Blog posts

Book review: Journey to Earthland: The Great Transition to Planetary Civilization

Submitted by Arthur Dahl on sam 14/01/2017 - 18:38

Journey to Earthland: The Great Transition to Planetary Civilization

by Paul Raskin
Boston: Tellus Institute, 2016. 127 p.
free download at http://www.tellus.org/tellus/publication/journey-to-earthland

Book review by Arthur Dahl


Corruption, morality and religion

Submitted by Arthur Dahl on ven 18/11/2016 - 22:43

Corruption, morality and religion

Arthur Lyon Dahl
International Environment Forum


The world is becoming a more dangerous place, with a loss of shared values, the rise of unpredictable leaders, the increasing concentration of wealth and power, the rejection of science, logic, expertise and even truth, increasing xenophobia and polarization, a disregard for the needs and desires of the young and of future generations, the headlong destruction of environmental resources and life-support systems, the destabilization of the climate, and a debt-driven economic and financial system raping the planet for short-term profit. These contrary winds are sweeping away many hopeful signs of progress from the past, and seem to be leading us to a catastrophe of multiple dimensions and unimaginable consequences. The parallel with the 1930s is frightening.

Ultrasociety (book review)

Submitted by Arthur Dahl on lun 14/11/2016 - 00:01

Ultrasociety (book review)

Peter Turchin. 2016. Ultrasociety: how 10,000 years of war made humans the greatest cooperators on earth. Chaplin, Connecticut: Beresta Books. 266 p.

Book review by Arthur Lyon Dahl, International Environment Forum


Peter Turchin continues his scientific exploration of history and the rise and fall of civilizations in his new book: Ultrasociety. I have previously reviewed his 2006 book War and Peace and War and his significant paper published in Nature in 2010 Political instability may be a contributor in the coming decade which warned of the kind of problems we see emerging in many countries today and which predicted a major crisis by 2020.

The benefits of migration

Submitted by Arthur Dahl on mar 26/04/2016 - 23:57

The cover story in a recent issue of New Scientist provides an objective scientific basis for dispelling many of the myths and lies about the migration crisis, and substantiates many of the points that IEF has raised for years. Debora MacKenzie, in "On the Road Again: From our origins in Africa we've conquered the world by migrating. Can modern immigration really be a crisis" (New Scientist, 9 April 2016, Vol. 230, No. 3068, pp. 29-37) shows the historical importance of migration for the human race.

Review of the Islamic Declaration on Climate Change

Submitted by Arthur Dahl on sam 29/08/2015 - 23:45

Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change: A Review

Arthur Lyon Dahl
International Environment Forum

Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change


After drafting work by a group of leading academics, and wide circulation for consultation, an Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change was adopted at an international Islamic Climate Change Symposium, held in Istanbul, Turkey, on 17-18 August 2015(1) (see ANNEX). The document is a significant addition to other religious declarations on this critical issue for the future of humanity, alongside those of the Bahá'í International Community's statement in 2008: Seizing the Opportunity: Redefining the Challenge of Climate Change (2) and the Pope's June 2015 encyclical Laudato Si': on care for our common home (3) reviewed on this web site (4), among others.

Summary and Commentary on Laudato Si': the Pope's encyclical on the environment and poverty

Submitted by Arthur Dahl on dim 28/06/2015 - 00:06

Summary and Commentary on Laudato Si':
the Pope's encyclical on the environment and poverty

Arthur Lyon Dahl
International Environment Forum
Geneva, Switzerland

Download as pdf (253kb)


The long-awaited encyclical letter of Pope Francis, Laudato Si': on care for our common home, was released on 18 June 2015. The title comes from the canticle of Saint Francis, “LAUDATO SI’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”, and sets the theme for a lengthy addition to Catholic Church teaching that addresses both the environmental challenges facing the world and persistent poverty, weaving the two themes together as aspects of the same spiritual illness facing the world today. The letter is framed as an integrated systems perspective on the material and spiritual challenges, and the need for spiritual solutions. As Baha'is we can welcome such a clear stand by the Catholic Church on issues where we share both the priority that they should be given, and the diagnosis of the fundamental spiritual illness behind both problems.

Karlberg: Meaning, Religion and a Great Transition - review

Submitted by Arthur Dahl on ven 09/01/2015 - 23:42

Meaning, Religion and a Great Transition

by Michael Karlberg
a review and commentary by Arthur Dahl


The Great Transition Initiative is an international collaboration for charting pathways to a planetary civilization rooted in solidarity, sustainability, and human well-being. It operates an on-line forum of leading intellectuals moderated by the Tellus Institute in Boston. Papers are commissioned for discussion, and then published. A couple of IEF members take part in these discussions, which have been largely on scientific, political and institutional themes. In November, for the first time, the topic was "Meaning, Religion and a Great Transition" with a paper prepared by Michael Karlberg which has now been published on line. The discussion was lively and controversial, with the more secular scientists contesting that religion could be considered a knowledge system or be anything more than subjective and not worthy of serious consideration, while others welcomed this as an essential part of any transition. At the end of the month, Michael responded to the debate, and his commentary is also on line.