Submitted by admin on 31. May 2011 - 15:40
Van Zanten, Patty


(Abstract of comments for the panel)

Patty Van Zanten

Papers presented at the 5th Annual Conference of the International Environment Forum
19-21 October 2001, Hluboka nad Vltavou, Czech Republic

[This paper is as presented at the Conference, and has not been subject to editorial review by the IEF]

Webster's definition of what value is: that for which something is regarded as useful or desirable utility, merit, or worth.

A. Culture or heritage define what is of value

l. College or education?
2. Providing for a family?
3. Physical strength?
4. Arts, dancing, painting, music, are important?

B. Society determines what is of value

l. Materialism-gathering things
2. An accent on getting what you want not on how you get it.

Definition of Virtue - conformity to moral law, uprightnes and rectitude.

A. Virtues are what are needed for a project to be sustainable.

B. a group that wants to have a project must:
1. Purity of Motive
(a) Freedom from this corrupting element of "I will be the leader and no one else".
(b) Striving for the best
2. Happiness in wanting to be a part of the project and thinking positively.
3. Being trustworthy and trusting others
4. Being accountable-If you say you will do something do it.
5. Feeling a sense of responsibility and commitment- it's my project along with others.
6. Be willing to help others help themselves.
(a) This involves a caring attitude.
(b) Be willing to let others try their ideas.
7. Be co-operative
(a) The project belongs to everyone on the team
(b) Sharing success with the group.
8. Positive attitude at all times

C. How are these virtues taught or how can we influence people to have these virtues?

1. From childhood:
(a) Knowledge of praiseworthy virtues
(b) Children have to be trained
(c) Have a vision and goal for their life
2. People have to be willing to take a risk.
(a) this involves trust in people
(b) Faith in a supreme being
3. Having real love for mankind
(a) Seeing God in people.
(b) Look at them as a spiritual being learning how to be human
4. Be willing to talk with out prejudice.
(a) To oppose our passions." When a thought of war comes oppose it by a stronger thought of peace. A thought of hatred must be distroyed by a more powerful thought of love-Abdul Baha
(b) To quench desire
(c) Balance our passions with moderation.
5. Be willing to listen to other people's ideas
6. Be willing to learn by making mistakes and then be willing to correct the mistakes.
7. Be willing to try to solve difficult problems or challenges.
8. Willing to look at oneself objectively.
(a) Where are my interests?
(b) What is my motive?
(c) Is my motive pure?

D. The Terrace gardens in Haifa as an example of practicing virtues and values for sustainibility

l. Certainly an example of taking a risk.
(a) Gardens climb up the mountain one kilometer up a very steep incline-10,000 tons of rock removed just on the 11th terraces alone.
(b) Very dangerous but not one accident where anyone was hurt.
2. Co-operation and support-Everyone said it was all of us working together-It was our project.
(a) Different languages.
(b) Different races. 3. Willingness to help a person develop and make his idea of a beautiful garden come true.
4. Commitment
(a)Ten years to complete the project
(b) Maintenance of the gardens is on-going.
(c) The vision and goal was in their minds at all times.
(d) Tour guides work together to show the gardens and explain the significance
(1) Tour guides are of different races
(2) They love the gardens.

E. Ending with a quote from the Secret of Divine Civilization by 'Abdu'l-Baha.

"On my back is a garment which, were it sold for a penny, that penny would be worth far more; yet within the garment is a soul which, if you weighed it against all the souls in the world, would prove greater and nobler."
1. This should be our goal.
2. Look at one another as great and noble.

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Last updated 16 October 2001