Association for Bahá'í Studies - 2004 Conference
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
3-6 September 2004
Special Interest Group on Ecology and Agriculture
Fostering a Bahá'í Approach to Education for Sustainable Development
This workshop, facilitated by Peter Adriance, Tahirih Naylor, and John Steere, was held in cooperation with the Special Interest Group on Ecology and Agriculture at the ABS 2004 conference. It built on a series of sessions held during the 7th Annual Conference of the International Environment Forum (IEF), in Orlando in December 2003, and served as a springboard to a follow-up seminar jointly sponsored by the IEF and Educators for Social and Economic Development (EDSED) in Orlando in December 2004.
See the conference web site http://www.bahai-studies.ca/news/conferences/index.html for information on the ABS conferences.
Inspired by Bahá'u'lláh's vision for a prosperous and enduring world civilization, and motivated by His call to be anxiously concerned with the needs of this day, Bahá'ís worldwide are striving to apply the Bahá'í teachings to the ills facing humanity, in partnership with like-minded individuals and organizations. Since the 1992 Earth Summit, the term, "sustainable development" has been used to describe the process of addressing the world's challenges through integrative decision-making - considering fully, the environmental, economic and social dimensions of those challenges.
How do the Bahá'í teachings guide us toward creating a sustainable world civilization and how can we foster learning and action in support of sustainable development? The UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014) provides an excellent opportunity to engage with others in creatively addressing these questions. In anticipation of the UN Decade, the National Spiritual Assemblies of the U.S. and Canada set in motion an effort to raise awareness of the connections between the Bahá'í teachings and principles of sustainable development and to inspire actions accordingly. This workshop helped to generate ideas in support of that effort.
Using an interactive and participatory format, and incorporating the arts into the learning process, the workshop had three parts:
Part 1 (30 minutes) - "The Big Picture" - understanding the term 'sustainable development' and exploring why the UN has made 'education for sustainable development' a global priority. What kinds of actions are being inspired by the Decade, and what are some useful resources for learning more about it?
Part 2 (45 minutes) - "Connecting the Dots" - examining Bahá'í principles associated with each of the three "legs" of the sustainability "stool" - environmental, economic and social - and gaining a better understanding of their relationship.
Part 3 (75 minutes) - "Bringing it Home" - generating ideas for incorporating education for sustainable development into our communities' “core activities” (devotional gatherings, study circles, children's classes); parenting and family life; and the community-at-large.
Last updated 22 January 2006