IEF 2nd Annual Conference

Submitted by admin on 25. August 2010 - 15:37
Dates
1998 November 6-8
Place
de Poort, The Netherlands

INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENT FORUM
SECOND ANNUAL CONFERENCE

PROCEEDINGS OF THE 2ND CONFERENCE OF THE INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENT FORUM
6-8 NOVEMBER 1998
DE POORT, THE NETHERLANDS


The conference opened on Friday afternoon, 6 November 1998 with devotions, followed by welcoming remarks by Dr. Arthur L. Dahl, President of the Governing Board of the International Environment Forum.

Altogether there were 16 conference participants in de Poort, from Australia, China, France, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and USA as well as from the host country the Netherlands. There were also 31 electronic participants from 18 countries on all continents who received regular reports by e-mail and in turn provided their inputs. It was wonderful to receive comments during the sessions from far off lands, including Bolivia, Canada, Mongolia and USA. Total participation was therefore 47 from 23 countries on all five continents and Oceania. The complete list of participants is given in Annex 1. The programme of the conference is given in Annex 2.

SUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION

The first theme of the conference was sustainable consumption. It was introduced by a keynote address on Friday afternoon on "Sustainable Consumption and True Prosperity" by Arthur Dahl, summarized in the paragraphs below. It was followed by discussion on the keynote theme.

Dr. Dahl described the achievement of sustainable consumption and true prosperity as one of the major environmental and social challenges of our time. Consumption refers to our use of wealth, materials, energy and services to meet our needs and desires. There is obviously a gradient in consumption, from the poverty of inadequate consumption to the abuses of over consumption. Why is consumption a problem? Our growing population, increasing per capita consumption, and developing technology are pushing us toward planetary limits, threatening the natural resource base and ecological systems. We also have serious social problems due to the unjust distribution of wealth and consumption, threatening social sustainability.

He called excessive consumption a moral illness. The need for conspicuous consumption to demonstrate wealth, power and superiority becomes an emotional trap. Consumption has also become a collective economic addiction. Growth is an absolute economic requirement, and any suggestion that growth might have a limit is unthinkable in economic circles. Consumption is related to extremes of wealth and poverty, the fact that some consume too much while others do not have enough. Global solidarity in this area is conspicuously lacking, and in many countries the extremes have widened over the last two decades. There is global competition for limited resources, with the wealthy outbidding the poor. Yet reducing excessive consumption does not necessarily have to mean a reduction in the standard of living, if there is greater efficiency in resource use.

Sustainable consumption refers to the need to stay within the limits of the global sustainability of resources. It includes the concept of equitable sharing within and between generations. Where is the borderline between "not enough" and "too much"? Wealth is commendable provided the entire population is wealthy. Consumption is both an individual issue of what and how much a person consumes, and a collective issue of the sum total of consumption not exceeding sustainable limits.

True prosperity may have little relation to consumption, since it has important cultural dimensions, and can be either individual, or collectively for a community. It is worth reexamining the ethical basis for the "consumer society". Is prosperity material or spiritual, or some combination of both? What brings real happiness? Each individual faces the challenge of defining true prosperity as it relates to his or her purpose in life. This can involve the application of spiritual principles such as moderation, the harmony of the material and spiritual, detachment and contentment with little, the spiritual significance of poverty and wealth, voluntary sharing, the just redistribution of wealth in the community, and the equitable distribution of the world's resources.

In conclusion, Dr. Dahl reviewed some of the challenges of building a future global society in which sustainable consumption leads to true prosperity. On Saturday morning, invited participants from some non-governmental organizations in the Netherlands specialized in issues of sustainable consumption joined the conference. A summary of Friday's presentation and consultation on Sustainable Consumption and True Prosperity provided the introduction to two major theme presentations.

The first lecture was on "The Ecological Footprint" by Mr. Jan Juffermans, from De Kleine Aarde (The Small Earth), an educational organization working on ecological sustainable consumption, food, agriculture, etc. which maintains a Centre for a Sustainable World in the Netherlands.

He described the "Ecological Footprint" as a measure of the land area necessary to sustain the current levels of resource consumption and waste discharge by a person, community or country. It includes the land that provides fossil energy, the land consumed by the built environment, farm land for food, and forest production. In 1900 there were 5.6 hectares of ecologically-productive land available to meet the needs of each person on the planet, but now there is less than 1.5 ha available per person, out of which only 0.25 ha is arable land. However the people in rich countries today use 3.5 ha of land equivalents, so that it would take 3 planets like Earth for everyone to live like today's North Americans. Flat earth economists think that the earth will grow with the growing economy, but we need to have round earth economists who recognize that the planet is a closed system except for solar energy. The Fair Earth Share today is 1.7 ha or 17,000 m2 per person. This includes 1.5 ha of soil plus 0.5 ha of water minus 0.3 ha for biodiversity, for a total of 1.7 ha as a fair earth share at the moment with the present population. We have to reserve some space for biodiversity conservation, which explains why we withdraw 0.3 hectares for that.

Most countries are overusing their space, but there is room, and the need to respect the right to growth for developing countries. The present global average usage is 2.3 ha per person for the world. We are using the capital and not just the interest of the world's resources. Resources for the developing countries can only be released by being more efficient and consuming less in the rich countries. Mr. Juffermans described a pilot project calculating the ecological footprints of various cities and towns.

In the discussion, a number of points were raised. People living in cities can actually have smaller footprints, as they can take lessliving space and can share services, etc. However they are dependent on others for sustainability. It is a real challenge for people living in cities to see how can they live sustainably without moving to the country side and have their own garden and solar panels. We may be able to redesign densely populated areas with models from nature, such as coral reefs that expand their structure to maximize the surface that is exposed to the sun. We could adapt the models of organic agriculture from the Kleine Erde and use them in the cities, developing urban agriculture and using all the available spaces. The prices are a key issue. Is the footprint a measure of consumption or production? We have a gross and net footprint, because we are also responsible for the flows of materials we produce to earn money from. Since we have to avoid double calculation, the footprint is based on consumption per capita.

The discussion was followed in the afternoon by a workshop on ecological footprints led by Mr. Juffermans. Everyone was challenged to calculate how to reduce their footprint. Some of the results were as follows.

To reduce your footprint there are priorities, which are different for every culture and country. Each participant was asked to put on paper 7 priorities for his or her personal footprint reduction. Jan Juffermans reviewed the list of priorities made in The Netherlands, to see how it compared with those of the participants from many different countries. The workshop came up with the following priorities for reducing our footprints:

1. Reduce car use (this is a big issue in all countries, since car production itself already has a big footprint, but of course all depends on how many people use it).

2. Flying in aircraft (new types of airships using solar energy are about to be built in Holland, Germany, and Russia for transport).

3. Other means of transport like buses, trains and trams? These depend on the fuel used and the dangerous gasses produced, but also on how many people are using them. The tram would be a better alternative.

4. Newspapers and the wood used for paper. In Holland wood is more an issue than newspaper, but there is still overuse. In China they go with a book on the toilet and use each page immediately after they have read it. Recycling of paper is increasing, but the ink is a problem. Plant-based inks are being developed that are much healthier.

5. Food: use less of products made far away. Meat has the biggest footprint. It takes 5 times as much space in the Netherlands and 8 times in the USA to raise the animal feed to produce the meat. The Kleine Aarde recommends a specific menu, using a) organic products, b) mainly vegetables, c) from the region, d) from the season, e) with optimal use of products, f) no chemicals additives, g) simply and suitably packed, h) friendly to animals, i) no radiation treatment (food is irradiated to keep it good longer for transport), j) no patents on animals and plants.

6. Freshwater use for purposes like flushing toilets, baths, washing cars? Juffermans said that water does not have much impact on the footprint except water used for fishing. Of course water itself is an important issue. Bottled water does use a lot of transport and packaging.

7. Heating houses.

8. Consumer goods, especially electronic equipment.

9. Juffermans added alcohol and tobacco. Beer has a big footprint for the grain and the energy for boiling it. Tobacco does also as it is dried by burning wood, besides causing health problems.

The Dutch priorities for reductions are:
1. Use of electricity at home
2. Household heating
3. Driving by car
4. Travelling by plane
5. Indirect use of energy (hidden energy = 60% of all energy we use)
6. Eating meat
7. Newspapers and other information on paper

The second lecture on Saturday "Financial Micro Initiatives and Sustainable Consumption" was given by Mr. Mark van de Valk, from Aktie Strohalm, an NGO that works with supplementary economic systems that can be used for sustainable consumption.

He explained Financial Micro Initiatives (FMIs) as follows: financial = money and / or its functions; micro = de-linking and down scaling; initiatives = empowerment.

They are a way to meet local needs using local resources. They should be an initiative from people instead of governments. They are essential for sustainable development, because they make optimal use of the financial and human resources instead of being totally dependent of the world market. The financial markets are 30 times bigger than the real market. Much of this is from speculation that we should get rid of.

The functions of money are as a unit of calculation, a medium of exchange, and a store of value. Interest is a money drain from poor to rich. FMIs should prevent "leakage" from communities. They are based on mutuality, equality, and co-operation. Apart from economic development, they develop a community feeling and behavior.

A classification of FMIs would include exchange systems such as local exchange and trading systems (LETS), savings and credit systems like JAK interest free banking, and others such as the Seikatsu Club Consumers' Co-op. More information is available on the web at http://www.transaction.net/money.

Mr. van de Valk also led a workshop on local production and consumption, requesting participants to talk about FMI systems that they may know or have worked with. He first explained various exchange systems, such as mutual credit clearing systems. In a local exchange and trading system (LETS), person one does typing worth 100 units for person two. The account of person two is debited 100 units, and that of person one is credited 100 units. A clearing house just administers the transactions; no money changes hands. The LETS may be a small group of people who know each other well, but there are experiments with larger populations and businesses. They create their own money together and share credit.

The discussion brought out a number of comments and questions. In Kazakstan, there are severe social problems, and the mafia may take all the money in the community. Barter systems in which no money is exchanged are safe from the mafia. However there are also dangers such as the pyramid and confidence schemes in Ghana and Albania which appeared to make a lot, but then the keepers of the clearing house disappeared with the money. The Dutch did a workshop in Egypt where that mentioned using hours as units of money, but this made no sense in the local culture because people have lots of time, so how can it be used as a unit of trade? The question was asked if these systems are always with in the bounds of the tax laws in the country. The reply was that they are usually not competing with commercial markets. They are very small scale community systems, not national or international. If you make your entire living with LETS units, then you should pay taxes. But with most systems that are functioning, the LETS unit exchange is only a small part of peoples' businesses. It depends on the legal systems in each country. Another question concerned working with the government to set up a legal framework for this type of organization. Mr. Valk suggested it would be best to prove first that it is good for the community before negotiating with the government, at least in the Dutch scenario. He agreed it would be different in each locality for each situation. This system gets people thinking about what they have to offer others that they can exchange points for. The things that are traded are mostly home-made things and services. One result is a better understanding of the value of services. Of course there are problematic people, those who always take and give nothing in return, and those who only give but never ask for others' services. In all systems it is important that the units are backed by something and that circulation continues. These systems are only complementary to the current economic systems. They help improve accessibility of certain services and goods to those who may not have been able to afford them before, through an exchange of services.

Savings and credit systems are another approach. These include micro credit, ethical banking, interest free banking, credit unions, rotating savings & credit associations, and accumulating savings & credit associations. They can handle larger systems and businesses, and can be international. There are also systems that use unconventional currency, such as regenerating funds using animals or seeds, and systems for environmental points.

VALUES FOR THE EARTH AND THE EARTH CHARTER

The second theme of the conference revolved around the latest draft of the Earth Charter being prepared by non-governmental organizations to express the basic values and principles necessary to protect the Earth. It was introduced by an overview of the Earth Charter process and Baha'i involvement in it, based on a paper prepared by Mr. Peter Adriance and presented by Ms. Sylvia Karlsson. Most of the time was spent on a review of the Earth Charter Benchmark draft and a new interim draft, with a focus on the identification of Baha'i principles included in it or missing.

The participants were divided into three working groups, two in English and one in French, to prepare detailed comments on the draft text. These comments were then shared with the whole group and discussed. Two working group sessions on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning allowed the assembly of extensive notes and comments, supplemented by some valuable contributions from e-mail participants in Bolivia, Canada and Mongolia, as well as from Mr. Adriance in the USA who could not be present in person.

After the Conference, Mr. Adriance compiled and edited all the comments into a coherent summary of the major points, and submitted it to the Earth Charter Drafting Committee. The summary is given below as Annex 3.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENT FORUM

The 2nd General Assembly of the International Environment Forum was held on Saturday evening, with presentation of the Annual Report from the Governing Board, election of the Governing Board for the next year, and consultation on activities and action plans for coming year. The results of the General Assembly are recorded in a separate report.

OTHER ACTIVITIES

Some time was allotted to the presentation of contributed papers from participants. Mr. Maxwell A. Ayamba, a Ghanaian journalist presently in England, gave a paper on the topic "With Emerging Ecological Issues - Are Human Rights Exclusive in Today's World as We Approach the Millenium?"

On Friday evening, participants shared their experiences from around the world. Arthur Dahl described a recent international seminar in Milan on "Globalization: a challenge for peace - solidarity or exclusion?" where high level participants related religion, economics, environment and the responsibilities of the international organizations. He also described other opportunities to apply Baha'i principles to environmental issues. Lloyd Brown shared his slides of work on Environmental Education in Yunnan, China.

There was also general discussion on the Forum and its activities. Some of the points raised included:

The social enterprise activities being developed in China, with workshops, etc, need practical strategies. Ideas that are identified in the Forum can be introduced into those activities. The Forum can take advantage of these opportunities to apply its thinking to practical strategies.

It was proposed to create environmental materials equivalent to the Ruhi materials. This is a format and model of a product which has demonstrated its ability to be used and applied on a wide scale. The Forum should perhaps, during the year, identify modules for this. There was some discussion of the structures needed to do this, such as committee or a group networking to make that particular product. It is necessary to move this ahead in a practical sense.

A core group was needed to develop the concept. It was proposed that this group could work with the Badi Foundation in Macau. A youth could be recruited for a year of service in Macau, who could spend full time on the materials, collect everything and coordinating the work. The others in the group would be thinking and preparing. It would be very appealing for some one who wished to start studies in the environment field to perform that service. Some members offered to help compile materials, or to supply existing training materials on rural environmental management. There are already a few pages on agriculture in the training materials in China, and other materials that may exist on sustainable agriculture and rural development.

The Forum has a list of wonderful professionals in various areas. They can be divided into themes, and asked personally to assist with these projects. If only a general request is made, no one will answer. A committee could conceptualize what is needed, and then ask specific tasks from groups. The Forum could have special interest groups, including one on developing institute materials. People should not be excluded just because they are not specialists in some are. Interest groups should not isolate people.

CLOSING KEYNOTE

The closing session of the conference featured a keynote lecture on "Managing the global commons - applying the oneness of humanity" by Ms. Sylvia Karlsson.

She described environmental issues, and the degeneration of the global commons in particular, as one of areas where the need for the adoption of a wider loyalty to the whole of humankind is most obvious. She therefore used the global commons, and the emerging view of the global commons as a common heritage, to explore the applications of the principle of the oneness of mankind and the implications for possible management strategies. The global commons pose unique challenges to the international community since they are in dire need of more governance at the global level.

She showed that much can be learnt about the nature of such global governance, and requirements to achieve it, from the study of local common property resource management. Theories have been developed for creating successful management regimes of local common property resources. Since the present open access leads to unacceptable over-exploitation, and extending national sovereignty is not practical, some form of global level communal property regime is the only presently acceptable alternative, pending the eventual establishment of a world government as anticipated in the Baha'i writings. Successful communal property regimes are based on cooperative rather than competitive attitudes, although they need some level of mutual coercion such as monitoring and graduated sanctions. At the global level, this will require a formal organization, such as the United Nations. The Baha'is have called for global cooperation of the family of nations in devising and adopting measures designed to preserve the ecological balance this earth in the best interests of all humankind.

She listed four necessary characteristics of cooperative action: a common understanding of the problem, and of alternatives for coordination, common perceptions that decision-making costs do not exceed benefits, and mutual trust and reciprocity. At the global level, some progress in this direction has been made through Agenda 21, various international summits, and many activities of non-governmental organizations, demonstrating the gathering momentum of an emerging unity of thought in world undertakings. But clearly, common understanding in the four areas mentioned above at the international level is not yet deep enough to lead to a substantial switch from independent to coordinated action. States need to perceive protection of the global commons as being in their own interest. This can be achieved either by expanding the concept of security, or by expanding the area of responsibility of states. She concluded that coordinated management of global resources is impossible with out striving to enlarge the area of responsibility for states, and this will only happen with the widespread adoption of the principle of the oneness of humanity.

After expressions of appreciation to all those who had helped to make the conference a success, the 2nd Conference of the International Environment Forum was closed on Sunday afternoon with devotions.

 


Annex 1

PARTICIPANTS IN THE 2ND INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF THE ENVIRONMENT FORUM
6-8 November, 1998, DE POORT, THE NETHERLANDS

ON SITE

NAME: Martino Alvaro
ADDRESS: 4 Stagnu No 23, 20230 Borgo
COUNTRY: France
TELEPHONE: +33-495304072

NAME: Maxwell A. Ayamba.
ADDRESS: 65A Thirlwell Road, Sheffield, S89TF
COUNTRY: England
TELEPHONE: +44-1142555035
E-MAIL: Maxwell.Ayamba-Apaladaga@student.shu.ac.uk

NAME: Lloyd D. S. Brown
ADDRESS: 47 Wen lin jie, Apt. 101, Kunming, Yunnan, 650031
COUNTRY: PR China
TELEPHONE: +86-871-5351315
FAX: same
E-MAIL: enviroed@elephant.istiy.yn.cn

NAME: Arthur Dahl
ADDRESS: 11, Chemin de Anemones, 1219 Chatelaine
COUNTRY: Switzerland
TELEPHONE: +41 22 917 8207
FAX: +41 22 797 3471
E-MAIL: dahla@unep.ch

NAME: Wessel Jansen
ADDRESS: Droevendaalsesbeeg 55
COUNTRY: The Netherlands
TELEPHONE: ?317-418001
E-MAIL: wessel.jansen@97.student.wau.nl

NAME: Jan Juffermans
ADDRESS: De Kleine Aarde, Het Klaverblad 1, 5283 TV BOXTEL
COUNTRY: The Netherlands

NAME: Sylvia Karlsson
ADDRESS: Arrendegatan 65, S-58331 Linkoping
COUNTRY: Sweden
TELEPHONE: +46-13-211106
FAX: +46-13-211106
E-MAIL: sylka@tema.liu.se

NAME: Wander de Laat
ADDRESS: Uilenstede 193, 1183 AD, Amsterdam
COUNTRY: The Netherlands
TELEPHONE: +31-20-6431590
E-MAIL: wander@bio.vu.nl

NAME: Molly McMackin
ADDRESS: PO Box 155, Haifa, 31001
COUNTRY: Israel
TELEPHONE: +927 4 835 8358
FAX: +927 4 835 8591
E-MAIL: mollym@bwc.org

NAME: Laurent Mesbah
ADDRESS: Oosrelijk Halfrond 113, 1183 EP Amstelveen
COUNTRY: The Netherlands
TELEPHONE:-
E-MAIL:lamesbah@bio.vu.nl

NAME: Jean Marie Moutoir
ADDRESS: 21 Cite de La Foret, 62820 Libercourt
COUNTRY: France

NAME: Nuri Nyazi
ADDRESS: Cambridge North Hall, 41 Cavendish Street, Manchester M15 6TT
COUNTRY: United Kingdom
E-MAIL: 98319590@mmu.ac.uk

NAME: Eckart Peitzmeier
ADDRESS: Vossendijk 87, 6534 Nijmegen
COUNTRY: The Netherlands

NAME: Marjorie Barbara Schreuder
ADDRESS: Post-box 6062, 5600 MB Eindhoven
COUNTRY: The Netherlands
TELEPHONE: +31 40 2961966
E-MAIL: wise@worldonline.nl

NAME: Naeim Yousefpour
ADDRESS: After 30 November: c/o NSA of Germany
E-MAIL: n-yousefpour@hotmail.com

NAME: Marc van der Valk
ADDRESS: Aktie Strohalm, Oude Gracht 42, 3511 AR UTRECHT
COUNTRY: The Netherlands

ON-LINE

NAME: Peter Adriance
ADDRESS: 339 James Street, Falls Church, VA 22046
COUNTRY: USA
TELEPHONE: +1-703-241-7015 (home); +1-202-833-8990 (work)
FAX: +1-202-833-8988 (work)
E-MAIL: padriance@usbnc.org

NAME: Austin Bowden-Kerby
ADDRESS: c/o P.O. Box 639
COUNTRY: Suva, Fiji Islands
TELEPHONE:-
E-MAIL: coral_reef_unltd@hotmail.com

NAME: Charles Boyle
ADDRESS:4 Urara street, Vincent, Townsville QLD4814
COUNTRY: Australia
TELEPHONE: +61 747 755 975
FAX: +61 747 755 975
E-MAIL: charles.boyle@jcu.edu.au

NAME: David Butler Perry
E-MAIL: dbp@pop.mindspring.com

NAME: Cecil E Cook
ADDRESS: PO Box 778, Stutterheim 4930
COUNTRY: South Africa
TELEPHONE: +27-43-683-1616; 27-82-200-4749
FAX: +27-43-683-1982
E-MAIL: cstcook@iafrica.com

NAME: Daniel DeJoode
E-MAIL: danield@umich.edu

NAME: Dr. Farimarz Ettehadieh
ADDRESS: Imperial GmbH, Geschaftsfuhrung, A-4020 Linz, Hafferlstr. 7
COUNTRY: Austria
TEL: +43-732-7660112
FAX: +43-732-776507
E-MAIL: ettehadieh@imperial.co.at

NAME: Richard W. Fisher
ADDRESS: AMER EMBASSY/USAID/BOLIVIA UNIT 3914 APO AA 34032 USA
COUNTRY: Bolivia
TELEPHONE: +591-4233992
FAX: +591-4233124
E-MAIL: rfisher@bo.net

NAME: Minu Hemmati
COUNTRY: United Kingdom
E-MAIL: Minush@aol.com

NAME: Lorraine Hetu
ADDRESS: Van Becelaere 28a/47, 1170 Brussels
COUNTRY: Belgium
TEL: +32 2 6602191
E-MAIL: LHetu@village.uunet.be

NAME: Muriel Holz
COUNTRY: Canada
E-MAIL: sumakhol@aol.com

NAME: Nigel Jollands
COUNTRY: New Zeeland
E-MAIL: nigelj@clear.net.nz

NAME: Chris Jones
COUNTRY: Australia
E-MAIL: cjones@mail.usyd.edu.au

NAME: Janne Mikael Karimaki
ADDRESS: Terijoentie 17 b, FIN-02130 Espoo
COUNTRY: Finland
TELEPHONE: +358 9 455 6030
E-MAIL: janne.karimaki@hut.fi

NAME: Jean Pierre Laperches
ADDRESS: Grand Sarts 8, 4121 Neuville-en-Condroz (Neupre)
COUNTRY: Belgium
TEL: +32 4 3720103
FAX: same
E-MAIL: jp.laperches@skynet.be

NAME: Alan Michaels
COUNTRY: Japan
E-MAIL: alanmic@aol.com

NAME: Paul Maloney
ADDRESS: 2040 Parkfield, Dorval, Quebec, H9P 1T9
COUNTRY: Canada
TELEPHONE: +1-514-422-8243, business: 422-8457
FAX: +1-514-422-8243 call first
E-MAIL: bionatur@pubnix.net

NAME: Keith A. Metzner
ADDRESS: University of North Carolina - Asheville, Environmental Studies, 224 Robinson Hall, CPO #2330, One University Heights, Asheville, NC USA 28804-8511
COUNTRY: U.S.A.
TELEPHONE: Office Voicemail +1-828-232-5186
FAX:+1-828-251-6041 Note: Please attach a coversheet with full name AND Environmental Studies RBH 224
E-MAIL: keithm@new-era.com

NAME: Ramin Miraftabi
ADDRESS: Kalevankatu 2b B16, 80110 Joensuu
COUNTRY: Finland
TELEPHONE: +358-50-595 7467
E-MAIL: ramin@cs.joensuu.fi

NAME: Tahereh Nadarajah (Djafari)
ADDRESS: c/o Mongol Bank, 10 Commerce, St. Ulaanbaatar 13
COUNTRY: Mongolia
TELEPHONE: +9761-324 829
E-MAIL: nadarajah@magicnet.mn.

NAME: Paul Ojermark
ADDRESS: P.O. Box 24/37 International Post Office, Hanoi
COUNTRY: Vietnam
TELEPHONE: +84-4-8236404
FAX: Same as phone
E-MAIL: ojermark@hn.vnn.vn

NAME: Jan Quik
ADDRESS: P.O.Box 9032; Paramaribo
COUNTRY: Suriname
TELEPHONE: +597-438521
FAX: +597-438521
E-MAIL: quik@sr.net

NAME: Terry Randolph
COUNTRY: Philippines
E-MAIL: dawns@kawing.pal-onl.com

NAME: Hamid Rastegar
ADDRESS: 29556 Fountainwood St., Agoura Hills, CA, 91301
COUNTRY: USA
TELEPHONE: +1-818-991-3512
FAX: +1-818-991-9253
E-MAIL: hrasunity@aol.com

NAME: Suhayl Rawhani
E-MAIL: suhaylr@bwc.org

NAME: Melinda Salazar
ADDRESS: 42 Oyster River Road, Durham, New Hampshire
COUNTRY: USA
TELEPHONE: +1-603-868-5131
FAX:+1-603-868-5140 (phone ahead)
E-MAIL: msalazar@hopper.unh.edu

NAME: Richard Scott Sherwood
ADDRESS: Uherska 621, Praha 9 - Vinor, 190 17
COUNTRY: Czech Republic
TELEPHONE: +420 2 850 1081 hm Work: +420 2 496 625
FAX: +420 2 472 4750
E-MAIL: sherwood@ms.anet.cz

NAME: Faezeh Seddigh
COUNTRY: Norway
E-MAIL: faezeh@online.no

NAME: Trudi Seri Samuel
COUNTRY: Canada
E-MAIL: Trudy.SeriSamuel@ec.gc.ca

NAME: Ron Tingook
ADDRESS: 346 Kauila Street apt. 301, Hilo, HI 96720
COUNTRY: USA
TELEPHONE: +1-808-935-4007
E-MAIL: tingook@hawaii.edu

NAME: Chris Wates
COUNTRY: Australia
E-MAIL: cwates@apollo.ruralnet.net.au

 


Annex 2

PROGRAMME

Programme for the 2nd International Conference of the International Environment Forum,
6-8 November, 1998, De Poort, The Netherlands

6 November

15.00-15.30 Registration
15.30-16.00 Coffee and Tea
16.00-16.15 Devotions

16.15-16.30 Welcome and opening remarks
Dr. Arthur L. Dahl, President of the International Environment Forum

16.30-18.00 Keynote: Sustainable Consumption and True Prosperity
Dr. Arthur L. Dahl
Discussion

18.00-19.00 Dinner

19.00-20.30 Sharing of experiences around the world
International consultation on globalization (Dr. Arthur L. Dahl)
Environmental Education in Yunnan, China (Mr. Lloyd Brown)

20.30- Social get-together

7 November

8.00-9.00 Breakfast

9.00-9.15 Summary of Friday's presentation and consultation
Sustainable Consumption and True Prosperity
Dr. Arthur L. Dahl

9.15-10.00 Values for the Earth and the Earth Charter.
An overview of the Earth Charter process and Baha'i involvement in it. A review of the Earth Charter Benchmark draft and new interim draft with a focus on identification of Baha'i principles selected in it or missing. Mr. Peter Adriance, via email, presented by Ms. Sylvia Karlsson

10.00-10.30 The Ecological Footprint
Mr. Jan Juffermans, from De Kleine Aarde (The Small Earth), an educational organization working on ecological sustainable consumption, food, agriculture, etc.

10.30-10.45 Discussion

10.45-11.30 Workshop on ecological footprints.

11.45-12.00 Break

12.00-12.30 Financial Micro Initiatives and Sustainable Consumption
Mr. Mark van de Valk, fron Aktie Strohalm an NGO that works with supplementary economic systems that can be used for sustainable consumption.

12.30-13.30 Lunch

13.30-15.00 Workshop on local production-consumption

15.00-15.15 Break

15.15-17.45 The Earth Charter text, consultation in groups.

18.00-19.00 Dinner

19.30-20.30 The International Environment Forum's 2nd General Assembly
Annual report
Consultation
Election of the Board
Consultation on name, activities and action plan for coming year
Results of the election

20.30- Social evening

8 November

8.00-9.00 Breakfast
9.00-9.15 Devotions

9.15-10.30 The Earth Charter text, consultation in groups

10.30-10.45 Break

10.45-12.00 The Earth Charter text. Presentation of group results and electronic comments. Conclusions to be forwarded to the Earth Charter Drafting Committee.

12.00-12.30 Presentation of contributed papers from participants:
Mr. Maxwell Ayamba

12.30-13.30 Lunch

13.30-14.30 Closing key note
Managing the global commons-applying the oneness of humanity
Ms. Sylvia Karlsson
Discussion

14.30-15.00 Closure of the conference, devotions.

 


Annex 3

COMMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
ON THE 10/14 WORKING DRAFT OF THE EARTH CHARTER
from the 2nd Annual Conference of the International Environment Forum
de Poort, Netherlands, November 6-8, 1998

Introduction

The following comments and suggestions are derived from consultations at the 2nd Annual Conference of the International Environment Forum which took place in the Netherlands and on the Internet November 6-8, 1998. The International Environment Forum is a Baha'i-inspired organization of individuals with an interest in the environment and Baha'i teachings. The conference attracted participants from more than 30 countries and 6 continents; 17 actually met in the Netherlands joined by some 30 others via the Internet.

The Earth Charter was one of two substantive topics of the conference, and particular emphasis was given to developing comments on the Working Draft of October 14, 1998. The comments and recommendations below do not necessarily represent the position of a Baha'i institution, rather they reflect the views and thoughts of the conference participants.

General Comments

- The working draft is a significant improvement over Benchmark Draft I.

- From a Baha'i perspective, probably the most important paragraph is the first in the preamble. Its predominant theme of the oneness of humanity is central to the Baha'i teachings. The theme is most clearly reflected in the phrase, "we are one humanity and one Earth community with a common future." Placement of this theme in the first paragraph (vs. the 4th paragraph of the Benchmark Draft) strengthens the document. The oneness theme is also reflected in the phrasing, "èwe, the people of Earth," Other important sub-themes in the paragraph include our "magnificent diversity", and "our interdependence with and responsibilities to each other and the larger community of life".

- Some other themes reflected in the document and considered essential from a Baha'i perspective include: justice and equity; humility; the importance of human rights; fostering a sense of community; equality of women and men; and the importance of a spiritual perspective in fostering sustainable development.

- While compassion and peace are mentioned, the document makes no mention of love as a virtue central to sustainability. Reference to the importance of love would strengthen the document. A possible way to include it is suggested in paragraph 4 of the Preamble (see below).

- Other areas needing more attention include the fundamental importance of agriculture in sustainable development and the crucial role of education in shaping our common future.

- Some felt that the idealism of the Charter, while important, may work against it. They felt the Charter, to gain wide acceptance, must somehow strike a better balance between the pragmatic and the ideal.

- The Earth Charter process - encouraging consultation and the independent investigation of reality in a search for truth - is as important as the product itself.

Specific Recommendations

NOTE: All edits are preceded by the corresponding number for the principle or paragraph to which they refer. Deletions, additions and comments are indicated as follows:
[Brackets] = delete
ALL CAPITAL LETTERS = add
{curly brackets} = supporting comments for recommended changes

Preamble para. 2, sentence 2: "With reverence for the [sources] SOURCE of our being" {"Source" should be singular both from a spiritual and a scientific standpoint. The plural form is not used in most religious contexts. Capitalizing it would be even better! "Source of our being".}

Preamble para. 3, after last sentence add: "WE MUST LEARN TO EXERCISE GREATER WISDOM IN THE APPLICATION OF KNOWLEDGE."

Preamble para. 4, insert new 3rd sentence: "Our priorities must be redefined, building on the work that has already begun. LOVE AND COMPASSION MUST COME TO ANIMATE HOW WE THINK, FEEL AND ACT. We resolve to find new" {Introduces love as an essential quality of a sustainable society.}

Preamble para. 5, sentence 1: "The securing of human rights for all men and women, YOUTH AND CHILDREN is the foundation of freedom and justice"

1a): "intrinsic value of all [beings] LIFE FORMS."

1b): "faith in the inherent dignity AND GOODNESS of all human beings and in the LIMITLESS human potential."

2a): "promoting the [well-being] HEALTH of the [planet] BIOSPHERE"

2b): "[Let] EMPOWER/ENCOURAGE each individual, group and nation TO embrace those distinct responsibilities that are [rightfully] DUTIFULLY theirs" {Choose from alternate suggested wording: "empower" or "encourage". Responsibilities are rarely looked upon as a right but a duty, thus the suggestion of the word "dutifully".}

3: "Create a [global partnership and] COLLECTIVE AGREEMENT TO secure justice, peace, and Earth's abundanceè" {"global partnership" is too amorphous. Needs more teeth.}

3a): "so that the Earth community as a whole is able to [meet its basic needs] ACHIEVE A RATIONAL BALANCE BETWEEN THE NEEDS OF HUMAN POPULATIONS AND THE ECOSYSTEMS UPON WHICH THEY DEPEND." {More specific}

3b): "[Be mindful] RECOGNIZE that increased knowledge responsibilities."

4: "restore the [integrity] HEALTH, BEAUTY, DIVERSITY, PERMANENCE AND PRODUCTIVITY of Earth's ecological systems." {More specific}

4d): "including wilderness areas, and other [management systems] SPECIAL AND SENSITIVE LANDSCAPES to protect" {"systems" is used frequently throughout text}

5: "Prevent harm to the [environment] ECOSPHERE/BIOSPHERE AND TO COMPONENT ECOSYSTEMS" {Choose from alternate suggested wording. More specific term than "environment"}

5a): "[Stop] CURTAIL activities that [involve] POSE a threat even when scientific information ON THE IMPACT OF THOSE ACTIVITIES is incomplete or inconclusive."

5c): "they are not a substitute for LONG TERM PLANNING AND prevention WHICH WILL REDUCE THE NEED TO REMEDY PAST MUSUSES OR ABUSES.

6: "defend the right of all persons to [an environment] A HABITAT supportive of their dignity, bodily health, and EMOTIONAL AND spiritual well-being."

6b): "Promote gender [equality together with], racial, religious AND ethnic EQUALITY and socioeconomic [equality] EQUITY as a prerequisite to environmental justice" {Socioeconomic "equality" is not attainable nor would it be desirable, but socioeconomic "equity" is both.}

8: "Ensure that [economic goals] SOCIO-ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES and the means of attaining them"

8a): ["Eradicate poverty by means of sustainable development."] "ENCOURAGE COMMUNITY-BASED PROCESSES OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT THAT PROVIDE PRODUCTIVE AND MEANINGFUL EMPLOYMENT IN BOTH RURAL AND URBAN SETTINGS, AND CULTIVATE A SENSE OF SERVICE." {This is rough, but the original wording, "by means of sustainable development," seems so general as to have little meaning.}

8b): ["Seek to make just for all."] "PROMOTE FAIRNESS AND JUSTICE IN ACCESS TO EDUCATION, WORK AND LAND/RESOURCES. SUCH ACCESS SUPPORTS INDIVIDUAL INITIATIVE IN SECURING A LIVELIHOOD AND PREVENTING POVERTY."

8c): ["Reduce unnecessary distribution of wealth."] "PROMOTE LIFESTYLES/ETHICS OF MODERATION AND VOLUNTARY SIMPLICITY AS AN ANTIDOTE TO OVERCONSUMPTION/CONSUMERISM AND A MEANS FOR THE VOLUNTARY, EQUITABLE SHARING OF WEALTH." {Choose from alternate suggested wording.}

8c) {Alternate}: ["Reduce unnecessary distribution of wealth."] "ENCOURAGE MODERATION IN CONSUMPTION, AND PROMOTE THE EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH."

9a): "Recognize and encourage the contribution of the artistic [imagination] INSPIRATION and the humanities as well as the sciences in [environmental education] THE ACTIVATION OF AN ECOLOGICAL CONSCIOUSNESS and THE FOSTERING OF sustainable development."

9b): "Empower men, [and] women, YOUTH AND CHILDREN at the local level through education, LEADERSHIP TRAINING, AND SUPPORT OF INDIVIDUAL AND COMMUNITY EFFORTS TO PARTICIPATE IN ACHIEVING GLOBAL GOALS.

9c): {New} "FOSTER THE VALUES OF RESPONSIBILITY TO EARTH AND ALL OF HUMANITY IN ALL EDUCATIONAL EFFORTS IN HOMES, SCHOOLS, WORKPLACES AND THROUGH THE MEDIA."

10b): "Assure freedom of association and the right to [dissent] FREE AND OPEN PARTICIPATION IN DECISION MAKING on matters of environmental and social policy." {More positive. Goes beyond dissent - assumes the free exchange of all ideas in working toward solutions.}

11a): "integrated strategies to prevent [violent] conflict." {The use of the adjective implies the legitimacy of conflict that is not violent.}

13a): {new} "PROVIDE THE PRIMARY CUSTODIANS OF THE LANDS AND WATERS (FARMERS, RANCHERS, FISHERS, ETC.) WITH ECONOMIC AND INSITUTIONAL SUPPORT TO DEVELOP SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES."

16a): "Help to make new ecological knowledge and beneficial technologies AND PRACTICES available to people throughout the world, strengthening local capacity for sustainability."

17: "Provide universal access to health care AND EDUCATION, and secure"

Concluding paragraph 2, sentence 2: "religions, the schools, the sciences, [other] nongovernmental organizations" {Use of "other" doesn't make sense here.}

Concluding paragraph 3, sentence 2: "Embracing the values in this People's Earth Charter [, we can] WILL HELP US grow into a family" {Embracing the values in the Charter will help but not solve the problem alone.}


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