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If Animals Could Talk When I was a child I loved the cuddliness and innocence of animals, and I wished they could talk. A grownup and activist now, I look for ways to use art to awaken our empathy with the natural world and to increase our climate-change consciousness. As an artist and writer, I know what fun it can be to combine pictures and text. So when my Friends Meeting in Santa Cruz put out a call for adults to share their skills with children in the First Day School, I offered a project called “If Animals Could Talk.”  

On Consumption (May 2013)

The Bonds of Animal Agriculture Since biblical times, humanity has lived by an ancient contract: We the first party (animals) give you our wool, milk, hides and meat, draw your plows and carriages, guard your houses, control your vermin, and fertilize your fields.  We the second party (humans) promise to keep you safe from predators, bind up your wounds and treat your diseases, provide you shelter from the elements, feed you even in times of famine, and provide you with a quick and humane death.  Our own human relationship with God has long been expressed in similar terms. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.  He makes me to lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.”

On Consumption (May 2013)

Simple Acts, Basic Needs I recently realized some of my small everyday acts both meet my own needs, and give testimony to the Quaker value of simplicity.  Here are two examples:

On Needs (May 2015)

Building a Moral Economy from the Ground Up Whether entailing the use of money or other resources, economic transactions allow us the means of subsistence just as they tempt us to excess. It would do us well to remember that the etymological origins of the word “economy” are from the Greek meaning of “managing the household.” A moral economy would be one that manages the “household” of our planet to emphasize mutual care, community health, and a society of sufficiency and sustainability.

On Money (November 2015)

Quakers: The Quiet Revolutionaries (review) An engaging 2018 documentary film, Quakers: The Quiet Revolutionaries, provides a useful overview of Quaker history from an activist perspective. Thanks to PBS, it has been broadcast to over 250,000 households in the U.S. Director-producer Janet Gardner, Cinematographer Kevin Clouthier, Consultant Richard Nurse, and others on this team deserve kudos for their efforts to make Quaker history come alive. This documentary is intended for a popular audience and is spreading the Quaker message where it most needs to be heard.

On Debt (July 2021)

Earth Justice Worship

My most powerful worship experience of the last decade took place on a chilly morning last November, on a folding chair outside Vanguard headquarters in Malvern, PA.

On Prayer (March 2024)