Newsletter of the
INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENT FORUM
Volume 7, Number 1 --- March 2005
"Never is it the wish of 'Abdu'l-Bahá to see any being hurt, nor will He make anyone to grieve; for man can receive no greater gift than this, that he rejoice another's heart. I beg of God that ye will be bringers of joy, even as are the angels in Heaven."
-'Abdu'l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, p. 203
FROM THE EDITOR
Friends, our spring newsletter includes the following features:
The 8th Annual IEF Conference in Thessaloniki, Greece
'Self-Determination' - uniquely, geothermally Aotearoa-New Zealand
IEF and the World Economic Forum
The Millennium Campaign launches global website against poverty
Small island developing States (SIDS) sustainable development
First Global Women s assembly on environment
Please send contributions about environmental issues in your region which may be published in future issues of LEAVES. I hope that you will enjoy this issue of LEAVES and remain with warmest greetings.
- Bettina Moser (editor)
INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENT FORUM
IN THESSALONIKI, GREECE
WAS WELL RECEIVED
The 8th annual conference of the International Environment Forum (IEF) took place in Thessaloniki, Greece, on 15-17 October 2004 with about 50 participants, many of which were not Bahá'í. The conference focused on the role of the individual in achieving sustainability through changing lifestyles.
On the first day of the conference, Mr. A. Tzitzikosta of Greece explained the "THE UNITED NATIONS POLICY ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT". He emphasized UNESCO s role in promoting education for sustainable development. The UNESCO takes the lead on the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) from 2005-2014, which is meant to give all people the ability to understand sustainable development and its importance for everyone. The keynote lecture "LEADING THE TRANSITION TO SUSTAINABILITY: GLOBAL CHALLENGES AND INDIVIDUAL ACTION" was presented by Dr. A. L. Dahl of Switzerland. Dr. Dahl explored the material, ethical, moral, and spiritual dimensions of sustainable development and our responsibilities as individuals, in our families and communities. He also addressed the fundamental role of education in preparing each person for action through both scientific knowledge and ethical perspectives.
The morning session of the second day started with three presentations on different aspects of sustainable lifestyles. Ms Yasmina Mata of Spain discussed CULTIVATING ELEMENTS OF SOCIAL SUSTAINABILITY, followed by presentations on the ECONOMIC DIMENSION OF SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLES by Dr. E. Sartzetakis of Macedonia University in Thessaloniki and the ENVIRONMENTAL DIMENSIONS OF SUSTAINABILITY by Dr. A. Dahl. The morning session was concluded with the presentation of three case studies, dealing with various facettes of sustainable life styles. In THE LOCAL-GLOBAL LIFESTYLE LINKS - THE EXAMPLE OF SUSTAINABLE EATING, Dr. Sylvia Karlsson of Sweden discussed the implications for sustainability in the choices that each of us make when we decide what to eat. Dr. Konstantina Tamoutseli of Greece, in a beautifully-illustrated presentation on SCHOOLS AND AGENDA 21: PARTICIPATORY APPROACH TO CREATING A BETTER SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT showed how barren school yards could be turned into delightfully-landscaped gardens with the help of the students. Finally, Dr. Christos Vasilikiotis of USA presented some examples of COMMUNITY-SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE. In the afternoon, Assistant Professor Victoria Thoresen of Norway explored the role of education in TEACHING SUSTAINABILITY.
The third day focused on Putting Principles into Practice . In their joint presentation on MEASURING SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLES AND SUSTAINABILITY, Dr. Karlsson and Dr. Dahl discussed the usefulness of indicators in measuring and achieving sustainability. The next presentation looked at issues of sustainability at the community level. In MAKING THESSALONIKI A SUSTAINABLE CITY, Mr. G. Toskas of Greece illustrated the public transport problems of the city and the world. For the final talk on ENGAGING IN THE DECADE OF EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN GREECE, EUROPE AND THE WORLD, Dr. Arthur Dahl replaced Dr. Michalis Modinos who had to cancel his attendance. Dr. Dahl noted that the Decade was a recommendation of the 2002 Johannesburg Summit for the international community to focus their attention on the concept of education for sustainable development.
For further details on this very successful conference consult the IEF web site: http://www.bcca.org/ief/conf8.htm
SELF-DETERMINATION UNIQUELY, GEOTHERMALLY AOTEAROA - NEW ZEALAND
A contribution by Leslie Bradley-Vine
Lesley Bradley-Vine is a first-year PhD candidate studying Social Complexity at the University of Western Sydney's School of Social Ecology. She is currently based on the ground in Aotearoa-New Zealand. Her overall topic relates to Leadership Change for Sustainable Development. She is a member of IEF and of SADRAT(Southern Africa Development Research and Training Institute). Lesley is currently fully involved in the action research process at the Ngawha site.
This many thousand archipelago has more coastline and more sheep relative to its landmass than anywhere else on this small planet.[i] It is recognised globally as an area of outstanding geothermal features. Geothermal activity has high economic and cultural worth. The 'original people of this land,' the most recently inhabited group of islands in the Pacific Ocean, the Indigenous Peoples known collectively as 'Maori' are at a defining point in their continuum of occupation. In September 2004, the Labour Government pushed through legislation that takes the seabed and foreshore into Crown 'ownership.' Out of this most recent struggle for equity and social justice in relation to natural resource 'ownership,' has emerged a new political entity named simply at this point the 'Maori Party.' It is co-led by a unique combination of a political grandmother[ii] and a longtime activist and forward-thinking educationalist. [iii] At both ends of the spectrum - nationally and at the flaxroots level - 'Self-Determination'[iv] is showing itself to be an enabling mechanism for Indigenous Maori for this high-risk 21st century.
Some 50 generations on from the first recorded return voyages made between Hawai'iki and this northern tip of the 'land of the long white cloud,' possibly a thousand years ago, by the scientific star-path navigator and mythical ancestor, Kupe, a chiefly woman descendant, Kareariki II, fell upon the geothermal natural healing pools known locally as Ngawha. Having just given birth to her first child she found relief from postpartum pain by sitting in what is now known as the 'Baby' pool. Kareariki and her family were living in the surrounding forest and gathering food as was the traditional practice. In the summer they would return to their coastal settlements. In turn, her 11 descendants, some 16 generations later, as natural guardians or kaitiaki, the beneficial 'owners' of this unique facility were to resist the pressures of the British colonisation land grab process.[v] In displaying extraordinary resilience through their intrinsic understanding of the unwritten obligation to maintain this cultural-spiritual site for future generations, they became known as 'non-sellers.' Some 804 acres was set aside by the Crown at the time for these 'non-sellers,'&.. 'for the natives, many of them being resident on the land around the hot springs. The remaining balance of some 10,000 acres overlaying the geothermal resistivity field that can extend to 25 sq kms, were surveyed, leased and sold in 'individual title' in a 30 year period from the 1860s. This included a five acre triangle - 'a little bend in the boundary line.' Four of these acres would be the still disputed 'Crown domain' and the remaining one acre is that which the case study Maori reserve trust holds in perpetuity to continue the practice of guardianship (kaitiakitanga).
Return to the Maori beneficial owners of the 'domain,' has been recommended by the Crown's Waitangi Tribunal (Wai 304, 1993). The hearing process was set up in 1975 to address longstanding grievances relating to this nation's founding document, Te Tiriti o Waitangi (1840). Consistent disregard to the content of these three Articles as a relationship building process, has diminished the mana (integrity) of the Maori nation. Within this one acre are 4 original pools, lovingly refurbished and nurtured back into life over this past two year period by a small management team, using recycled materials for pool lining and landscaping. The complete restoration of the complex of 15 pools, each displaying individual characteristics of temperature, minerals and healing, was marked with a blessing a week ago by the elder, who has been bathing here for 80 years. His anecdotal evidence of the healing properties and the intrinsic cultural-spiritual value as a most significant tribal taonga (treasure) was not recorded in the recent Commission hearings. The single tapper commercial power entity is applying to extend extraction of geothermal fluids by more than double since operational startup in 1998, from 9MW to 25MW from the 'arteries' beneath the 'heart and eyes' of this unique heritage site.
Recent national media ( The New Zealand Herald, December 20), states 'gold rush on mud pools.' A Wellington based mining company, with financial backing from London and British Virgin Islands based companies is to use Australian technology to 'see through' surface ash layers to analyse underlying geological formations from the air in the Bay of Plenty that lies within the extensive central plateau geothermal region. The 'will to power' mining encounter now takes on the form of a new threat to natural resource sustainability and integrity.
[i] Recent research findings indicate that possibly 80 percent of lowland streams and watercourses in some areas are polluted. Farm run-off from concentrated stocking of dairy cattle, as well as sheep, contributes significantly to this figure.
[ii] Tariana Turia is a well respected Maori political leader. During the seabed and foreshore debate, as a member of the encumbent Labour Party, she had to make a loyalty decision between supporting the Crown or her own people. In consequence she resigned from Parliament.
[iii] Dr Pita Sharples is equally wellknown and respected for his leadership. At his urban-based non-tribal marae (community centre), in West Auckland, he has established learning centres for pre-school Maori children through to secondary level. He plans to continue the lifelong process 'from cradle to grave' through eventual establishment of a wananga (university). At the emergence of the new Maori political entity, he was approached to co-lead the party.
[iv] 'Self-Determination' is highlighted in global instruments as a principle in International Law. For the purpose of this research, I refer to 'self-management' based on integrity ( mana ), as an approach to human mobilisation and personality.
[v] The 'social architect' of the 'burst-up of the greatest estate - Maori land' was John McKenzie, Minister of Lands during the 1890s, (Tom Brooking, 1996. Lands for the People? The Highland Clearances and the Colonisation of New Zealand. A biography of John McKenzie , Oxford University Press, NZ), who believed that all young British settlers should start with a parcel of 300 acres to create sustainable livelihoods. Some sellers in the South Island received less than a farthing an acre, others up to £1 an acre. Maori in Northland received three shillings an acre.
IEF AND THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM
Each year the World Economic Forum, based in Geneva, Switzerland, publishes "The Global Competitiveness Report" based in part on an Executive Opinion Survey sent to thousands of business leaders around the world. The 2004-2005 report recently published was edited by Augusto Lopez-Claros, Director of the Global Competiveness Programme of the World Economic Forum, and a featured speaker at the 3rd IEF Conference. Arthur Dahl, President of IEF, contributed a chapter on "The Competitive Edge in Environmental Responsibility". He was first invited to design a section of the WEF Executive Opinion Survey to determine modern attitudes of business leaders in over 100 countries towards environmental and social responsibility. Based on this information, he highlighted the significant potential of business leadership in the field of environment and sustainable development. A positive, proactive view of environmental challenges generates new technologies, opens up new markets, reduces costs and allows more time for adaptation to global change. One interesting conclusion was that countries with effective environmental regulations and enforcement, far from damaging business, actually showed improved competitiveness and attracted stable investment. An ed-op piece by the two, based on the environmental chapter, was widely published in newspapers around the world.
Arthur also participated for the World Economic Forum in the recent revision of the 2005 Environmental Sustainability Index, prepared by the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and the Center for International Earth Science Information Network of Columbia University in collaboration with the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission and WEF, and launched on 28 January 2005 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The index benchmarks and ranks 146 countries on their ability to protect the environment over the next several decades, looking at indicators of environmental systems, environmental stresses, human vulnerability, societal capacity to respond to environmental challenges (including the role of business), and global stewardship.
MILLENNIUM CAMPAIGN LAUNCHES
GLOBAL WEBSITE AGAINST POVERTY
On 10th December 2004 - World Human Rights Day - the United Nations Millennium Campaign has launched its global website: http://www.millenniumcampaign.org/, informing, inspiring and encouraging people s involvement and action towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The Goals represent a global partnership committing rich and poor countries to do their part in fighting against world poverty. The Campaign s website provides citizens, civil society, elected officials and parliamentarians, media and young people with a platform to have their voices heard and provide concrete actions to remind their governments of their commitments.
An initiative of the United Nations, the Millennium Campaign supports citizens efforts to hold their government to account for the commitments made at the Millennium Summit in 2000, where 189 world leaders adopted an 8-goal action plan. They pledged to end poverty and hunger, ensure all boys and girls complete primary school, promote gender equality, reduce the number of children dying before they reach the age of 5 and mothers giving child birth, stop the spread of deadly diseases such as AIDS, protect the environment and ensure access to clean water, all by 2015.
The International Ecoagriculture Conference and Practitioners Fair, held in Nairobi, Kenya, September 25-October 1, 2004, was attended by more than 200 of the world s leading innovators in ecoagriculture from 46 countries, with an unusual mix of grassroots community group leaders, researchers in agriculture and ecosystem management, agriculture and rural development professionals, agribusiness and food industry leaders, conservation leaders and public agency officials.
An important outcome of the Ecoagriculture Conference was the crafting of the Nairobi Declaration on Ecoagriculture. While the group of people attending the conference was highly diverse and had differing opinions about strategies and priorities to achieve ecoagriculture, they were able to reach consensus about a framework of outcomes and to recommend a broad range of actions required to achieve those outcomes.
For more information see: http://www.ecoagriculturepartners.org/
DEVELOPING STATES (SIDS)
The Mauritius International Meeting for the 10-year review of the Barbados Programme of Action (BPoA) for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States concluded successfully in January 2005 with the adoption of the Mauritius Declaration and the Mauritius Strategy for the further implementation of the BPoA. There was a considerable emphasis on human resources and capacity building as one of the significant challenges on small islands, with their small populations and high rates of emigration, emphasizing education and cultural diversity and its importance in sustainable development.
The Education Caucus organized a parallel event on "Engaging People in Sustainability: The Strategy" on Tuesday 11 January 2005 at the Exhibition Center that hosted the Civil Society activities and exhibits. The organizing partners were Stakeholder Forum for a Sustainable Future, International Environment Forum, and Global Youth Action Network, with additional co-sponsoring partners YSDA-Philipinas, WWF-International, Soka Gakkai International, and Earth Charter International. Arthur Dahl of IEF chaired the panel and discussed the specificity of educational processes and participation in small island countries and communities, such as the need for generalists more than specialists.
FIRST GLOBAL WOMEN'S ASSEMBLY ON ENVIRONMENT
The United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) first Global Women's Assembly on Environment: Women as the Voice for the Environment (WAVE) convened from 11-13 October 2004, in Nairobi, Kenya. The Assembly focused on generating outputs related to the upcoming Beijing+10 review session, the five-year review of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and the 13th session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-13). Over 150 participants from 60 countries attended the Assembly, some from remote indigenous communities and small island developing States.
Parallel and joint meetings of the Assembly were held with the Network of Women Ministers for the Environment meeting, "Women in Charge of the Environment," which convened from 11-12 October. Participants in the Network drafted informal recommendations on the "Women and Environment" section of the Beijing Platform of Action (PFA), which will be sent to the 23rd session of the UNEP Governing Council (GC) / Global Ministerial Environmental Forum (GMEF) and CSD-13 and addresses future work of the Network. The WAVE Assembly accepted a Manifesto, which included these recommendations. The WAVE Manifesto and WAVE recommendations and project ideas will be forwarded to relevant intergovernmental meetings, including the Beijing+10 review session and the WSSD follow-up. The Assembly highlighted the crucial role of women in promoting: women's leadership in environment; the participation of indigenous, rural and urban women in decision making; a gender-culture-environment; local-global linkages; environment and health linkages; capacity building and education; and peace.
For further online coverage, see: http://www.iisd.ca/sd/unep/wave/
9-12 November 2005
The second call for the First DIVERSITAS Open Science Conference: Integrating biodiversity science for human well-being is now out: http://www.diversitas-international.org/second_call.pdf
We look forward to receiving your input into this conference. Thank you for distributing this announcement amongst your networks.
The second call includes information on the science programme, related activities and social events, as well as the call for abstracts and a special call for young scientists and developing country scientists. Please visit also the conference website at: http://www.diversitas-osc1.org/.
Please note the following schedule:
Abstract submission: October 2004
Registration open: January 2005
Abstracts due: 31 March 2005
For more information contact the DIVERSITAS secretariat at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS OF AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES
Please plan to join the "International Conference on Environmental Effects of Agricultural Practices: Remediation, Prevention, and Sustainability." The conference will be held August 21-24, 2005 at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, 71 Banyan Drive, in Hilo, Hawaii. Complete information can be found at http://www.dce.ksu.edu/dce/conf/ag&environment/
This conference will provide an opportunity to promote agricultural productivity and environmental quality worldwide.
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON S&T EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
(August 2006, UK)
SustainEd 2006, the International Conference on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development, will focus on education for sustainable development (SD) through the teaching of science and technology at primary, secondary and post-secondary levels, concentrating on such areas as water, education, food, health, the built environment, and communication and transport. Pervading these topics will be social, economic, ethical and environmental issues together with major scientific and technological concepts such as energy and biodiversity. Discussion will also be informed by contributions from developers of more sustainable technologies, e.g., from engineering, architecture and product design. The conference, to be held 23-27 August 2006 in York, United Kingdom, is targeted to educators but also wants to bring together policy makers, scientists, engineers, technologists, economists, designers, teachers and members of the media from around the world.
The aims, following the conference, are to (a) publish a concise statement of how the principles that underlie S&T education and sustainable development can be translated into achievable teaching resources and support, and (b) publish on the web a description of the conference which will contain: illustrations of how teaching resources can be designed and used to teach S&T through the contexts of SD; strategies for teaching with these resources; illustrations of how these resources can be adapted to the very different circumstances in different countries; illustrations which emphasize meeting the needs of minority/excluded groups; and a record of the discussions of development of new practice.
The conference is being organized by the University of York Science Education Group in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); the International Council for Science (ICSU); TWAS, the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World; the Royal Society; and the Royal Academy of Engineering.
INTERNATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY CONFERENCE 2005
Little less than 20 years after the publishing of "Our Common Future" by the Brundtland Commission, it is felt that despite various promising initiatives, little has been achieved and only sporadically with strategies for fighting the excrescences of the systematic abuse of the earth. Nevertheless, major and minor achievements -- such as the political Agenda 21 or private initiatives -- raise hope that there is a growing common sense in our society. The early signs of this developing trend indicate that a next level in the life-cycle of sustainability is within reach. A political framework that will make an implementation into society possible is widely being discussed in a socio-political discourse, whereas at the same time a change in stakeholder perception implies a shift from campaigning towards a more cooperative approach. The International Sustainability Conference 2005 - Strategies for a Sustainable Society (ISC2005) in its turn intends to contribute to this consensus attitude by delivering the necessary platform for both interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary cooperations. Furthermore, the conference aims to supply a meeting point for committed individuals from the political, corporate, and academic worlds as well as representatives from civil society. Organized by the University of Applied Sciences Aargau, Institute for Sustainable Management (IfSM), in association with the University of Basel , Program MGU, ISC2005 will be held 13-14 October 2005 in Basel, Switzerland. Theoretical oriented workgroups on the first day will address such topics as: The Role of Good Governance in Promoting and Implementing Sustainable Development (SD); Exploring the "Social Dimension" of SD; Managing Strategic Decisions under Uncertainty; Public Goods, Sustainability, and Value Creation An Irresolvable Conflict?; Civil Society The Powerful Link between the State and the Individual; and Sustainability Old Wine in New Bottles? A Critical Review. On day 2 practical oriented workgroups will address: Business Ethics, Corporate Citizenship, Corporate Social Responsibility; Sustainable Management The Spine of an Organization. Practical Implications of Integrating SD; Life-cycle Management; Sustainability Communication; Sustainability Marketing or Sustainable Marketing?; and Sustainability and Education. Gro Harlem Brundtland, Brian Barry and Konrad Ott will be the keynote speakers.
The deadline for submission of abstracts is 30 April 2005.
(as of February 2005)
John Steere, USA
Roshan Cholas, USA
Helga Stokes, USA
Ezio Lanfranconi, Italy
Jean Schwandes, USA
Deanne LaRue, USA
Nava Bastani, South Africa
Paula J. Posas USA
Dr. Mahesh Kumar Gaur, India
David P. Gillette, USA
Jenna Nicholas, UK - as a Youth member
Enoch N. Tanyi, Cameroon
Gabriel Power, USA
Samuel W. Smith, USA
Naim Haie, Portugal
UPDATE YOUR ADDRESS
Please send information to the secretariat on changes of address etc. We are "losing" members whose email starts bouncing because they have not informed us of their new address.
International Environment Forum<
Dr. Arthur L. Dahl
12B Chemin de Maisonneuve
CH-1219 Chatelaine, Geneva
goes to the General Secretary Sylvia Karlsson
Newsletter contributions should be sent
directly to the newsletter editor:
Dr. Bettina Moser, Germany.
Email: BettinaAngela @ netscape.net
Updated 22 March 2005
PAST ISSUES OF LEAVES
Vol. 1, No. 1, April 1999
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