International Environment Forum 25th General Assembly, 30 October 2021
The 25th General Assembly of the International Environment Forum was held over the Internet on the Zoom platform on 30 October 2021 with 19 members attending: Peter Adriance (Canada), Khela Baskett (USA), Phil Breuser (USA), Gary Colliver (USA), Arthur Dahl (Switzerland), Cynthia Diessner (USA), Mark Griffin (USA), John Krochmalny (USA), Khondker Mustafiz Imran (Bangladesh), Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen (Netherlands), Winnona Merritt (USA), Laurent Mesbah (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Wendi Momen (UK), Christine Muller (USA), Zulay Posada (Colombia), Wilmer Pulido (Canada), Sabine Schlenkermann (Germany), Firouz Sobhani (France), Victoria Thoresen (Norway).
1. Opening of the General Assembly by the IEF president
The IEF President, Arthur Dahl, opened the General Assembly and welcomed the participants to the IEF 25th General Assembly marking a quarter of a century.
2. Introduction of members present
It was enriching to learn about the backgrounds of the members attending from eleven different countries.
3. Selection of officers of the General Assembly
The participants agreed that the IEF President should preside the General Assembly and the IEF General Secretary, Christine Muller, should serve as secretary.
4. Approval of the agenda
The agenda was approved as presented.
5. Results of the election of the Governing Board
Members voted by email on 15 – 29 October. IEF President Arthur Dahl conveyed the result of the election from the teller, Michael Richards (UK), who was not able to participate because of family obligations:
23 members voted. The Governing Board for the coming year consists of Arthur Dahl (Switzerland), Christine Muller (USA), Halldor Thorgeirsson (Iceland), Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen (Netherlands), Wendi Momen (UK), Laurent Mesbah (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Victoria Thoresen (Norway).
6. Presentation of the Annual Report
The main points of the Annual Report 2020-2021, already circulated to all the members, were summarized by IEF President Arthur Dahl, and the report was approved.
Khela Baskett reported about the nine webinars that took place during the past year. She invited the membership to attend future webinars and to volunteer to serve as a webinar speaker.
7. Consultation on activities and priorities for the coming year
The chair invited proposals for future priorities, activities and webinar topics. Gary Colliver suggested to have discussions about what other IEF members are doing, how they are connecting environmental issues and human values, and how they are going about infusing spiritual ideas into environmental actions. John Krochmalny added that although people believe in peace, they need to learn how to apply new perspectives.
Arthur Dahl pointed out that a new decision by the UN Human Rights Council that establishes the human right to a healthy environment is an excellent topic for public discourse.
Firouz Sobhani raised the question whether there were any interfaith initiatives for environmental action. Several interfaith organizations were mentioned which IEF follows, such as the former Alliance of Religion and Conservation whose goals are now pursued with the Faith Plans for People and Planet Programme, GreenFaith and Interfaith Power&Light in the USA, and the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology with which IEF already collaborates.
Several participants emphasized the urgent need to engage in local environmental actions in our communities. IEF President Arthur Dahl encouraged IEF members to be actively involved in their communities and to use the IEF resources in their efforts. He also encouraged everyone thus engaged to report such experiences in the IEF newsletter. Mark Griffin eloquently summarized this in the chat: The IEF builds capacities within its membership within a global perspective, then those IEF members take part in their own community's grassroots development, perhaps with the help of some of the IEF resources. So ‘Think Globally, act locally’”.
Two members shared their local action in the chat: Phil Breuser invited town council members to the November 5 session of the upcoming IEF conference on “Strategies for Climate Resilient Communities”, commenting “That is one effort in bringing international to local.” Sabine Schlenkermann shared that, in Germany, they have done hands-on activities with children connecting religion and the environment.
Winnona Merritt mentioned a conflict with dates between the IEF webinars and the lectures of the ABS Agriculture working group. She will get together with Khela Baskett to fix this issue.
IEF secretary Christine Muller called for volunteers who would write a brief report about one of the five panels of the IEF conference. Wilmer Pulido and Mark Griffin kindly volunteered.
Concluding the consultation, Arthur Dahl invited the members to share their ideas about future conferences with the IEF board.
8. Closing of the General Assembly
After an hour and a half of rich consultation, the President thanked all those that had participated, and closed the General Assembly.
Last updated 7 November 2021