IEF WEBINAR SERIES
The IEF is presenting a monthly online webinar series on topics of current interest. As a Bahá'í-inspired professional organisation, the IEF works for responsible environmental management and sustainability through both science and values, demonstrating the complementarity of science and religion. It is open to all viewpoints and all faith traditions to encourage dialogue and increase understanding of the complex human and natural system that is life on this planet. IEF webinars are organised in this spirit.
When there is a presentation that is recorded rather than a discussion, the resulting recording is available here:
20th IEF Webinar
Finding Your Calling for Environmental Work: How you – specifically you – can help with climate solutions
Saturday, 3 June 2023
Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, an environmental scientist, activist, and educator, recommends a specific activity when anyone asks her what they should do to help the environment. She invites a process of thinking deeply about what your special talents and interests are, what brings you joy, and how you can use the nexus of these to contribute to the world we want to build. We listened to Ayana's introduction to her activity, and then engaged in it ourselves and discussed our insights. You can watch her 10 min. TedTalk and see the venn diagram worksheet here.
19th IEF Webinar
Book Club Style Webinar on "Love for Nature", from Braiding Sweetgrass
Saturday, 6 May 2023 with a recorded reading by Robin Kimmerer
Description: We used the "Book Club" format for our webinar again, which is focused on member participation, discussion, and principles we can implement in our lives to live in harmony with our natural world.
We listened to Robin Kimmerer read the chapter "Epiphany in the Beans" from her book "Braiding Sweetgrass." This chapter discusses the deep love the author has for nature and presents a lens through which we can see nature the way she does.
To listen to the audiobook chapter, here is the link to the book.
In order to encourage maximum participation and discussion, "Book Club" Webinars are not recorded.
18th IEF Webinar
Book Club Style Webinar on "The Teachings of Grass", from Braiding Sweetgrass
Sunday, 5 March 2023 with a reading by Robin Kimmerer
Description: We used the "Book Club" format for our webinar again this month, which is focused on member participation, discussion, and principals we can implement in our lives to live in harmony with our natural world.
We listened to Robin Kimmerer read the audiobook chapter "Mishkos Kenomagwen: The Teachings of Grass" from her book "Braiding Sweetgrass." This chapter discusses our assumptions about how nature works, and interdependence among species.
Last month’s "Book Club" Webinar: Council of Pecans, also from Braiding Sweetgrass, was a great success. The participants all enjoyed a very lively discussion.
17th IEF Webinar
Council of Pecans, from Braiding Sweetgrass
Saturday, 4 February 2023 with Robin Kimmerer
"Book Club" Webinar: Council of Pecans, from Braiding Sweetgrass
Beginning this month, we will have more frequent discussion based webinars. This new format is focused on member participation, discussion, and principals we can implement in our lives to live in harmony with our natural world.
We listened to Robin Kimmerer read the chapter "Council of Pecans" from her book "Braiding Sweetgrass." This chapter discusses how pecan trees use the principle of unity and collective action as a strategy to thrive and reproduce. For your reference, this is the link to the book.
16th IEF Webinar
The Human Right to a Clean, Healthy and Sustainable Environment
Saturday, 7 January 2023 with Maja Groff
The International Adoption of a Right to a Clean, Healthy, and Sustainable Environment: What Next?
Speaker: Maja Groff
The recording of the webinar with Maja Groff is now on the IEF YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r43tnAQhvoM
On 28 July 2022, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) voted to recognize the to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment as a human right. The vote passed with 161 nations in favor, none against, and eight abstentions. This resolution of the UNGA echoes a previous text adopted in October 2021 by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), which similarly saw no opposing votes. Some of those initiating these developments suggested that the global recognition of this right could catalyze powerful, effective and transformative change in confronting current, interdependent ecological crises. This webinar explored the genesis and nature of this newly-recognized international human right and interrogate the possible consequences flowing from this recognition, in the light of the intensifying "triple planetary threat" of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.
Maja Groff, Esq., is an international lawyer based in The Hague, and is Convenor of the Climate Governance Commission, which seeks to propose high impact global governance innovations adequate to meet the climate challenge. She serves as Co-Chair of the Coordinating Committee for the International Anti-Corruption Court (IACC), as well as on The Canadian Task Force Against Global Corruption. As a Principal Legal Officer, she has previously worked on the development and administration of multiple multilateral treaties. She was a co-winner of the 2018 global governance innovation “New Shape Prize” and is a co-author of the 2020 book, Global Governance and the Emergence of Global Institutions for the 21st Century. She also serves on the Advisory Boards of BCorp Europe and ebbf, organizations devoted to ethical business, and is a NOW Partner.
15th IEF Webinar
CBD COP15: Countries are preparing new global goals to protect Nature – what do they mean? What is our role in achieving them?
Saturday 3 December 2022 with Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen
This webinar gave a background to and brief summary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the overarching international treaty for addressing the alarming loss of biological species around the world. It outlined what member states to the convention are hoping to agree on in the upcoming important Conference of the Parties (COP15) that will be held in Montreal between 5 and 18 December. Finally, it provided reflections on the topics discussed in Montreal in light of the recent statement by the Baha’i International Community, “<i>One Planet, One Habitation</i>.”
Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen is Associate Professor with the Public Administration and Policy Group of Wageningen University. She studies the effectiveness and legitimacy of global and multilevel sustainable development governance, and the interaction between knowledge, values, and institutions. Sylvia is a member of the Task Force on Scenarios and Models for the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and serves on the Board of Trustees of the One World Trust and the governing board of the International Environment Forum. She has a PhD in political science from Linköping University, Sweden.
14th IEF Webinar
What is at stake at this year's global climate conference - COP27?
Saturday 5 November 2022 with Halldór Thorgeirsson
The webinar took stock of development in the global response to climate change on the eve of the 27 Conference of the Parties to the Climate Convention COP27 in Egypt. The objectives of the Conference were outlined, and the main challenges discussed. These annual conferences are an important focus point for global cooperative action on climate change which is gathering momentum at the same time as the adverse impacts of climate disruption are becoming more evident.
Halldór Thorgeirsson is the Chair of the Icelandic Climate Council. He served as senior director at the UN Climate Change Secretariat (UNFCCC) in Bonn for fourteen years (2004-2018). His responsibilities included managing substantive support to international climate negotiations culminating in the adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015. As a climate negotiator for Iceland, Halldór had served as the Chair of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) for a two-year term.
13th IEF Webinar
Space Debris as Pollution of the Space Environment
Saturday 30 April 2022 with Tamara Blagojević
The discovery of the space ecosystem has led to the accelerated development of the space industry, the commercialization of space, and in general, the growth of outer space activities, which are characterized as high-risked and presume the usage of large amounts of energy. The consequences that accompany these types of activities are excessive exploitation of natural resources on Earth and pollution of the outer space environment. The impossibility of supervision and tracking due to the lack of appropriate mechanisms and bodies for the resolution and prosecution of potential breaches of Outer Space regulation and the consequent non-transparency of space activities opened the possibility of the illegitimate undertaking of a wide range of activities that can lead to space damages that have transboundary effects on the Earth’s environment.
This presentation first identified the parameters of environmental laws that may apply to outer space. It then took relevant components of Space law and examined how they apply to environmental damages in outer space, creating a nexus between relevant principles from the two areas of law. The principle of sustainability, supported by the global commons character of outer space and some areas of the Earth’s environment, served as a guiding framework to enable and justify the application of the relevant principles.
Tamara Blagojević holds a Bachelor degree and an LL.M from the Belgrade University Faculty of Law in the field of International Law, with a focus on Environmental Law and International Humanitarian law. As an activist, with true passion in sustainability and security issues, she chose her master thesis about international liability for environmental damages in Space Law, in the purpose to raise awareness on the fact that preventive mechanisms tend to be untimely implemented in the areas of Law where they’re necessary. The master thesis served as a foundation for her chapter of the book on Green Crimes and international Criminal Law published by Vernon Press.
Currently, Tamara is engaging on a project to facilitate the relocation and find affordable housing for Russian-Ukrainian crisis immigrants.
12th IEF Webinar:
Environmental Factors in the Evolution of Skin Color Variation in Humans
Saturday 26 March 2022, with Khela Baskett
In this workshop you will learn about the evolutionary factors behind why our ancient human ancestors first evolved dark skin in Africa, and then spread out over the globe to evolve a wide variety of skin colors. What environmental conditions led to these changes? Are these forces still in play in the modern world? How does this apply to humanity facing modern changes in our environment, like climate change?
Khela Baskett studied chemistry and computer science at UC Berkeley. She has worked in biotech at the Joint Genome Institute, and held software engineering and project management roles for academic, government, and industry projects. She is interested in anti-racism education, especially what genetics and evolutionary biology can teach us about the unity of the human family.
11th IEF Webinar Discussion:
Co-Designing a New and Better Global Systems Accounting for Pollution
Saturday 19 February 2022
This working webinar discussed how to account for pollution of various kinds, and led to the organisation of a working group on this topic. The working group is supporting the efforts by ebbf (Ethical Business Building the Future) to carry forward Arthur Dahl’s proposals in his paper: Global Systems Accounting: Beyond Economics https://www.iefworld.org/ddahl_accounting
It joins nine other ebbf working groups developing ideas in specific areas such as Carbon Accounting, Biodiversity, Poverty/Wealth, Health, Food, Work, Knowledge/education and Spiritual Capital. See https://www.ebbf.org/global-systems-accounting
Arthur Dahl’s webinar presentation on 8 December 2021 for ebbf (40 minutes) can also help to get an understanding of the subject matter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWUFwHH0uX0
10th IEF Webinar: The Accelerating Environmental Crisis: A 60-year Perspective
22 January 2022 with Arthur Dahl
Description: The 1960's saw the first signs that our material civilization was having environmental impacts, leading to the first Earth Day in 1970 and the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm in 1972. Warnings of limits to growth led to calls for more sustainable development in the 1980s, with a high point at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 adopting Agenda 21 and conventions on climate change and biodiversity. Despite advances such as the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change in 2015, environmental crises have accelerated, driven by vested interests and pushing beyond planetary boundaries now threatening systems collapse. The latest science and the Secretary-General's "Our Common Agenda" lay out the fundamental transformation that is now urgently needed. This overview builds on Arthur Dahl's personal experience of these events over the last 60 years.
Speaker Curriculum Vitae: Dr. Arthur Lyon Dahl is an environmental scientist, President of the International Environment Forum, on the Advisory Board of the Global Governance Forum, and a retired Deputy Assistant Executive Director of UNEP, with 60 years' international experience. He participated in the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment, organised the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), served in the secretariat for the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (Rio Earth Summit), coordinated the UN System-wide Earthwatch, and lead the development of indicators of sustainable development. His recent work concerns proposals for UN reform and effective global environmental governance.
9th IEF Webinar: Examples of Environmental Education for Children Inspired by Spiritual Teachings
18 December 2021 with Sabine Schlenkermann, a dual-language webinar in both English and German.
Description: Sabine Schlenkermann has a wealth of experience teaching children’s classes focused on environmental education and citizen science. She draws inspiration from the Baha’i teachings on the environment as well as teachings from other religious traditions. This presentation will focus on the activities she’s done, especially outdoor activities for children and families, that can give you ideas to implement with your family and community.
Speaker Curriculum vitae: Sabine Schlenkermann studied Geography and has worked for 30 years as a landscape planner in Germany. She is also engaged in Citizen Science for nature reserves (Bürgerwissenschaft für Naturschutz) mostly on a non-profit basis. She lives close to Leipzig and has 4 adult children.
The lecture series was paused for four months in 2021 due to the need to focus on the IEF 25 Annual Conference in association with the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in November 2021, but was restarted in December.
8th IEF Webinar Discussion: Carbon Footprint – Do Our Individual Actions Matter?
24 July 2021
For our IEF webinar in July, instead of a lecture followed by questions, there was an informal discussion on a theme: the history and value of the concept of a personal carbon footprint, comparing this to the value of initiatives taken collectively. We listened to a podcast episode from How to Save a Planet during the meeting and used the arguments presented as a launching pad for our discussion (feel free to listen if you want): https://gimletmedia.com/shows/howtosaveaplanet/xjh53gn
7th IEF Lecture
Our IEF webinar with John Krochmalny on 24 June 2021 was on
“Start Living Now to Embrace the Next Economy”
To live and thrive in the next economy, new individual and collective paradigms need to be established. New definitions of what constitutes wealth and prosperity must be understood and applied. Because modeling a behavior needs to be taught to those potential adoptees, training is a necessary component of this transition. This presentation focused on the need for change, what types of economic behaviors and training will be necessary for the future society, behaviors based upon spiritual values, and how this relates to the Baha’i Commonwealth.
John Krochmalny is a retired instructor from Northwest State Community College, Archbold, Ohio, USA, and is still serving higher education in various capacities related to Workforce Development. His specialties include Industrial Electricity, Automation, Process Control, Energy Management, and Climate Control. Under his leadership, the MultiFaith Council of Northwest Ohio was able to compile and present data that led to the 2014 City of Toledo and Lucas County Ohio being declared a Community of Compassion as recognized by the International Charter of Compassion. Last year (2020), John developed and published curriculum for individual Values & Character Development for use by human resource departments in the workplace – available free of charge and covered under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://www.skillscommons.org/). John is serving on the Executive Boards of Science Alliance (SAVE) and the Lucas County Impact Coalition, as well as participating in several social-economic development projects in the area. John considers himself to be a practitioner rather than a theoretician and is an active member of the Sylvania Baha’i Community of Sylvania, Ohio, USA.
The sixth lecture by Ndeley Agbaw was on 22 May 2021 on
UN World Food Programme in the Lake Chad Region
In response to the goals set by world leaders under the SDGs, the World Food Programme (WFP), which is the food arm of the United Nations, adopted SDGs 2 and 17. In the Republic of Chad in Central Africa, WFP has worked with both the central and local governments as well as other agencies and NGOs to achieve these goals. In doing so, WFP established 13 field offices in the country and signed various MOUs with partners and government institutions. These arrangements that aim to achieve zero hunger (SDG 2) and help with capacity development among various institutions are covered under a number of project areas such as emergency food distribution, seasonal assistance to vulnerable communities, emergency school feeding, nutrition focused activities and supporting vulnerable communities to build against various shocks. In addition, supply chain management and capacity development of our partners and government institutions play a major role. These activities are carried out in the Lake Chad Province, which is the focus of this discussion as well as other provinces of the country.
Ndeley Agbaw was born in Cameroon where he did his early education. He then continued his studies at Eastern Connecticut State University before undertaking an internship at the UN that was organized by the Bahá'í International Community. Thereafter he served as a volunteer at the Bahá'í World Centre in Haifa before going to Angola where he began his UN career. He has worked with the WFP in various capacities since 1992 in various countries and is presently based in Bol, Lake Province in Chad as Head of the WFP Field Office.
The 5th IEF Lecture on Saturday 24 April 2021 was on
Deforestation – interconnected Causes and Solutions
presented by Michael Richards is now posted on the IEF webinar playlist: https://tinyurl.com/7p09o73q
This talk presents a personal view of the causes of, and solutions to, tropical deforestation. Following a brief review of the environmental, social and economic importance of forests, I look at the main causes of deforestation and forest degradation, both the direct or immediate drivers and the underlying causes. Most of these are values or consumer education-related. But some, like those associated with poverty drivers, are more nuanced. I will then look at some of the main international strategies that have been promoted to counteract deforestation. The presentation particularly explores the ‘win-win’ potential of a ‘rights-based’ approach that involves supporting the land rights and forest management practices of forest-dependent communities, especially indigenous peoples. Ultimately, any effective and durable solution comes back to global governance and the values that underpin it.
Dr. Michael Richards’ article “Deforestation – What is Causing it and How can we Prevent it?” was published in the September 2014 issues of IEF Leaves https://iefworld.org/newslt63 and is also available here: https://everlastingearth.box.com/v/Richards-Deforestation
Dr Michael Richards is a natural resources economist with 40 years experience in Latin America, Asia and Africa. He has worked in Malawi, Sri Lanka, Mexico, Honduras and Ghana. Since the early 1990s his work for various international NGOs and UN agencies has focused on policy, and social and institutional issues around the sustainable management and conservation of tropical forests.
The fourth lecture on Saturday 27 March 2021 was on:
Discourse: A Baha’i Perspective
presented by Dr. Stephen Friberg. The lecture is now posted on the IEF webinar playlist at https://tinyurl.com/7p09o73q.
The Universal House of Justice has asked the Baha'i community to engage in the discourses of society. Discourse, along with social action, is one of the ways that we can apply good and transformative ideas to change and improve society. It is the action component of our activities and where the rubber hits the road for learning and being involved in our communities, towns, places of work, and our professional spaces. What is discourse, why are we being asked to participate in it, and how do we do it? This presentation and discussion addressed these questions, with a focus on discourse applied to environmental issues.
The third lecture in the IEF Lecture Series on 20 February was presented by Prof. Rafael Shayani of Brazil on:
The lecture is now posted on the IEF webinar playlist: https://tinyurl.com/7p09o73q
The fact that the energy system has been practically the same since its inception is partly related to the traditional training that engineering students receive at universities. In order for the energy sector to be able to align itself with the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, students graduating from universities need to have studied these issues - but in most cases they have not. Even though engineering is a traditional and important profession for ensuring the growth of infrastructure within a country, there is a need to modernize university programs so as to train professionals with new capabilities required by current demands. Students often choose engineering programs because they want to help society progress. By understanding environmental and social issues that predominate in our world, students will be properly prepared to address the challenges most important today. Dr. Shayani’s wrote an article on this topic for IEF, it can be found here.
Speaker Bio: Rafael Amaral Shayani, IEF member, has an electrical engineering degree with a focus on power and energy. He obtained his MS and PhD on photovoltaic solar energy. He is professor of electrical engineering at University of Brasilia, Brazil.
The second lecture in the IEF Lecture series on Saturday 23 January 2021 featured Dr. Joachim Monkelbaan who talked about:
Exploring Barriers to Justice and Sustainability in Economic Systems:
Discussion on Root Causes and Potential Remedies
The video recording is now posted on the IEF webinar playlist: https://tinyurl.com/7p09o73q
We are at a critical juncture as we face a growing number of global challenges that we can remedy if we act boldly and in unity. Many of those challenges, including climate change and inequality, have economic root causes. On this basis, the questions at the heart of this piece are the following:
Which challenges is the world facing?
What are the root causes of those challenges?
What could be some remedies for addressing the root causes (including concepts such as circular economy, doughnut economics, green deals, and indicators of success that go beyond GDP)?
What opportunities does the pandemic and its aftermath offer for making the economic systems more just, sustainable, and resilient?
Joachim Monkelbaan is Representative for Sustainable and Just Economic Systems at the Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO) in Geneva, Switzerland. He lectures on sustainability governance at International University in Geneva. Previously, Joachim has worked with organizations such as UN Environment (Economics and Trade Branch), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), WHO, and Climate-KIC. He was a team leader for several Sustainability Impact Assessments of trade agreements for the European Commission (DG Trade). He did postdoctoral research at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and at the Institute for Developing Economies (IDE) in Tokyo, Japan. His book on Governance for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is available now. He holds a Ph.D in governance for sustainable development from the University of Geneva and Master’s Degrees from the World Trade Institute and Maastricht University.
The first IEF webinar was held on 6 December 2020, with IEF President Arthur Dahl speaking on:
Many of today's existential threats including climate change, biodiversity loss, resource depletion, and mass population displacements are interrelated and can only be managed effectively at the global level. Yet, present mechanisms for global environmental governance are woefully inadequate to the need for urgent action all around the world. The good efforts of some are neutralized if not reversed by the contrary actions of others. We shall explore recent proposals for global governance for the 21st century that could finally manage the necessary transition to sustainability while embodying the principles of world federalism and the oneness of humanity.
His powerpoint presentation with the main content can be downloaded here.
Last updated 16 May 2023