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Two Quaker Observers to COP24 2018 was a year of climate records. The fourth warmest year since the beginning of the industrial revolution, it featured intense drought and wildfires in western North America, a devastating hurricane season in the Southeast, unprecedented flooding in southern Asia, and continued loss of Arctic sea ice. It was also the year that the U.N. International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that humanity had twelve years to stave off global climate catastrophe.

On Puzzles (April 2019)

Quaker Light in Australia and New Zealand Last summer (last winter there), we spent several weeks traveling among Friends in Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand. During those travels, we gained some insights about ways that our yearly meetings in the U.S. could share our Quaker faith more openly with the world around us.

On Insight (March 2017)

A Friendly Approach to Partisanship The results of our recent national and local elections were profoundly pleasing to some of us while deeply disturbing to others.  When our candidates or parties have prevailed, we have confidence in the direction of government, while if they were unsuccessful, we lament the prospect of decision-making in the hands of those we feel are less capable or less committed to the principles we value. 

On Reconciliation (January 2015)

Cooperation & Competition - A Nordic Balance As a young adult Friend I was greatly influenced by Elise and Kenneth Boulding, long-time members of Boulder Meeting. I remember Kenneth mentioning, with a twinkle in his eye, “Boulding’s First Law.” (Kenneth made his living as an economist.) “Whatever has happened,” he told me, “is possible.”

On Competition (January 2017)

Do Quakers Mean Business? Recently a Methodist church invited me to a book study. They had been reading books on ethically based business, including Deborah Cadbury’s Chocolate Wars, and had grown wildly curious about these peculiar Quakers and their century and a half of confectionary success. The group leader tabulated a list of famous Quaker business leaders – not only in cocoa, but also in ironwork, railways, footwear, chinaware, household goods, pharmaceuticals, and banking. Why, she asked, was the list so long? Why were there so many Friendly industrial innovators? Why so many business names they now recognized as Quaker – from Cadbury chocolates to Barclays bank to Clarks shoes? What was it about this relatively small, seemingly austere, and ethically demanding faith that drove such a disproportionate share of business enterprise?

On Production (May 2014)

Resistance, Resilience, and Restoration The following article was excerpted from the text of a presentation that Bill Durland made to the Colorado Regional Society of Friends, April 23, 2017. To read the full text of this presentation, see: westernfriend.org/media/resistance-resilience-and-restoration-unabridged.

On Politics (July 2017)

A Personal History with Korea Like many Friends, I was a Peace Corps volunteer in my youth. The Peace Corps Act includes three goals for volunteers: do a job, introduce host country locals to a U.S. young person (usually young), and bring an awareness of the host country’s culture and history back to the U.S. Of those three goals, far and away the most difficult has been that last one. Family and friends typically enjoy hearing a few stories, seeing a few pictures (even a slide show back in the day), but any in-depth thinking about the volunteer’s host country is rare. I’ve used a number of venues to talk about my host country, Korea. Now, with the current political situation, I feel again the need to share my thoughts and what I’ve learned over the years. This is a task made much more difficult by the strongly negative portrayal of the northern part of Korea today. [pullquote]Please notice that I will not use the terms “North Korea” and “South Korea,” as no countries exist with those names.[/pullquote]

On Puzzles (April 2019)