2ND GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE
INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENT FORUM
de Poort, The Netherlands, 7 November 1998
The 2nd General Assembly of the International Environment Forum was held in de Poort, the Netherlands, on 7 November 1998, with 11 participants from Australia, China, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and USA. In addition, 31 electronic participants from most continents also had the opportunity to participate in the assembly discussions (see conference report for names of participants). From these on site and on line participants 30 were voting members who could participate in the election. A full list of voting members is given below in Annex 1. The annual report of the Forum is given in Annual Report 1997-1998.
1. The General Assembly was opened by the President of the Environment Forum, Arthur Dahl.
2. Officers of the meeting: In view of the small group there was no formal election of chairman and secretary. The officers of the governing board, Arthur Dahl and Sylvia Karlsson, were requested to serve in those capacities respectively.
3. The agenda was agreed upon.
4. Annual report: The General Secretary presented the Annual Report 1997-1998 from the governing board. In the consultation that followed the question was raised whether English was the official language of the Forum. There is nothing in the draft statutes saying which language should be used, and as resources grow we can make materials and meetings available in more languages.
5. Name: The recent letter from the Universal House of Justice states: 'it is suggested you choose a name for the organization which conveys an image of its area of concern, but does not include the word "Bahá'í".'
The board had considered many possible names, and narrowed the list down to five:
- One World Environment Forum
- Environment Forum
- World Unity Environment Forum
- International Environment Forum
- Environment Forum for World Civilisation
It encouraged voting members participating electronically to send in their ranking of these names in order of preference, as a contribution to the discussion. After the members present at the General Assembly also had given their preferences, and after consultation, the decision was taken in favor of "International Environment Forum" as the name with the widest support. This therefore becomes the official name of the organization.
6. Discussion on activities and priorities:
Networking: The assembly was advised that there is a Bahá'í list server on the environment, managed by Bud Polk. We should look into sharing information with them.
There is a mailing list for youth interested in human rights in Europe which should also receive some information on the Forum.
There is need for a webpage and it is possible to have a page which several people manage.
We should bring the spiritual principles from the teachings on the environment, and share them with our communities. Bahá'í communities should be models that reflect that. All Bahá'ís in a community are responsible for the education of children and the whole community should in the same way be responsible for adopting good environmental practices. We should be actively promoting this by producing materials on several levels. We do not have to wait to be asked to do things. We have a structure to work with in the Bahá'í community.
The board could have a review process for materials and make a toolkit available at a web site and through other means. One example to include could be the "environmental footprint" approach and how to use it as an awareness developing process, while identifying the Bahá'í principles involved.
We should have regional meetings, if there are enough people in one region.
Environment is a good subject when it is not possible to teach the Faith directly; the subject is more accepted than religion.
We could identify volunteer speakers and what topics they are offering to talk on.
Annual fee: The specific fees will need to be determined by the board. Recommendations were made that there should be either several levels of fees, for different categories (student, unemployed, professional, etc) where people can chose which level they should pay, or have a fixed fee but with a way to appeal to the board for a reduced fee in special circumstances. It is important that we have some incentive for people to become members; becoming members will also raise the commitment of people to contribute actively.
We should make an inventory of what Bahá'ís have done on the environment from the grassroots to the policy level.
A top priority will be to produce a pamphlet on the Forum, develop a logo, etc.
We should have a four colour brochure on the environment (like the ones on education and socio-economic development printed in the UK).
We could develop materials for educating families to "live more lightly on the earth" e.g. by using the footprint approach.
We should develop materials for training the trainers in communities, that could be used in the Bahá'í institutes.
One member offered to help in developing the institute materials. Another member will send in the materials he develops in February for a workshop. One member offered his skills to write.
The point was raised that it is good if the annotated directory indicate who is a Bahá'í and who is not.
7. Election of the board: Out of the 30 voting members, 16 votes were cast, 9 via email and 7 on site. The board that was elected consists of (in alphabetical order):
Irma Allen, Swaziland
Arthur Dahl, Switzerland
Les Gornall, Northern Ireland
Sylvia Karlsson, Sweden,
Tahereh Nadarajah, Mongolia
(Note: Michael Richards was elected but had informed the board, in view of being away in the rainforests of Ghana for the coming 6 weeks and not having communication facilities there, that in the event of being elected, he wished to step down. We took the next number of votes on the list, where three people were tied, and held a runoff vote among these three. As a result, Tahereh Nadarajah was elected.)
LIST OF VOTING MEMBERS OF THE ENVIRONMENT FORUM
4 November 1998
Peter Adriance, USA
Irma Acosta Allen, Swaziland
Martino Alvaro, France
Maxwell Ayamba, United Kingdom
Aaron Arthur Blomeley, Taiwan
Lloyd D. S. Brown, China
Cecil E Cook, South Africa
Arthur Dahl, Switzerland
R. Ken Dunsworth, Canada
Amanda Felipe, United Kingdom
Richard W. Fisher, Bolivia
Les Gornall, Northern Ireland
Eva Hildorsson, Sweden
Tom Hodges, USA
Nigel Jollands, New Zealand
Janne Mikael Karimaki, Finland
Sylvia Karlsson, Sweden
Tomas Linsel, Slovakia
Paul Maloney, Canada
Keith A. Metzner, U.S.A.
Jean Marie Moutoir, France
Tahereh Nadarajah (Djafari), Mongolia
Paul Ojermark, Vietnam
Jan Quik, Surinam
Hamid Rastegar, USA
Michael Richards, England, UK
Melinda Salazar, USA
Marjorie Barbara Schreuder, The Netherlands
Richard Scott Sherwood, Czech Republic
Ebenezer Tabot-Tabot, Denmark
See also the Annual Report 1997-1998.
Last updated 4 December 2004