Newsletter of the
INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENT FORUM
Volume 23, Number 5 --- 15 May 2021
Article submission: firstname.lastname@example.org Deadline next issue 10 June 2021
Secretariat Email: email@example.com Christine Muller General Secretary
Postal address: 12B Chemin de Maisonneuve, CH-1219 Chatelaine, Geneva, Switzerland
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From the Editor, Request for information for upcoming newsletters
This newsletter is an opportunity for IEF members to share their experiences, activities, and initiatives that are taking place at the community level on environment, climate change and sustainability. All members are welcome to contribute information about related activities, upcoming conferences, news from like-minded organizations, recommended websites, book reviews, etc. Please send information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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IEF Lecture Webinars
6th IEF Lecture
Our IEF webinar this month will feature Ndeley Agbaw, Head of the World Food Programme Office in Lake Province, Chad, who will speak about:
An Overview of the United Nations World Food Programme Activities in the Lake Chad Region.
May 22nd, 2021 1pm EDT, 18:00 GMT (UK), 19:00 CET, 22:30 IST (New Delhi)
In response to the goals set by world leaders under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the World Food Programme (WFP), which is the food arm of the United Nations, adopted SDGs 2 and 17. In the Republic of Chad in Central Africa, WFP has worked with both the central and local governments as well as other agencies and NGOs to achieve these goals. In doing so, WFP established 13 field offices in the country and signed various MOUs with partners and government institutions. These arrangements that aim to achieve zero hunger (SDG 2) and help with capacity development among various institutions are covered under a number of project areas such as emergency food distribution, seasonal assistance to vulnerable communities, emergency school feeding, nutrition focused activities and supporting vulnerable communities to build against various shocks. In addition, supply chain management and capacity development of our partners and government institutions play a major role. These activities are carried out in the Lake Chad Province, which is the focus of this discussion as well as other provinces of the country.
My name is Ndeley Agbaw and I was born in Cameroon where I did my early education. I then continued my studies at Eastern Connecticut State University before undertaking an internship at the UN that was organized by the Baha'i International Community. Thereafter I served as a volunteer as the Baha'i World Centre in Haifa before going to Angola where I began my UN career. I have worked with the World Food Programme (WFP) in various capacities since 1992 in various countries and presently based in Bol, Lake Province in Chad as Head of the WFP Field Office.
June 27th - Start Living to the Next Economy Now with John Krochmalny
Description & Registration: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJclduyrqD4vGtyaFjrg6Pblv9X9vuCX-ohh
Recordings of Past Webinars:
The Interrelationship between Climate Change and Agriculture
Webinar on Sunday, May 30, 1pm EDT, 19:00 CET
with IEF Member Christine Muller
The Agriculture Working Group of the Association for Baha'i Studies is hosting monthly webinars. This month's topic is on the Interrelationship between Climate Change and Agriculture.
Climate Change and agriculture are intricately interconnected. We will begin the webinar with a discussion of the different ways climate change affects agriculture, an issue many people have recently become more aware of. Less well known is our second topic, namely that agriculture is also a major source of greenhouse gas emissions and therefore contributes to global warming which changes the climate. This subject will naturally lead to a more hopeful discussion about how agriculture can play an important role in mitigating climate change. We will conclude with some spiritual perspectives. The presentation will include elements of a formal talk, as well as discussions.
For the Zoom link to this May 30 webinar, please write to the secretariat at IEF@iefworld.org
You can watch recordings of past webinars and subscribe to the ABS Agriculture group list to get notices of future events here: https://agriculture-working-group.mailchimpsites.com/
- Judith Bakirya and Patrick Kiirya: Agroecology, Permaculture and Smallholder Farmers: Sustainable Agriculture in Uganda https://youtu.be/BJAN2p9q-eM
- Arthur Dahl: The Global Sustainability Challenge: A Systems View of Agriculture https://youtu.be/_k6gnvoMKRs
- Roy Steiner: Envisioning the Future of Food Systems https://youtu.be/Z5XVke3e9xk
- Paul Hanley: Abdu'l Baha': The Master of Social Action and Public Discourse https://youtu.be/FIXXLNLHrdc
- Gary Reusche: Transformational Processes in Bahá’í Communities and Cooperative Development are Intrinsically Linked https://youtu.be/rwVHeIqmFM4
- Karryn Olson: Cultivating a Regenerative World Order: The Pivotal Role of Agriculture
- Ndeley Agbaw: U.N. World Food Program, Lake Chad Province https://youtu.be/jo7RatjxS9E
- Hugh Locke: Lessons from a Smallholder Farming Revolution in Haiti https://youtu.be/MrW5TW3jKYI Stephen Vickers and Ricardo Romero, International Tree Foundation: https://youtu.be/vKU0jajh23w
Educating for the Future We Want
Based on a contribution by Arthur Dahl to the Great Transition Network on
The Pedagogy of Transition: Educating for the Future We Want
The rich diversity of views shared on education for the transition lays out clearly the dominant materialistic economic paradigm and its supportive academic establishment that have so far resisted the many exciting and innovative approaches by participants in the GTN to educating for the future we want. They range from an eloquent description of resistance to change within academia, to a useful summary of the opposing paradigms. We are good at diagnosing the illness, but have more difficulty in suggesting ways forward.
One thing we need to avoid is suggesting uniform solutions to be incorporated into curricula everywhere, when rapid change requires local empowerment and adaptability. An alternative can be community integrated learning centres. Michael Karlberg emphasised social movement learning, fostering moral empowerment with a pedagogy of transformative change. This has the advantage that communities take charge of their own learning adapted to their local situation and aspirations, which avoids the top-down imposition of some definition of sustainability. It also gets around the rigidity of present formal education.
At the other end of the spectrum of human organization, we also need effective systems of global governance for those dimensions of the Great Transition that require international collaboration, whether it be in preserving peace, pandemic control or resolving climate change and biodiversity loss (1). Existing systems of governance and education based on national sovereignty are increasingly dysfunctional and block the Great Transition. The need for multi-level governance to achieve the Great Transition should be a focus for research and education.
Drawing on my half century as an environmental scientist on the front lines of environment and sustainability policy-making and action in many parts of the world, including designing everything from village community education to advanced study graduate courses, there is a dimension that has been insufficiently acknowledged in this debate. If we want to leverage a transition in the causes rather than symptoms of our existential crises, we need to work at the level of values and challenge the assumptions underlying the present system. Donella Meadows made the point in her study of leverage points (2). Research has often avoided values and beliefs as too subjective or controversial, yet the comments on this theme have often mentioned their importance. Several contributions have highlighted indigenous and traditional world-views that see humans and nature as a whole, as opposed to the economic sector seeing environment as an externality. Others have referred to the need for a change of heart, a questioning of assumptions and a transformation of beliefs and values, what has been called spiritual intelligence. The Earth Charter as a distillation of shared sustainability values.
One of the most resistant dimensions of the dominant intellectual paradigm in both academia and the economy, including in this dialogue, is to ignore or reject religion as having any relevance. This is not to deny the very good reasons for discounting much of what goes today under that label. But in human history, the most radical, fundamental and lasting transformations have resulted from emergent religions that have reformed the values by which societies functioned, educating entire populations. Religion addresses most directly what it means to be human, and the resulting moral questions and ethical dilemmas. Why should we discount the possibility of this happening today?
I speak from personal experience as a scientist deeply engaged in environmental reform and social change inspired by my own religious tradition, the Bahá'í Faith, that accepts the harmony and complementarity of modern science while providing spiritual principles for a higher human purpose. It is in complete accord with most what has been shared this month, and in fact with the whole concept of the Great Transition, which it anticipated already in the 19th century and is working to bring about. Michael Karlberg cited an example of its innovations in education. Much reference has been made here to sustainability thinkers and social reformers of the last few decades, but there are earlier figures. The son of the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, 'Abdu'l-Bahá (1844-1921), wrote a remarkable treatise on what we call the Great Transition in 1875 (3), and travelled to the West in 1911-1913 after forty years in prison, attacking racial prejudice in America, promoting gender equality, describing ecological principles of cooperation and reciprocity and the dangers of environmental destruction, warning about materialism and the consumer society, and suggesting solutions to extremes of wealth and poverty (4). But since he was seen as the leader of a religion and often used religious language, his role as a pioneer of the Great Transition is largely ignored.
We need to reach out to the many in faith communities who are also working for the Great Transition, from Pope Francis with Laudado Si' (5) to many interfaith initiatives for climate justice and the environment, that can help to fill the values-action gap and have wide reach in communities and educational systems around the world. I have tried to address this also, particularly among the young who have lost their bearings in a disintegrating society (6). It is only by transforming education to address all these levels that we may have a chance to empower the rising generation to overcome the strong resistance to the Great Transition and lessen the coming crises that will otherwise force us to change.
1. Lopez-Claros, Augusto, Arthur L. Dahl and Maja Groff. 2020. Global Governance and the Emergence of Global Institutions for the 21st Century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 545 p. doi:10.1017/9781108569293 https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/global-governance-and-the-emergenc…
2. Meadows, Donella. 1999. Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System. Hartland, Vermont: The Sustainability Institute. 19 p.
3. 'Abdu'l-Bahá. 1875. The Secret of Divine Civilization. Wilmette, Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1957.
4. His collected talks in America fill two volumes, but a relevant summary is 'Abdu'l-Baha. Foundations of World Unity. Wilmette, Illinois: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1945.
5. Pope Francis. 2015. Laudato Si': on care for our common home. Encyclical (18 June 2015) http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-fr…
6. Dahl, Arthur Lyon. 2019. In Pursuit of Hope: A Guide for the Seeker. Oxford: George Ronald. 194 p. https://www.grbooks.com/products/in-pursuit-of-hope-a-guide-for-the-see…
For reading on smartphones: http://yabaha.net/dahl/hope/hope.html
Tertiary Educational Innovations Required When Dealing with Climate Change and Clean Energy Transition
By Rafael Amaral Shayani,
IEF Member and Professor of Electrical Engineering at University of Brasilia – Brazil, email@example.com
“Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time” states the document that presents the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and it continues with the following glimpse: “It is also, however, a time of immense opportunity.” Academic institutions can contribute to overcoming this challenge by studying this theme with students during their undergraduate studies, thereby encouraging them to apply the knowledge they have obtained from their courses to solve the great problems afflicting mankind.
There are several skills that all undergraduate students must develop during their coursework, including scientific vision, reflective thinking, and the ability to understand the relationships among social, cultural, environmental, economic, and political contexts that are consistent with human rights. At the same time, they should be guided by human values such as dignity, freedom, equality, justice, and peace. So, how can these skills become better developed in undergraduate students?
One possibility is the study of climate change, in courses from all knowledge areas, which would provide an opportunity for students to exercise these skills. Climate change is a complex global process, which requires a holistic and humanistic approach with critical and reflective vision, incorporating solutions that consider environmental, social, political, and economic dimensions in a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary way. It represents a relevant “case study” that can be addressed in all courses. Students will need training so as to expand their vision to propose, within their areas of expertise, practical solutions to this great challenge.
One of the Sustainable Development Goals (#4 Quality Education) is to "ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development." This goal may seem complex and difficult to implement in undergraduate courses. However, when considering climate change, which is caused mainly by more developed countries and mainly affects the poorest countries, it may be considered a practical example of a situation that needs a solution based on human rights. By requiring all countries to work together on this, it could lead the way to world peace. The Paris Agreement is such an example of global unity agreed upon by 195 countries.
For humanity to advance towards any solution, it is necessary to empower individuals, communities, and institutions. Undergraduate students, when empowered to find global solutions during their coursework, will tend to implement this vision in the institutions in which they participate after obtaining their degree. The impact can be extremely positive!
Climate change and energy are multidisciplinary themes that can be addressed by several different types of professionals. The new generation of young professionals is motivated to change the world. In this regard, the energy issue does not have to be addressed only by technicians. To accelerate the clean energy transition, it is necessary for new ideas to reshape the entire energy sector. Because they have a different point of view from people that have worked in the energy sector for decades, the undergraduate students can offer valuable creative and innovative ideas. These ideas can even be developed to a greater degree as a graduation project.
The technical undergraduate student, such as an electrical engineering student, can develop a graduation project about smart grid control to host high penetration of photovoltaic solar energy. This is already happening. But we need more people enrolled in the process, with different approaches. For example:
- Undergraduate economic students can provide assessments of environmental costs related to fossil fuels;
- Undergraduate marketing students can propose approaches to inspire people to adopt new clean technologies in a faster way;
- Undergraduate sociology students can study how people connect clean energy to environmental protection (for instance, how will people feel about knowing that the adoption of rooftop photovoltaic energy has, in some way, the same benefits as planting a tree?);
- Undergraduate psychology students can research the effect that residential clean energy adoption has in treating depression (in this regard, some may need help realizing that when people adopt clean energy, they are playing an important role toward all of society with positive global effects of this important action in which everyone can contribute);
- For writers, literature books (best sellers) about science fiction and romance or technical books about social fiction can be related to clean energy with characters, heroes, romance, etc. that can provide meaningful insights.
An innovation on education might be that professors use a project-based learning approach related to climate change and energy to empower undergraduate students to propose creative and innovative solutions using the knowledge they have already learned at a university or college.
The impact of this action will be to have more young professionals from several different areas of knowledge enrolled in the energy issue, not only as technicians, but also as those in the social sciences and humanities, who will be empowered to work with society to accelerate the energy transition.
Another impact can be students feeling empowered to propose projects of huge relevance as well as social and environmental impact, contributing to a reduction in drop-out rates, because they will be aware of the impact that they can provide to the world. This educational approach will help students realize that their endeavors are useful.
Additionally, consider electricity which has a special characteristic in that it is not visible. If one must choose from clean water or dirty water to drink, even knowing that dirty water is cheaper, everyone will choose clean water because they can see how repulsive dirty water is. Nevertheless, clean electricity and dirty electricity are exactly the same entering a power outlet. A solar hospital and a fossil-fueled hospital will operate their electrical equipment in the same way. So, it is necessary to develop a consciousness in the general public about the importance of clean energy. This can be better done with professionals from several disciplines.
Bahá'u'lláh's (1817-1892) inspiring words: “Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in, and centre your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements” are a guide for professors, from all knowledge based courses, to encourage students to use undergraduate knowledge to solve great humanitarian challenges. Climate change and clean energy transition are challenges that require all these skills.
The Baha’i Faith and the Future of Our Environment
An essay by Courtney Rousell, Student of Religion, Philosophy and Ethics
Baha'u'llah, the founder of the Baha'i Faith, says that the grandeur and diversity of the natural world are purposeful reflections of the majesty and bounty of God. Therefore, nature is to be respected and protected as a divine trust for which we are answerable. We all have a responsibility of looking after God’s creation and our home. Spiritually we are also connected to our environment in many different ways, but how? And what does this mean for the Baha’i religion?
Universal values and principles are needed for a comprehensive vision of a global society; this inspires individuals to take responsibility for the long-term care and protection of the natural environment. Baha’u’llah teaches moderation, a commitment to justice, and detachment from the things of this world--spiritual disciplines which enable individuals to contribute to unity within a world civilization. These are patterns for a civilization as well as principles in Baha'u'llah’s revelation. This revelation offers hope to a dispirited humanity and the promise that it is truly possible both to meet the needs of the present and future generations and to build a solid foundation for the social and economic development of our future. As Baha'u'llah states: “The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens.”
So many members of the Baha’i religion all over the world have contributed to making our planet a more sustainable world to live in—a fantastic commitment and advocacy. For example, the Baha’i International Community has collaborated with UNICEF to produce a book of children’s artwork. Since education is highly important when it comes to teaching how to look after our world, Baha’i-inspired education has children discussing issues of sustainable development and producing artwork and poetry from discussions on the environment. This is a unique and creative way of engaging with the younger generation!
Working with local communities is also important for spreading the teachings of Baha’u’llah and the importance of helping others even if the overall contribution does not seem grand. This past year has for sure been a challenge for everyone due to the impact of the coronavirus, but it also has been a great opportunity for communities to join together to help others and even improve our environment. Baha’i communities are increasingly involved at the local, national, and international levels in conferences on the environment not to mention being involved with major UN consultations.
Enlightenment and peace for humanity are significant, and to reach this point we all need to recognize the fundamental unity of humanity as well as the unity of God and religion. By working together as a community and as an individual for our environment, a huge difference can be made to our planet by making peace with nature. Hopefully one day we can live in a sustainable world that will greatly benefit future generations. As Baha'u'llah wrote: "That which the Lord hath ordained as the sovereign remedy and mightiest instrument for the healing of the world is the union of all its peoples in one universal Cause . . . ." (Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah CXX)
Reflections on Earth Day
Blog by Arthur Dahl
Every young person faces the challenge of finding a vision and purpose for their life, a meaningful career path that will be personally rewarding while making a contribution to society. The first Earth Day, 22 April 1970, helped launch IEF President Arthur Dahl on his path of environmental action. This is described in his latest contribution to bahaiteachings.org on 22 April 2021: Reflections on Earth Day, a Half Century of Environmental Action at https://bahaiteachings.org/reflections-earth-day-half-century-environme….
Stockholm+50, Some Reflections
by Arthur Lyon Dahl
In June of 2022, the United Nations will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the UN Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm, Sweden, that led to the creation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the beginning of UN action on the environment. Planning is now underway for Stockholm+50. As a veteran of the original Stockholm Conference, where I represented the Bahá'í International Community, this is something to which I have given a great deal of thought in my roles with the Global Governance Forum and the Climate Governance Commission. With so many environmental crises coming to a head, and building on the CBD COP15 and UNFCCC COP26 this year, Stockholm+50 needs to be the turning point for an integrated transition across all environmental dimensions and the SDGs. It should aim to be as creative as the original Stockholm Conference in breaking new ground for the UN system. UNEP was intended to be a catalyst for a UN-wide response to the environment. The aim of Stockholm+50 should be to catalyse a transformation of the whole UN system. The following are some dimensions of that necessary transformation.
All the evaluations of UN action point to beautiful texts and high ambitions that fail on implementation. The focus at Stockholm+50 should be on obstacles to implementation and how to address them collectively as a world community. This will require challenging some of the basic assumptions of the present international order.
National sovereignty is the founding principle of the UN, but with the globalisation of the last 75 years, national sovereignty no longer exists. The economy has globalised. The pandemic is global. Climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss know no borders. The fatal flaws in the UN system result from the primacy of national sovereignty over the common good, whether in the veto in the Security Council or the voluntary nature of international law. Today sovereignty serves primarily to protect national crimes from international action. We need to replace this outworn concept by the principle of national autonomy, the freedom of countries to choose their own ways and means to respect the global common good in keeping with their local environment, resources, economy and culture. That freedom is best protected by an effective system of global governance, just as individual freedom is best protected by an efficient national government.
Our globalised system has hit or overshot planetary boundaries with grave threats to our future. At the time of the Stockholm Conference, limits to growth were only a hypothetical projection in computer models. This new reality requires a new capacity for binding global legislation in those areas like greenhouse gas emissions, the nitrogen cycle, pollution by plastics and other persistent chemical products, and ecosystem functions that are essential to maintain the liveability of the planet for all of us.
It is also clear that all of our problems - environmental, social and economic - are interrelated in a single complex global system which the present approach in silos by separate issues cannot address effectively. The future UN system response needs to be much more integrated, overcoming the competition between specialised agencies and programmes, while filling gaping gaps in economic governance. The WTO should not remain outside the UN system, and new institutions are needed for the necessary regulation of multinational corporations and a global financial system that facilitates tax avoidance rather than corporate citizenship. At the same time, a much more flexible approach is needed to multistakeholder and multilevel governance, with wider participation and more subsidiarity, moving responsibility for implementation down to the levels closest to those most affected at the scale of each problem.
Another under-appreciated issue is the impact of corruption on environmental issues and action. From wildlife crime and illegal logging and fishing to waste dumping, corruption and illegal actions are significant contributors to environmental degradation. More recently, while few data are available, the fact that a significant part of the flow of funds for pandemic response and economic stimulus is being captured by corruption suggests that much of the money now being directed to respond to climate change will similarly not be used for what was intended. There are now proposals for an International Anti-Corruption Court that would finally give the world community the means to address this problem when corrupt government leaders and even state capture by corrupt interests or organized crime make national action impossible.
In the area of international environmental legislation, we have seen great fragmentation, placing an impossible burden on governments to participate in all the separate processes. Significant consolidation is required, while also strengthening means of enforcement, and assisting those countries that lack the technical and financial capacities for implementation.
Science has always been at the foundation of addressing environmental problems since the environmental assessment component of the Stockholm Action Plan. But science today faces an often concealed problem, the privatisation of science and knowledge through intellectual property rights, whether in patents for vaccines or multinational scientific publishers copyrighting access to the scientific literature. I am constantly blocked from reading publications (even my own) because I do not have access to an academic library able to pay high subscription fees, so much more so for those scientists in developing countries. If the UN is to lead in using science for environmental monitoring, assessment and planning, it must guarantee for everyone free access to that information.
Finally, UNEP has always been under-funded, so there needs to be agreement on new funding mechanisms for international action that do not depend on voluntary contributions by governments. These need to be global to avoid the usual race to the bottom. A global carbon tax is one obvious possibility. I suggested many years ago a global tax on the trade in forest products, the proceeds of which could pay to protect those forests with the highest global value for biodiversity conservation or as a carbon sink. A well-designed financial instrument can both discourage environmentally damaging activities and reward those that are sustainable. Stockholm+50 should think creatively about these possibilities.
These proposals may be ambitious, but if we do not aim high, we shall always do too little, too late, and we cannot afford that anymore.
Searching for Solidarity
The Editor's Reflection about a Commentary by Maurie Cohen
In an enlightening essay about the essential need for solidarity, Maurie Cohen wrote:
“In prevalent conceptions of the Great Transition, solidarity is placed at the center of emergent processes of change. In short, the presumption is that the anticipated transformation will likely be out of reach in the absence of adequate social cohesion. But what could motivate this globally diffused unity of purpose? Or more prosaically, how will we get along in the Anthropocene? ...
“In recent years, and building on a deep legacy from different religious doctrines, Pope Francis has become an important voice in efforts to identify and leverage aspects of our common humanity. Writing last month on the pages of the New York Times, the Pontiff observed that “sometimes, when you think globally, you can be paralyzed…[yet there] are moments in life that can be ripe for change and conversion.” Reflecting specifically on the challenges of COVID-19, he aspires to arouse solidarity through a sense of “regard for all citizens and seeking to respond effectively to the needs of the least fortunate.” The Pope concludes his reflections by noting that “What ties us to one another is what we commonly call solidarity. Solidarity is more than acts of generosity, important as they are; it is the call to embrace the reality that we are bound by bonds of reciprocity. On this solid foundation we can build a better, different, human future.”
“While in equal parts eloquent and inspiring, it strikes me that this heartfelt homily lacks a strategy for meaningful implementation. How do we proactively instill harmony in a world that seems prefigured for fragmentation and strife?”
You can read the whole essay published by futureearth here.
Readers familiar with the Baha'i Faith will immediately think about the teachings of Baha'u'llah (1817 – 1892). Here are some samples:
“The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established.” - Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 286
“The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens.” - Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 250
“Let your vision be world-embracing, rather than confined to your own self.” - Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 94
“Unification of the whole of mankind is the hall-mark of the stage which human society is now approaching. Unity of family, of tribe, of city-state, and nation have been successively attempted and fully established. World unity is the goal towards which a harassed humanity is striving. Nation-building has come to an end. The anarchy inherent in state sovereignty is moving towards a climax. A world, growing to maturity, must abandon this fetish, recognize the oneness and wholeness of human relationships, and establish once for all the machinery that can best incarnate this fundamental principle of its life.” - Shoghi Effendi, World Order of Baha'u'llah, p 202
“The welfare of any segment of society is inextricably bound up with the welfare of the whole.” - 1 March 2017 Letter by the Universal House of Justice
For information how Baha'is are building community and solidarity, go here: https://www.bahai.org/action/
Restoring our Earth to its Rightful Equilibrium
Source: Faith For Earth
Multilateralism remains our only option to cooperate in achieving the goals that would take us to a better future. The only viable agenda we have today, is Agenda 2030. The Agenda does address all aspects of the needs of the people and the planet. If implemented with commitments from all stakeholders, it would lead us to the future we want.
The international system represented by the UN, and other development organizations, is ready. The unprecedented environmental challenges we are facing today cannot be solved or adequately addressed, if we do not solve a very important underlying cause; the lack of the system of values, ethical approaches and the moral responsibility of nations, institutions, organizations and individuals. What we need to rebuild better, is to look within and find common ethical approaches to sustainability.
The Faith community provides the much-needed insights on the moral and spiritual responsibilities towards living in harmony with nature.
In a webinar hosted by the Green Hope Foundation on 28 April 2021, Dr. Iyad Abumoghli spoke about the global environment governance system, highlighting 5 challenges and what is needed to address them.
Two Items of Interest
The Ultimate Guide to Help Prevent Deforestation
This article by Rachel Brown, published by DIYGarden, explains the complexity of deforestation as well as actions to prevent and reverse it in an accessible language. She covers three main topics:
- What deforestation is
- Why deforestation is a major problem
- How we can prevent and reverse deforestation
To read the whole document, go here: https://diygarden.co.uk/wildlife/how-to-prevent-deforestation/
Human Activity Alters Earth’s Spin on its Axis
Article by Tim Radford, published in climate news network on April 29th, 2021
Human action has altered Earth’s spin on its axis. Climate change since 1990 has altered both the rate and the direction of the drift of the north and south poles.
Chinese researchers report in the journal Geophysical Research Letters that on the basis of their calculations, the dramatic melting of the Antarctic and Greenland ice caps and the Andean glaciers of South America has shifted the weight of the global water storage system and affected the planetary drift of the poles.
This glacial loss has been compounded by massive increases in the use of groundwater − most of the planet’s fresh water is in fact stored in subterranean aquifers − which have helped to accelerate the rate of change.
To read the whole article, go here: https://climatenewsnetwork.net/human-activity-alters-earths-spin-on-its…
Updated 15 May 2021