From 1-19 March is the 19 day period of fasting for the Baha'i community during which we avoid eating and drinking etc. between sunrise and sunset. The mild discomfort this produces can be thought of as a little companion running alongside you through the day as a reminder to attend to spiritual attitudes and habits and to make the appropriate adjustments (you can't manage what you don't measure).
The Myth Gap: What Happens When Evidence and Arguments Aren't Enough?
by Alex Evans. London: Eden Project Books, Transworld (Penguin), 2017. 152 p.
Book review by Arthur Lyon Dahl
In a world in which science and technology built through rational processes have transformed our economy and lifestyle and created wealth unimaginable in the recent past, it is ironic that rational arguments and scientific evidence are not enough to influence political decisions or to change individual behaviour. This book by Alex Evans, former political advisor to the British government and the United Nations, explores why the rational approaches of climate scientists and others addressing the environmental challenges of a society hitting planetary boundaries have failed to produce the necessary change. It has important lessons for anyone working at the science-policy interface or in public education on environmental issues.
Journey to Earthland: The Great Transition to Planetary Civilization
by Paul Raskin
Boston: Tellus Institute, 2016. 127 p.
free download at http://www.tellus.org/tellus/publication/journey-to-earthland
Book review by Arthur Dahl
Corruption, morality and religion
Arthur Lyon Dahl
International Environment Forum
The world is becoming a more dangerous place, with a loss of shared values, the rise of unpredictable leaders, the increasing concentration of wealth and power, the rejection of science, logic, expertise and even truth, increasing xenophobia and polarization, a disregard for the needs and desires of the young and of future generations, the headlong destruction of environmental resources and life-support systems, the destabilization of the climate, and a debt-driven economic and financial system raping the planet for short-term profit. These contrary winds are sweeping away many hopeful signs of progress from the past, and seem to be leading us to a catastrophe of multiple dimensions and unimaginable consequences. The parallel with the 1930s is frightening.
Ultrasociety (book review)
Peter Turchin. 2016. Ultrasociety: how 10,000 years of war made humans the greatest cooperators on earth. Chaplin, Connecticut: Beresta Books. 266 p.
Book review by Arthur Lyon Dahl, International Environment Forum
Peter Turchin continues his scientific exploration of history and the rise and fall of civilizations in his new book: Ultrasociety. I have previously reviewed his 2006 book War and Peace and War and his significant paper published in Nature in 2010 Political instability may be a contributor in the coming decade which warned of the kind of problems we see emerging in many countries today and which predicted a major crisis by 2020.
The cover story in a recent issue of New Scientist provides an objective scientific basis for dispelling many of the myths and lies about the migration crisis, and substantiates many of the points that IEF has raised for years. Debora MacKenzie, in "On the Road Again: From our origins in Africa we've conquered the world by migrating. Can modern immigration really be a crisis" (New Scientist, 9 April 2016, Vol. 230, No. 3068, pp. 29-37) shows the historical importance of migration for the human race.
Don't Even Think About It (book review)
Don't Even Think About It: Why our brains are wired to ignore climate change,
by George Marshall (New York and London: Bloomsbury, 2014) 261 p.
Reviewed by Arthur Dahl
Alexander von Humboldt 1769-1859
Book review and commentary
Maurice Strong, on of the great leaders of the environmental movement in the 20th century, has just passed away. It is rare to find someone who is successful as a businessman, a diplomat and a visionary leader over such a long period of time.
Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change: A Review
Arthur Lyon Dahl
International Environment Forum
After drafting work by a group of leading academics, and wide circulation for consultation, an Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change was adopted at an international Islamic Climate Change Symposium, held in Istanbul, Turkey, on 17-18 August 2015(1) (see ANNEX). The document is a significant addition to other religious declarations on this critical issue for the future of humanity, alongside those of the Bahá'í International Community's statement in 2008: Seizing the Opportunity: Redefining the Challenge of Climate Change (2) and the Pope's June 2015 encyclical Laudato Si': on care for our common home (3) reviewed on this web site (4), among others.