Burlington Friends Minute on the Closing of Vermont Yankee

At the last Northwest Quarterly Meeting, Burlington Friends Meeting presented their meeting’s minute on closing Vermont Yankee, asking if Quarterly Meeting might adopt or adapt it as a collective statement from Quarterly Meeting that will be shared with Vermont legislators as well as all local meetings in Northwest Quarter. The recent Quarterly Meeting has now asked us and other meetings in the Quarter to reflect on the Burlington Meetings minute and share our collective response. We will be discussing PFM’s response to Quarterly meeting during our November business meeting. Please read the BFM Minute on Closing Vermont Yankee.

Burlington Friends Meeting Minute

As members of the Religious Society of Friends, we believe we are called to be good stewards of the earth. In recent times, we have been overwhelmed and even numbed by the growing confluence of natural disasters with man-made catastrophes. Again and again, the fail-safe systems of human engineering are swept aside by the power of a living and restless planet: levees in New Orleans, well-plugs in the Gulf of Mexico, tsunami seawalls in Japan. The persistent arrogance of our belief in the ability of science to understand, manipulate, and ultimately control the forces of Creation is nowhere more evident than in our use of nuclear fission to build bombs and boil water.

After Hiroshima, after Chernobyl, after Fukushima, we must say “No.” We have seen entire cities destroyed in a flash; seen wind-borne poisons circumnavigating the globe; and seen radioactive waste material created that will bring death to living things for thousands of years.

To say “No” to nuclear fission here in Vermont is to say “Yes” to being a different people: to overcome our fear of powerlessness and become hopeful and courageous. It is to become radically more simple in our patterns of living, consuming far less energy and material things. If we choose to be a different people it will become much clearer what we, as Friends, must do:

● Join with those called to public witness, including non-violent civil disobedience, to shut down our own nuclear power plant, Vermont Yankee, and continue to speak to public officials on this matter;
● Have Monthly Meetings establish Committees of Concern and other traditional Quaker structures to challenge and assist one another in making the profound changes in consumption that we must achieve to heal the Earth; and
● Corporately model simplicity and good stewardship of our meeting houses and grounds through such projects as insulation, solar panels, wind generators, vegetable gardens and fruit trees.

We are made to be an integral part of this wondrous Creation. Let us choose now to take up our stewardship commitment, fully accepting our responsibilities to care for our planet and its peoples. Let us choose now to join with other Friends, and all people of good will and understanding, to move forward through worship and through witness to reach our goals.

Approved at Burlington Monthly Meeting, 5/15/2011, and Approved to forward to Northwest Quarterly Meeting.