UN – more visists to come /VN – nog meer bezoek

Excited & anxious, wondering what I’ve got myself into. Why? Because the Baha’i International Community has been appointed as one of the 3 organising parties (OPs) of the Women Major Group for the current 2-year cycle of the Commission of Sustainable Development (CSD 18 & 19). And I’ll be doing a lot of the coordination required over these 2 years.

It hasn’t sunk in yet….  Maybe getting a BIC email address will do that, or the next conference call with the UN, or when I start waking up at night, thinking about all the things that need doing to tight deadlines. Who knows? At the moment I’m just amazed and grateful for the opportunity offered to serve the worldwide Baha’i community.

Service is prayer” the Baha’i Writings say – well, there will be plenty of that between now and May 2011.

And no, I don’t necessarily think I know an awful lot about mining, hazardous waste management, chemicals and their effects on health & environment, transport, and the 10-year framework on sustainable production & consumption (SPC). But that will change rapidly I’m sure. Now, the search is starting for Baha’is who work in these fields . So, if you are, drop me a line and we might end up seeing each other in New York in May!

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Wish I was in DC next week…

because the International Environment Forum is integrating its annual event into the annual conference of the Association for Bahá’í Studies – North America, and is co-organizing several plenary and breakout sessions. The International Environment Forum is a Bahá’í-inspired professional Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) whose members from the Bahá’í Faith and the wider community promote the application of spiritual and ethical principles to the challenges of the environment and sustainable development.

The teachings of the Bahá’í Faith shed light on the dialectical relationship between the human soul and its environment. As Shoghi Effendi explained, “We cannot segregate the human heart from the environment outside us and say that once one of these is reformed everything will be improved. Man is organic with the world. His inner life moulds the environment and is itself also deeply affected by it. The one acts upon the other and every abiding change in the life of man is the result of these mutual reactions.”1 The nature, quality, and condition of the environments we inhabit therefore have profound implications for human well-being. In this context, how can science and religion, as complementary systems of knowledge and practice, be applied more effectively to the preservation, refinement, and improvement of the myriad environments – natural, cultural, and built – within which we live and grow?

1 Cited in Conservation of the Earth’s Resources: A Compilation of Extracts from the Bahá’í Writings, prepared by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice, 1990.

I also wish I could be in Orlando in December for this: the 2009 Bahá’í Conference on Social and Economic Development (SED) in Orlando, Florida, which begins Saturday evening, December 19 and ends at noon on Tuesday, December 22. The theme for this year’s Conference is “Bahá’í-inspired Development and the Growth Process: Partners in Transforming Society”.

Meanwhile I just get stuck into grassroots work with ‘Sustainable Allendale’, a small group of people looking at what we’d like this village/valley to be like in 2030. Now, I like this kind of forward planning – reminds me of the Plans of our Universal House of Justice. And it’s amazing how easy it is to use Baha’i principles while consulting about sustainability issues. Can’t remember how often I’ve used the ‘we need unity of thought first before we can have unity of action’, but I think it’s starting to sink in with others 🙂

Ah, life is good, and sustainable development is such an inspiring topic!