Mission & Values

Photo by Joe Piette

Our Mission

Earth Quaker Action Team is a grassroots, nonviolent action group including Quakers and people of diverse beliefs, who join with millions of people around the world fighting for a just and sustainable economy.

Our Approach

EQAT’s actions nonviolently confront the people who benefit from the current energy system, boldly challenging them to turn away from fossil fuels. EQAT uses nonviolent direct action because it works. Direct action has been crucial to the success of every major social movement over the last century. Direct action allows us to boldly challenge power and highlight injustice. As Dr. Martin Luther King elaborates in Letter From a Birmingham Jail, “nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue.”

Our Values and Practices

Five people are outside, three are standing and two are sitting in camping chairs. One person holds a white sign with black text that says "Let Chester Breathe" and another holds a white sign with black text that says "Save Our Air."

Photo by Rachael Warriner

We know that climate justice is impossible to achieve without also achieving racial justice. We wage tenacious campaigns to demand that the climate revolution benefit those suffering the most from climate change and economic and racial oppression. We see our role as focusing unrelenting, escalating pressure on a specific target. We leverage our power as outside agitators and rebels to challenge entrenched power structures and win concrete victories. As we win, and others win, our work will add up to necessary transformative shifts in our economy and culture.

In the foreground, there's a tree with pink flowers and green leaves. In the background, people march down a sidewalk, holding red signs and flags.

Photo by Joe Piette

While our campaign goals are our North Star, we remain responsive to continuing revelation. We know that our playing field is always shifting, and we open ourselves up to learning if we step forward in ways that aren’t welcome to the communities most impacted by our campaign. We shift our strategy and tactics when what we’re doing is not working. We debrief when we’ve stretched ourselves — as individuals and as an organization — and allow ourselves to let go of thinking that no longer serves us, as we strive to better embody the world we seek to create. 

A crowd of people standing outside, many of whom are singing and a few of whom are holding red signs with white text.

Photo by Rachael Warriner

We proclaim justice from the heart of the broadest vision for liberation we can imagine, intuit, dream. We believe a more just world is possible, and our protest is an active way of saying “yes” to that vision. This belief inspires participants to engage deeply with our actions. We use art, song, and movement to access grounding, hope, and joy. We are sincere in our commitment to this work.

About two dozen people sit in folding chairs outside. Many of them have their eyes closed or are hunched over, contemplatively. Some are holding a large red banner with white text that says "Vanguard invests in climate destruction."

Photo by Barbara Benton

We are founded by Friends and anchored in Quaker histories of speaking truth to power. We actively organize with Quakers, alongside others who share our vision, to take action for climate and social justice. Spirit gives us the courage to act in daunting circumstances, and hope that change is possible. We believe in and practice nonviolence in our campaign, our communications, and our actions. We listen to the group’s wisdom and in any decision, we use collective discernment to find the way forward. We embrace complexity, knowing multiple things can be true at the same time, and that real learning, growth, and truth-finding happen when we embrace that. We dispense with Quaker practices that don’t serve us. We welcome many forms of spiritual exploration and expression including silence, prayer, song, and chanting and we welcome people of all faiths and those with no religious tradition to join us.

Five people standing outside. Between them, they're holding one red banner with white text that says "Vanguard stop investing in climate destruction" and two red signs with white text that say "Vanguard invests in climate destruction" and "Vanguard S.O.S.," respectively.

Photo by Joe Piette

The people who do the work make the decisions about their work, whether they are staff, board members, or volunteers. Many decisions are made by the small committees of volunteers and staff who plan and execute campaign tactics. Volunteers work with staff to hold and shape the big picture. Staff weave, support and provide accountability to volunteers across the organization. For the health of the organization, our staff also look out for big picture trends, lead large strategy projects, and manage administrative tasks. The broad course of the organization is held by the board, who are themselves expected to be active volunteers. Those who give their time and energy to EQAT are expected to listen for the sense of the group and will have the most influence on the course of our work together. 

9 people stand and sit under a large white text, facing each other. One seems to be talking to the rest.

Photo by Eve Gutman

In any decision, we use collective discernment to find the way forward. We have an openness to and awareness that Spirit is working with us and through us in discerning a way forward. Those involved are expected to weigh in and contribute ideas and we make time and space for them to be heard. We listen for disagreement and seek to understand, before moving forward. We invite our membership into the work of brainstorming, planning, and analyzing results. However, we do not expect consensus for each decision. For any decision, there is a clear decision-maker who is called to consider if there is a sense of the group and make the best decision they can. 

Close up of two people in a crowd; one has their arm around the other's shoulders

Photo by Rachael Warriner

To our region, to each other, to the earth, to other movements for justice. We connect across age, race, class, disability, gender, sexuality, location, religion, and more. We use 1:1 connection and relationship-based organizing to strengthen our bonds with each other so they are strong enough to support us to take big risks. We connect for encouragement, to find hope, and to stay motivated for the long fights. We check in on each other during hard times. We build trust and act with integrity, as we believe that those are fundamental to remaining connected. We stay connected to each other in the hard places and while in conflict.

11 people sit in folding chairs or stand in a circle outside. One seems to be talking to the rest of the group.

Photo by Eve Gutman

We know different people are listened to for different reasons, and we are intentional about whom we listen to, whom we give power to, and why. We don’t just listen to one kind of expert. We seek out different perspectives and ways of knowing to help us when making hard decisions. We welcome new energy and respect old wisdom and experience. We seek out data and know that inspiration can come from anywhere. We consider lived experience, especially where people are speaking/challenging from the margins of society and of our group. We know holding all of these at once can lead to conflict and we welcome the complexity of navigating that.

One person in a red shirt with white text that says "Vanguard invests in climate destruction" speaks into a megaphone. A person to one side of them wears a similar shirt and holds the megaphone, while a person on the other side of them wears a neon yellow reflective vest.

Photo by Rachael Warriner

We welcome people to join us in action no matter their level of experience campaigning. We supportively push people to take action outside their comfort zones. We encourage people to learn new skills and take on tasks they don’t yet know how to do and offer supportive feedback to each other to grow. We do this to win our campaign and because transforming ourselves is living into the world we want to see. Whether people are with us for one year or ten, they leave having learned how to think about campaign strategy and how to make strategic decisions, thereby contributing to movements.

A group of about 10 people stand in a circle outside, facing inward. One of them is speaking into a microphone.

Photo by Eve Gutman

We support each other to learn, grow, and take action to resist both internalized and systemic oppression. This healing work helps us be better people and more powerful changemakers. We commit to noticing and acting against patterns of supremacy and oppression when they show up in our group spaces. We recognize that our work is not to change the makeup of our group for its own sake but to constantly work toward creating the kind of world we envision, where everyone feels welcome and supported to bring their full selves. We live in the tension of knowing we are enough to act as we are, and we cannot do all we are meant to only as we are now.