontrolled chaos.

But, she argued, life can still be good if we plan for a steady state economy.

The next public lecture by Fitzsimons will be at 6.30pm on Tuesday 14th May in Lecture Theatre 1, Rutherford House, Pipitea Campus, Victoria University in Wellington.

The Religious Society of Friends, known as Quakers or Friends, gathered in Waikanae from 10th -13th May for their annual gathering (Yearly Meeting). Over 80 Friends were present, coming from as far as Kaitaia in the North, and Dunedin in the South. Two special guests were Hiroko Koibuchi representing Quakers in Japan, and Wilma Davidson, representing Australian Quakers.

Also present were Louise and David Tinsley, and Josephine Rado, from the U.K. They are all specially invited Quakers who are here as Resident Friends at the Auckland and Wellington Friends Meeting Houses.

Christchurch Quakers at the gathering told of the ongoing effects of the 12,500 aftershocks following the two big earthquakes in 2011 and 2012. They shared photographs of the empty site where their Meeting House had been. Christchurch Friends also read accounts of the harrowing experiences of Quakers living in condemned houses (drafty, cold and damp), whilst getting no information – let alone any other assistance – from the Earthquake Commission, or their insurers.

A group New Zealand Friends have the task on maintaining contact with Quakers internationally, and they reported to the gathering on their work. New Zealand is in the regional group of Asia and the West Pacific. This work encompasses Quakers from India to Japan, and down to Australia and New Zealand. The work of this group is constrained somewhat by the large distances involved, and by Quakers’ increasing concern about the environmental cost of all travel, especially international.

The Quaker Yearly Meeting is planning for exciting new developments to strengthen its life as a religious body. There will be focus on supporting young people in Quaker service, and in living according to their principles.


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