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!

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One Response

  1. It was a great conference! Sorry you missed out.

    The talks by Arthur Lyon Dahl of the International Environment Forum were very inspiring. And if you are interested in being environmentally and socially responsible, please visit our website — http://www.fashionableearth.org

    Thanks!

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