International Environment Forum

WHAT IS THE IEF?

BACKGROUND  --  ABOUT IEF  --  WHAT DOES THE IEF DO?  --  ANNUAL CONFERENCES

The IEF is a Bahá'í-inspired organization addressing the environment and sustainability

Oneness of humankind

Unity in diversity

Fundamental reality of increasing levels of cooperation, complexity, and reciprocity throughout the planet

Moderation

Ecological balance of vital importance to all...


BACKGROUND

The problems of the human and planetary environment and the transition to sustainability are the major challenges of our time. While scientific knowledge is helping to define solutions, implementation is hindered by a lack of motivation and commitment, suggesting that the problems are as much social, cultural and spiritual as they are technical or scientific. Since environmental problems and development aspirations are both global and diverse in scope, so too must solutions be sought through exploration of the many approaches and rich experience of different communities, peoples, cultures and faiths. Also important is the exploration of the complementary roles played by the educational, scientific and value-oriented communities to support sustainable development.

The International Environment Forum, through its global membership and expertise, provides a platform for addressing this broad context of environment and sustainability. It offers its support to the international community of nations, which has both recognized the importance of the protection and wise management of the environment and encouraged the involvement of non-governmental organizations.

CORE VALUES

The preservation of the ecological balance of the world is of vital concern to all humanity, requiring action for the environment and sustainable development at all levels, from the local to the global, in harmony with the rhythm of life in communities.

Spiritual principles are relevant for the environment and sustainability. Some of these principles include:
   a) moderation in consumption and development to avoid the dangers of material civilization carried to excess,
   b) recognition of the oneness of humankind and the interrelatedness of all things, and
   c) the importance of unity in diversity and the fundamental reality of increasing levels of cooperation, complexity and reciprocity across all of creation.

Our inner life cannot be separated from the environment around us, requiring that we address issues of environment and sustainability at the level of fundamental ethical and moral values and principles.

THE INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENT FORUM

  

The IEF is a Bahá'í-inspired professional non-governmental organization founded in 1997 with more than 350 members in over 70 countries on five continents. The Forum is accredited by the United Nations in the science and technology major group, collaborating with the International Council for Science (ICSU) and participating in international conferences on sustainability (World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg 2002; Rio+20 2012) and on climate change (COP15 Copenhagen 2009; COP21 Paris 2015).

The IEF membership is largely composed of scientists, academics, experts and educators working in relevant fields. What then does it mean to be Bahá'í-inspired? The IEF draws on the ethical and spiritual principles of the world’s religions, in particular the Bahá'í Faith, as a complement to scientific knowledge in addressing the challenges of environmental management and sustainable development. A scientific understanding, by itself, is usually not sufficient to change human behaviour. Motivating change, either in individual lifestyles and consumption patterns, or collectively in communities, enterprises and government, requires a commitment to moral principles or values and some vision of social improvement that science, by itself, does not provide. It is this interface between ethics and science that the IEF addresses.

WHAT DOES THE IEF DO?

As a small virtual organization with no funds, the International Environment Forum (IEF) works largely through its international membership networked via the Internet, sharing their results on the IEF website, organizing annual conferences, and contributing to UN dialogues and international events.

The IEF's objectives and actions include the following:

Provide a forum for its members to deepen their understanding of the social, ethical and spiritual principles that relate to environmental responsibility and sustainable development and to explore the application of those principles in their work and activities;

Engage with individuals and other groups and apply members' collective knowledge for the benefit of society;

Share knowledge and experience through a monthly newsletter and through writing technical and academic papers and books;

Maintain a web site of relevant papers, conference reports, blogs and background resources; and

Promote environmental awareness and sustainability by, inter alia, developing educational materials through which children, youth and adults are empowered to contribute to practical action.

ANNUAL CONFERENCES

Annual conferences have been held around the world since 1997 on the following themes:

 Sustainable Consumption and the Earth Charter

 Practical Applications to Spiritual Principles: Baha'i Social and Economic Development and the Environment

 Applying the Baha'i Teachings to the Environmental Challenges Facing the World

 Knowledge, Values and Education for Sustainable Development

 Indicators for Sustainability, Value-based Education, Local Science, and Multiple Dimensions of Globalization

 To build the world anew: Fostering a Baha'i Approach to Education for Sustainable Development

 Cultivating Sustainable Lifestyles - An event in anticipation of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014)

 Education for Sustainable Development: The Spiritual Dimension

 Science, Faith and Global Warming: Arising to the Challenge

 Responding to Climate Change: Scientific Realities, Spiritual Imperatives

  Growth or Sustainability? Defining, Measuring and Achieving Prosperity

  Environments

  Making the Invisible Visible

  Ethical responses to climate change

  Rio+20

  Co-creating Sustainable Wealth: how can we combine ecology and economy?

  Scholarship and the Life of Society

  Preparing, Engaging, Responding and Learning about Responsible Lifestyles

  Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals as communities and individuals

  From Disintegration to Integration: navigating the forces of our time

Conference reports are available by clicking on the themes, and on the IEF website (here).


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