Where Do We Go from Here?
Sixth Event of the 27th Annual Conference
of the International Environment Forum
Implementing Solidarity – Global to Local
22 September 2023
The discussion was opened by Arthur Dahl, who provided a summary of the UN Summit Week, including the results of the SDG Summit, the Climate Action Summit, and the Preparatory Meeting for the Summit of the Future (SOTF), as well as other events with which the IEF was associated, including three side events on "A Second Charter: Imagining a Renewed United Nations", a C4UN-led strategy session on the SOTF, and an event launching a statement from the Climate Governance Commission on Governing our Planetary Emergency. Link here to his full Summit Week report.
View a video recording of the event here.
By Nava Khorram, Latvia
In the final conference session, participants came together to discuss an important question: Where do we go from here? The conference, drawing inspiration from the principles of the Baha'i Faith, offered a platform for members of the IEF, Baha'is, and the broader community to engage in introspective and collaborative discussions about environmental concerns and actions.
One recurring theme was the pivotal role of local engagement in shaping global solutions. The consensus among participants was that the journey towards effective climate action begins at the grassroots level. This sentiment underscored the idea that individuals, communities, and local organizations hold the key to driving meaningful change. It was acknowledged that every person can make a difference by engaging their friends and contacts, fostering awareness, and promoting sustainable practices in their immediate environments.
Additionally, participants recognized the limitations of individual nations' efforts and the importance of a unified global approach to address climate change comprehensively. Baha'i teachings were referenced during discussions, as they emphasized the symbiotic relationship between the establishment of a just world government and the empowerment of individuals at the local level. This perspective offered an intriguing framework for envisioning a future where global governance supports and amplifies local initiatives while ensuring equity and justice on a global scale.
The concept of community resilience and individual resilience was also explored in the context of addressing climate change. It was emphasized that when communities and individuals anchor their efforts in spiritual and value-based principles, they can make substantial contributions to mitigating global challenges. These principles provide a solid foundation for sustainable living and collective action, fostering a sense of purpose and commitment to environmental stewardship.
Amidst the daunting challenges posed by climate change, one recurring theme was the importance of providing hope. Participants acknowledged the widespread discouragement and disillusionment prevalent in society, as many have lost faith in governments and world leaders to effectively address the climate crisis. Balancing a hopeful attitude with a scientific approach was identified as a key communication strategy. It was emphasized that messages should convey both the optimism that positive change is possible and the scientific facts that underpin the urgency of action. The unity of humanity was another prevailing sentiment, with participants highlighting the innate inclination of people to come together in times of crisis. Providing a long-term vision for a sustainable future was seen as a powerful motivator and a catalyst for conversations that inspire change. The idea that every individual action, no matter how small it may seem, contributes to a larger collective impact underscored the importance of hope as a driving force for action.