Publications and Presentations of QIF and Associates
Quaker Institute for the Future was founded to carry Friends’ extensive experience with communal discernment into the activity of research. Over the course of three hundred and fifty years, Quakers have pioneered a practice of communal discernment, group decision-making, and problem solving that is capable of building community in the midst of diversity. Friends understand this process as the emergence of a spirit of guidance that leads into a sense of truth about ourselves and the great world in which we are all related.
We believe that Quakers, by virtue of this historic experience, can advance the kind of collaborative research and discernment that will offer significant guidance for dealing with the great issues of human betterment and the maintenance of Earth’s ecological integrity.
George Fox, the founder of the Religious Society of Friends, spoke of living “in that Life and Power that takes away the occasion of all wars.” Quakers have long found this “life and power” is a guiding reality when Friends come together in communal discernment. QIF brings this method and discipline to the conduct of research.
The following listing includes the products of QIF’s research projects, as well as papers, think pieces, and various presentations of Institute Associates. QIF’s book and pamphlets can be purchased directly from Keith Helmuth (firstname.lastname@example.org) or from the FGC bookstore (www.quakerbooks.org) or Amazon.com.
For a downloadable brochure about QIF’s activities, click here (pdf).
by Peter G. Brown and Geoffrey Garver with Keith Helmuth, Robert Howell and Steve Szeghi, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2009
QIF Pamphlet Series
Click here for a poster of QIF’s pamphlet publications, suitable for use in displays.
Prepared by: Judy Lumb, Phil Emmi, Mary Gilbert, Leonard Joy, Laura Holliday, and Shelley Tanenbaum
From the Pamphlet: The purpose of Climate, Food and Violence is to provide the information needed for an understanding of the issues arising in this double challenge in an accessible form to facilitate appropriate action. Included is a review of the current and potential effects of climate change on food production, of the control of food production and distribution, and of the potential for violent conflict. Appropriate responses are discussed in the context of a Quaker approach to solutions leading to a future where all humans, as well as the rest of God’s creatures, have access to the means for a fulfilling life.
This eighth pamphlet in the QIF series was prepared by a QIF Circle of Discernment in support of the work of the Friends Committe on National Legislation, a Quaker lobby in the public interest. While these pamphlets have been prepared for use within the Religious Society of Friends, they will also be of interest and use to anyone who is seeking to understand the connections among climate change, food and violence; and is motivated to work for a future of equality and resilience on Earth for the entire commonwealth of life.
Prepared by: Gray Cox
With Charles Blanchard, Geoff Garver, Keith Helmuth, Leonard Joy, Judy Lumb, and Sara Wolcott
From the Pamphlet: This is the seventh pamphlet in the Quaker Institute for the Future series (QIF #7).
A Quaker Approach to Research: Collaborative Practice and Communal Discernment grows out of a decade of experiments employing Quaker processes of communal discernment in research in the context of public policy, academic study, and community-based research. The guiding hypothesis has been that the methods developed by Quakers for spirit-led governance could be adapted for spirit-led research. The aim of this pamphlet is to describe 1) the vision, theory, and traditions of practice inspiring a Quaker approach to research; 2) experiments with specific methods used; 3) initial results and findings; and 4) the key challenges and puzzles that remain. It further aims to explore the relevance of Quaker process when the participants are not Quaker or even religious.
Prepared by: Growth Dilemma Project of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting and Quaker Institute for the Future
Ed Dreby and Judy Lumb, Editors
From the Pamphlet: This sixth pamphlet in the Quaker Institute for the Future series (QIF #6) is in collaboration with the Growth Dilemma Project of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (Quakers). The Growth Dilemma Project calls attention to the enormous dilemma we face. While the U.S. economy in its current form needs growth to prosper, more growth makes the rich richer while unemployment, hunger, and violence are widespread, and human economies are already larger than Earth can continue to support.
QIF #6 is a companion pamphlet to QIF #5, It’s the Economy, Friends: Understanding the Growth Dilemma, which provides background information on the current functioning of our economy and shows why its unremitting drive for growth cannot continue within the limited ecosystems of Earth.
Beyond the Growth Dilemma: An Ecologically Integrated Economy builds a framework for the changes that are needed to lead us to an ecologically integrated economy. This kind of economy leads to prosperous and thriving lives for humans and other creatures within the limits of planet Earth. Our society’s basic goal must change from “more” to “enough.” Changes in the way we earn our livelihoods, goods are produced, money is created, and the commons are governed are all considered.
While these pamphlets have been prepared for use within the Religious Society of Friends, they will also be of interest and use to anyone who is seeking to understand how the growth dilemma can be resolved to better serve people and planet by the development of an ecologically integrated economy.
Prepared by: Growth Dilemma Project of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting and Quaker Institute for the Future
Ed Dreby, Keith Helmuth, and Margaret Mansfield, Editors
From the Pamphlet: In times of crisis, profound questions sometimes emerge in straight-forward and clarifying ways. With the world’s dominant economic system now struggling to recover from near collapse, it is important to ask: “What is the economy for?” It is no longer coherent to say, “for increasing material wealth through unlimited economic growth.”
In 2009 Quaker Institute for the Future (QIF) published the book Right Relationship: Building a Whole Earth Economy which concluded that “the purpose of the economy is to preserve and enhance the integrity, resilience, and beauty of the whole commonwealth of life.”
This fifth QIF Pamphlet, It’s the Economy, Friends, is in collaboration with the Growth Dilemma Project of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (Quakers). The Growth Dilemma Project website states that “humanity faces a profound dilemma. The economies of virtually all nations require growth to function. Yet more growth makes the wealthiest even wealthier, while unemployment, hunger, and violence are widespread, and human economies, in aggregate, are already larger than Earth’s ecosystems can continue to support.”
It’s the Economy, Friends is aimed at understanding the dilemma that the unremitting drive for growth creates within the limited ecosystems of Earth. While it has been prepared for use within the Religious Society of Friends, it will also be of interest and use to anyone who is seeking to understand both orthodox and ecological economics and how this growth dilemma can be resolved to better serve people and planet.
From the Pamphlet: There is a pervasive sense in our society that we are in a bad place and things are getting worse. This study by Leonard Joy, a veteran of international economic and social development work, is aimed directly at the kind of societal transformation required to stop this slide into catastrophe and begin to advance the growth of security and well-being for human communities and the whole commonwealth of life. His insights are both necessary and timely. With increasing recognition and implementation, they might also be sufficient.
According to Leonard Joy’s well-seasoned vision, this integrated task requires moving into the next phase of human values development where the world is seen not as “a problem with which I must cope” but as a “creative project in which I want to participate.” Movement in this direction constitutes a transformation in both the kind of person a society promotes and the kind of society individuals promote.
Emerging out of this reciprocation would be a transformed set of values embracing equity, integration, actualization, and service. Communication would take on an ethic of honesty, sincerity, comprehensibility and truthfulness. There would arise an appreciation of interdependency, an impulse toward generosity, and a respect for thresholds, limits and boundaries.
Leonard Joy sees individual values development as a prototype for societal transformation. He helps us understand the progression of human values development and the associated dynamics of societal transformation. He challenges precepts of international economic development, advancing instead a practice of societal development.
This pamphlet is a guide for understanding the metamorphosis of societal transformation, and a manual for the practice of collaborative discernment and effective decision making for the common good.
Anne Mitchell with Pinayur Rajagopal, Keith Helmuth and Susan Holtz
From the Pamphlet: A conflict over the future control of food is now coming into prominence worldwide. On the one hand there are those who are focused on ramping up the technology of large-scale food production. On the other there are those who see a vast potential to increase the food production capacity of small-scale farmers world wide through the science-based implementation of eco-agriculture.
For several decades, large agri-business corporations, utilizing a growing range of biotechnologies, have claimed the use of their products is the only way to feed the world. A key factor on which they pinned their forecast was the increased use of genetically modified (GM) crops. This pamphlet assesses this claim in the light of current evidence. It surveys the controversy over agricultural biotechnology and the role of public policy in the regulation of transgenic crops. It places biotechnology within an ethical context of concern for equity, the environment, and the common good. It presents a framework for understanding the varieties of biotechnologies and for gauging strategic action on public policy.
The unimpeded acceptance of GM food crops has hit several snags: 1) Consumer rejection in some regions of the world; 2) farmers refusing to adopt GM crops; 3) public policy intervention; 4) field experience with GM crops falling short of test projections. The steady march to a corporate controlled, global market food system is now being called into question.
Both chemically dependent biotech agriculture and organic eco-agriculture have now been in the field long enough that comparative results are being compiled. For the first time, transnational agri-business is facing the possibility that community based eco-agriculture will check its global move on the future control of food, and offer a more sustainable alternative. Safety, health, equity, ethics, and environmental concerns are food system issues in every society. This pamphlet is a short guide to these issues and the way they are becoming increasingly contested. It will be helpful for understanding biotechnology issues and for guidance on engaging these issues at the level of public policy for the common good.
David Ciscel, Barbara Day, Keith Helmuth, Sandra Lewis, and Judy Lumb
From the Pamphlet: A radical re-assessment is underway on what it will take to prevent our industrial-commercial civilization from sliding sideways into the ditch of ecological breakdown and economic collapse. Many folks are now trying to engage this crisis from a footing of ecological integrity and social solidarity. Yet, the web of life is disrespected, degraded, and disrupted on every hand by destructive economic activity. More and more the critical factors of ecological integrity and social equity are compromised and unhinged by an economy that is both dysfunctional and out of control. As economist, David Ciscel, put it in a recent issue of Quaker Eco-Bulletin (QEB), “It’s the economy, Friends.”
This pamphlet takes up the question, “how on Earth do we live now?” as both a cry of alarm and a call to action. It views our dilemma through the lens of “natural capital” and the lens of “deep ecology.” The editorial team of QEB, along with David Ciscel, composed a Circle of Discernment under the auspices of Quaker Institute for the Future to study this situation and its potential resolution. In the course of this study, the commons emerged as a third point of reference in which the natural capital and deep ecology disciplines can work in concert toward a mutually enhancing human-earth relationship.
This study explores two essential parts of Earth’s commons: property and water. It continues with a close look at systems of governance for the commons, and a new look at human nature’s capacity for cooperative, collaborative action on behalf of the common good. The pamphlet concludes by considering what Quakers, and all others who place a high value on the ethics of right relationship, can bring to the task of rebuilding environmental integrity and advancing social equity at home and worldwide.
Prepared by: Earthcare Working Group of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting and Quaker Institute for the Future
Ed Dreby & Keith Helmuth, Coordinators; Judy Lumb, Editor
From the Pamphlet: Climate change and energy futures are splitting the environmental movement. Some environmentalists now defend nuclear power from an ethical point of view. Others are appalled. Opinions differ over whether solar, wind, and other non-carbon energy technologies can keep the lights on. Some hold out hope for “clean coal” and deep earth storage of captured carbon. Others say this is economically unfeasible and dangerous. A rush to bio-fuels is touted as “green energy.” Others see it as sacrificing food for fuel. Our energy future is stacked with technical options and policy dilemmas, but above all with ethical choices. In Fueling our Future, Quakers expert in both the technical and ethical issues, provide key information, critical analysis and thoughtful dialogue on choices for our energy future. Fueling our Future will assist concerned citizens in their evaluation of public policy and personal choices.
Archive of Research Papers and Think Pieces
Co-Authored By the Quaker Institute for the Future and the Eco-Justice Working Group, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, Religious Society of Friends
By Geoffrey Garver, January 2013
By Shelley Tanenbaum, Sandra Lewis, and Kathy Barnhart, December 2010
By Tom Head, February 2010
Rich Countries Must Pay Their Emissions Debt:
Congress, Carbon and the Common Good – Phil Emmi
Carbon Control and Political Action – Keith Helmuth
By Phil Emmi and Keith Helmuth, September-October 2009
by Charles Blanchard and Shelley Tanenbaum, March-April 2008
Communal Discernment and Academic Research: Is there a Quaker Epistemology for the study of Public Policy and Social Change?
by Gray Cox, June 2005
By Gray Cox, May 2005
By Leonard Joy, May 2002
By Keith Helmuth
Tracey McCowen, November-December 2008
Ed Dreby, July-August 2008
How On Earth Do We Live Now?
The Foundation and Framework that Shapes the Human-Earth Relationship – Sandra Lewis
A Bridge to the Future: Awakening to the Reality of the Commons – Keith Helmuth
Sarah Waring, May-June 2006
Peter G. Brown, March-April 2004
Keith Helmuth, September-October 2004
Alan N. Connor, May-June 2003
Judy Lumb, November-December 2002
Anne Mitchell, May-June 2002
Keith Helmuth, December 2008
Published in Canadian Friend, September-October 2005 and Friends Journal, September 2006
The Global Transformation of Corporations, Financial Institutions, and Government: A Quaker Approach
– Laura Holliday
A plenary presentation at the Friends General Conference Gathering, July 26, 2006 at Pacific Lutheran University, Puget Sound, WA.
Commerce, Community, and the Regulations of Universal Love: The Contemporary Relevance of John Woolman’s essay “A Plea for the Poor”
Presented as the Woolman Lecture, John Woolman Memorial Association, October 15, 2005, Medford, NJ
An address to a plenary session of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, July 30, 2009, at LaSalle University, Center Valley, PA.
Presented at a Sierra Friends Center Retreat, September 30, 2006, at, Nevada City, CA.
The Ecology of Faith and the Faith of Ecology: Is Sustainable Adaptation Within the Human Prospect? (.RTF)
Presented at the 6th Annual Spirituality Conference, March 4th, 2006, Earlham School of Religion, Richmond, IN.
Presented at the 2005 meeting of Southern Appalachian Yearly Meeting Association, June 10th, at Warren Wilson College, Swannanoa, NC.
Laura Holliday and Joy West
A film of stunning beauty and poetry, celebrating the natural beauty of Antarctica and two African-American women’s journey.