For nearly 20 years Peter Adriance has been building bridges as the National Spiritual Assembly’s non-governmental organization liaison for sustainable development.
On June 1 he built many more in receiving the aptly named 5th annual Bridge Builders Award from the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington.
It was, he said, a teachable moment. “In recent years there’s been an upsurge in recognition of the value that faith groups bring to discussions on the environment,” Adriance said in an interview.
“Science tells us what’s happening and what we should do about it. And the faiths tell us why we should act.”
That’s something Adriance has excelled at in his time as NGO liaison.
Between 1990 and 2000, he participated in consultations that resulted in the launch of the Earth Charter, a declaration of fundamental principles for building a just, sustainable, peaceful global society.
He also helped found — and continues to serve — the U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development, a collection of more than 300 organizations supporting the goals of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.
And he has been active in the International Environment Forum, a network of people in more than 50 countries who strive to apply Bahá’í teachings to environmental challenges.
Said the National Spiritual Assembly in a letter of congratulations to Adriance, “We are gratified to see your efforts garnering the recognition they so richly deserve — particularly from an enlightened organization that understands their roots in your longstanding affirmation of the Baháʹí Faith’s universal and unifying teachings.”
Prior to the awards ceremony at the Catholic University, Adriance participated in a roundtable discussion with three other awardees of Buddhist, Jewish and Christian affiliation. Each participant shared the fundamental values and scriptures that inspire the environmental ideals of his or her faith.
“It’s more powerful to work together,” Adriance said of interfaith work, noting that public receptivity to faith-based environmental solutions is on the rise. “The environment is not an isolated issue any more,” he said. “People have come to recognize the important ties between environmental, economic and social systems.”
Adriance sees sustainable development as a natural extension of the Bahá’í teachings and encourages Bahá’ís to “go green” as they implement increasing numbers of core activities.
To accomplish this, he said, Bahá’ís can hold devotional gatherings on themes related to the environment and social justice, incorporate recycling and reduced energy use into community functions, and prompt discussions or provide service opportunities that foster environmental awareness among children and junior youth.
“The Universal House of Justice encouraged such action more than 20 years ago in its (1989) Ridván message,” Adriance noted, “when it said that ‘assisting in endeavors to conserve the environment in ways which blend with the rhythm of life of our community must assume more importance in Bahá’í activities.’ “We should consider environmental stewardship as integral to our mandate to carry forward an ever-advancing civilization and apply environmental consciousness to all of our community initiatives.”
To learn more about a range of faith resources for sustainability (including Bahá’í) please visit www.uspartnership.org and click on the Faith Communities link.
Filed under: Baha'i, Core activities/Kernactiviteiten, Sustainable Development/Duurzame Ontwikkeling | Tagged: core activities, CSD-17, duurzame ontwikkeling, interfaith, interreligieus, kernactiviteiten, sustainable development | Leave a comment »