Climate Emergency and Species Extinction Working Group

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Terms of Reference


Terms of Reference


Australia Yearly Meeting Working Group on Climate Emergency and Species Extinction (Expert) (AYM Climate Emergency and Species Extinction, AYM WG CESE)


  • To build on the work and spirit-led influences of the Australian Quaker Statement on Earthcare (2008) and the Quaker Earthcare Climate Emergency and Species Extinction Epistle (2019).
  • To design, develop and drive a national Australian Friends’ action plan on climate emergency and species extinction.
  • To work with like-minded groups on the climate emergency and species extinction issue.
  • The Working Group should encourage Friends to work with other like-minded groups on the climate emergency and species extinction.
  • To discern all matters, relationships and actions through the powerful and fearless grace of the Divine, in keeping with Friends’ ways.


These Terms of Reference will be effective from Yearly Meeting in July 2021 and continue until
Yearly Meeting 2023, or until terminated by Australia Yearly Meeting.


Membership of WG AYM CESE will consist of up to eight Members or Attenders of the Religious Society of Friends Australia, as appointed by Australia Yearly Meeting, in close consultation with Regional Meetings clerks/co-clerks, drawing upon the  ‘expert’ knowledge and experience available across our Meetings.  It is anticipated that the working group will reflect the diversity of Friends, including the voices of children and Junior Young Friends.

Roles and Responsibilities

The WG AYM CESE is accountable to Australia Yearly Meeting and Standing Committee of AYM for:

  • Encouraging and supporting Friends to engage with local, state/territory and national governments and those in Opposition, businesses, community leaders and other local and national influencers on climate emergency and species extinction issues.
  • Fostering collaboration with like-minded national groups, both secular and religious, in ways that harness the Quaker experience and leadings.
  • Endeavouring to work with First Nations’ Peoples whose knowledge of Australia’s environment is of importance for understanding how to live in this country.
  • Monitoring and engaging on relevant or related work of the Australian Government and other national stakeholders (eg corporations and public entities).
  • Linking or coordinating with other AYM committees/groups on climate emergency and species extinction issues.
  • Linking with: Friends around the world and across the Asia West Pacific region, British and American Friends, as well as the Quaker United Nations Offices.
  • Undertaking other relevant work, on behalf of AYM, as discerned by the AYM WG CESE membership.
  • Reporting to each mid-year Standing Committee and Yearly Meetings during its two-year term.


All Regional Meetings are asked to appoint a correspondent to the AYM WG CESE working group, serving as a liaison between the AYM CESE and their Regional Meeting.

Engaging non-Members

The WG AYM CESE has the capacity to temporarily co-opt other Friends to contribute its work, in order to give the working group the benefit of specific expertise.


Meetings will take place monthly, or more, as determined by the WG AYM CESE, primarily by zoom or other electronic means.  During the two-year term they will also:

  • host pre-AYM preparatory sessions via zoom, or during residential AYMs; and
  • make available representatives to each Standing Committee meeting.


Australia Yearly Meeting 2021 Minute creating this Working Group

YM21.31 Item not agreed upon through the YM21 Business Process – Climate Emergency & Species Extinction Working Group

Australia Yearly Meeting agrees to establish a Climate Emergency and Species Extinction Working Group and approves the Terms of Reference as amended at this meeting.

AYM appoints the following as members of this Working Group for a term as specified in the Terms of Reference: Peri Coleman (SANTRM), David Shorthouse (CRM), Bea Farquhar (TRM), David King (QRM), Gerry Fahey (VRM), Elizabeth PO’ (WARM).

Regional Meetings are reminded to appoint a correspondent to this Working Group.

AYM recognises that the Climate Emergency and Species Extinction Working Group is one expression of Australian Friends’ concern for Earthcare. While the manner in which this working group will take forward our Earthcare concerns may differ from the way that the AYM Earthcare Committee took forward this concern, we see it as the right time to lay down the AYM Earthcare Committee.

We ask the AYM Treasurer to make the funds previously budgeted for the Earthcare Committee available to the newly-formed Climate Emergency and Species Extinction Working Group.