Newsletter of the
INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENT FORUM
Volume 24, Number 5 --- 15 May 2022
Article submission: firstname.lastname@example.org Deadline next issue 10 June 2022
Secretariat Email: email@example.com Christine Muller General Secretary
Postal address: 12B Chemin de Maisonneuve, CH-1219 Chatelaine, Geneva, Switzerland
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From the Editor, Request for information for upcoming newsletters
This newsletter is an opportunity for IEF members to share their experiences, activities, and initiatives that are taking place at the community level on environment, climate change and sustainability. All members are welcome to contribute information about related activities, upcoming conferences, news from like-minded organizations, recommended websites, book reviews, etc. Please send information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please share the Leaves newsletter and IEF membership information with family, friends and associates, and encourage interested persons to consider becoming a member of the IEF.
IEF Annual Conference, 1 – 5 June 2022
This year's IEF Conference will take place in connection with the UN Stockholm+50 meeting. See the detailed conference information below.
Check out the IEF website for more conference information and registration here: https://iefworld.org/conf26
The IEF warmly welcomes the following new members and associates:
Bahiyyih Adebayo, USA
Patrick Dahmen, Switzerland
Gloria Z Lindberg, USA
Ariana Rosenberg, Australia
Richard Groom, United Kingdom
Ebissa Gadissa Kedir, Ethiopia
Kabir Uddin Malik, India
Alexander Mayer, Switzerland
Lalit Yadav, India
The IEF regrets to report the passing of member Robin Jilderda in 2021.
IEF Data Base and Email List
In the future, the IEF email list will be generated from the user accounts on the IEF website. Much work is continuing to figure out some of the discrepancies between the IEF email list and the information in the user accounts. Many of you have received emails from us requesting clarification about their preferred email address or about creating a user account. The IEF Board again thanks IEF member Mike Semple in Switzerland for his dedication and hard work!
26th Annual Conference of the International Environment Forum
In association with Stockholm+50
1 – 5 June 2022
For detailed program and speaker information, visit the IEF conference website:
The 26th Conference of the IEF will be a contribution to the Stockholm+50 International Meeting, with virtual and local events in Stockholm, Sweden, 1-5 June 2022 in collaboration with the Wilmette Institute, the Baha'i International Community, the Swedish Interfaith Council, the Baha'i Community of Sweden and other partners.
All IEF panel events have been accepted as official associated events at Stockholm+50.
Global Environmental Governance: Ethical Foundations & Practical Proposals
Wednesday 1 June at 09:30 CEST / 14:30 WAT (Nigeria) 19:00 IST (New Delhi)
Humanity's shared destiny as a species is coming into ever greater focus through compounding crises and tremendous societal advances, yet our current institutional structures are struggling to meet the demands of this moment. This dialogue will, in honor of the Stockholm+50 conference, explore both the ethical foundations and practical proposals necessary for our governing systems to ensure a flourishing relationship between humanity and the natural world.
Baha'i International Community associated event with the International Environment Forum as one partner, at the Swedish Parliament For updated information, visit the IEF website: https://iefworld.org/conf26
Interfaith Prayers for the Success of Stockholm+50
Tentative time: Wednesday 1 June at 16:30-17:30pm
Outdoor event close to Mynttorget the parliament Date, time, and place have not yet been confirmed. Organized by the Swedish Interfaith Council, the Baha'is of Sweden and others with IEF collaboration.
For updated information, visit the IEF website: https://iefworld.org/conf26
Global Systems Accounting Beyond Economics
Friday 3 June, 19:00-20:00 CEST (10am PDT, 1pm EDT), virtual IEF event in partnership with ebbf-Ethical Business Building the Future, Baha’i International Community, Global Governance Forum and Wilmette Institute
Click here to register.
The panelists will present a new approach to non-financial global systems accounting covering the environment (carbon, biodiversity, pollution), human well-being (minimum living standard, food, health) and social accounting (work and service, knowledge and education, and spiritual capital).
- Arthur Dahl (Switzerland)
- Rebecca Teclemariam Mesbah (Bosnia-Herzegovina)
- Sara DeHoff (USA)
- Nan Chen (Germany)
Moderator: Laurent Mesbah (Bosnia-Herzegovina)
Empowering Local Sustainable Communities
Saturday 4 June, 19:00-20:00 CEST (10am PDT, 1pm EDT), virtual IEF event
Click here to register.
The panelists will discuss how local sustainable communities can be empowered with a culture of learning, adapting science for everyone, reading the local reality, and consulting to achieve resilience, regeneration, climate mitigation and adaptation, with panelists presenting case studies from around the world.
- Kim Naqvi (Canada) Teaching the Cultural and Political Dimensions of Sustainable Consumption
- Willy Missack (Vanuatu)
- Neil Whatley (Canada) Empowering Farmers Leads to Sustainable Agriculture
- Judith Bakirya (Uganda)
Moderator: Wandra Harmsen (USA)
Intergenerational Perspectives on Visions for the Future
Sunday 5 June at 14:00-15:30 CEST (8am EDT, 13:00 WAT, 17:30 IST), virtual IEF event
Click here to register for this event.
This event will bring together a participant from the original 1972 Conference reflecting on his aspirations at that time and what we have learned since, alongside youth expressing their hopes and vision for the future and articulating their ongoing efforts to lay a foundation for that future locally and globally.
- Arthur Dahl (Switzerland)
- Desta Mesbah (Bosnia/The Netherlands)
- Kiara Ehsani (Kenya/Israel)
- Matteen Kashef (USA)
- Sayali Dubash (India)
- Elsa Deshmuk (Puerto Rico)
- Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen (The Netherlands)
- Cedric Åkermark (Sweden)
The IEF 26th International Conference 2022
Some background information from the Conference Planning Team
The 26th Conference of the IEF will be a contribution to the Stockholm+50 International Meeting, with virtual and local events in Stockholm, Sweden, 1-5 June 2022 in collaboration with the Wilmette Institute, the Baha'i International Community, the Swedish Interfaith Council, the Baha'i Community of Sweden and other partners. A principal purpose of the International Environment Forum (IEF) as a Baha’i-inspired organization is participation in public discourse to express how spiritual principles can provide solutions to the environmental problems of the world and influence the institutions of society to turn in their direction.
The Stockholm+50 International Meeting of governments on 2-3 June is an opportunity to reach out to a receptive audience through public discourse, both during the event itself and by recording that discourse for continued sharing afterwards.
The IEF will be associated with five events, representing five themes of public discourse: the unity of religion, world unity among governments, the Baha’i vision of a just and ever-advancing civilisation in harmony with nature, building change starting in local communities, and empowering the youth to take this all forward.
Strengthening Global Environmental Governance will be the topic of an In-Person Event to be held in the Swedish Parliament Building on Wednesday, 1 June at 09:30 CEST. It is organized by the Baha'i International Community with the International Environment Forum as one partner. At a time when the failures of governance at all levels become blindingly obvious, this event will highlight constructive ways forward, building on the Baha’i International Community experience at the UN and efforts of the Global Governance Forum, the Climate Governance Commission, and other proposals for global institutions leading toward a more peaceful world.
There will be Interfaith Prayers for the success of Stockholm+50, possibly at Mynttorget, a public square in the old town in central Stockholm near the Swedish Parliament, tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, 1 June at 16:30-17:30pm CEST. Organized by the Swedish Interfaith Council, the Baha'is of Sweden and others with IEF collaboration, this event will bring people from different faiths and backgrounds together to pray and call for adhering to the high standards of ethics inherent in all religions.
The IEF is planning three virtual panel discussions for its 26th Annual Conference. All of them were accepted as official associated events at Stockholm+50.
The first event, Global Systems Accounting Beyond Economics, will take place on Friday 3 June, 19:00-20:00 CEST (1pm EDT). It will report on an exciting project that started about half a year ago when Arthur Dahl, IEF President, wrote a paper on Global Systems Accounting Beyond Economics. Since then, nine working groups have been exploring this new approach to non-financial global systems accounting, conceptually replacing the measures of the materialist economic system with standards of human and environmental well-being. The aim is to reflect a Baha’i-inspired vision of a just society in harmony with nature with science-based measures of progress.
After an overview of the concept by Arthur Lyon Dahl (Switzerland), Rebecca Teclemariam Mesbah (Bosnia-Herzegovina) will explain the environment accounts for carbon (energy), biodiversity and pollution. Sarah DeHoff (USA) will describe accounts for the elimination of poverty and extreme wealth, and meeting basic human needs for food and health. Nan Chen (Germany) will present the essentials of social accounting, including work and service, advancing knowledge and education, and placing values and the higher human spiritual purpose at the heart of the system through spiritual capital.
The panel Empowering Local Sustainable Communities will take place on Saturday 4 June, 19:00-20:00 CEST (1PM EDT). Moderated by Wandra Harmsen (USA), this event will feature Kim Naqvi (Canada), Willy Missack (Vanuatu), Judith Bakirya (Uganda) and Neil Whatley (Canada) presenting case studies from around the world that demonstrate a culture of learning, adapting science for everyone, reading the local reality, and consulting to achieve resilience, regeneration, climate mitigation and adaptation. Specific topics include the cultural and political dimensions of sustainable consumption and empowering farmers to achieve sustainable agriculture to promote the acceleration of the implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development in the context of the UN Decade of Action.
Over the past months, the topic of community building has been consulted about in over 10,000 Baha’i conferences around the globe. The real-life case stories from the panelists will certainly further enrich that worldwide conversation.
The Intergenerational Perspectives on Visions for the Future will take place on Sunday, 5 June, 14:00-15:00 CEST (8AM EDT). Moderated by Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen (The Netherlands) and Cedric Åkermark (Sweden), this event brings together a participant from the original 1972 Conference, reflecting on his aspirations at that time and what we have learned since, alongside youth expressing their hopes and vision for the future and articulating their ongoing efforts to lay a foundation for that future locally and globally. There is a widespread call for more involvement of youth, so in this event, youth will present how they as young Baha’is are preparing for their future.
The panelists are Arthur Dahl (Switzerland), reflecting on his vision as a young Baha’i at the 1972 Stockholm Conference and where it led, followed by the personal visions of Desta Mesbah (Bosnia), Kiara Ehsani (Kenya/Israel), Matteen Kashef (USA), Sayali Dubash (India), and Elsa Deshmuk (Puerto Rico).
The IEF conference planning team (Douglas Gilbert, Cedric Åkermark, Kathryn Neal, Anisha Prabhu, Kimiya Koshkou, Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen, Arthur Dahl, Christine Muller) look forward to welcoming you at the conference!
United Nations Conference on the Human Environment
Stockholm, Sweden, 5-16 June 1972
The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (UNCHE), in Stockholm, Sweden, 5-16 June 1972, with Maurice Strong as Secretary-General, was the first major UN conference to deal with the environment as a global issue. Concern about human impacts on the environment had been growing through the 1960s, with Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring” in 1962 warning of pesticide impacts on birds, the Torrey Canyon oil spill in 1967 and the Santa Barbara oil spill in 1969, among others. Growing public pressure pushed governments into action. This paper documents the participation of the Bahá’í International Community in this conference that launched the multilateral intergovernmental approach to the environment. As we approach its fiftieth anniversary in June 2022, still facing the environmental crises of climate change, biodiversity loss and planetary pollution among others, recalling how the process started can help us to plan for the further efforts required in the years ahead.
This was the first major UN conference where non-governmental organization (NGO) observers were accredited to contribute. There was, of course, already accreditation possible to the UN Office of Public Information (OPI), and then to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), with the Bahá’í International Community (BIC) already accredited in 1948 to OPI and in 1970 to ECOSOC. This allowed the BIC to send two accredited observers to the Stockholm Conference: Dr. Arthur Lyon Dahl, an environmental scientist from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., USA, and Torleif Ingelög, also a biologist and environmental specialist from the Royal College of Forestry in Sweden. The list of accredited NGO observers includes 29 representatives of 15 organizations, but there were about 600 observers in all, with about 135 from NGOs and others in delegations.
If you would like to read more about the interesting history of Baha’i involvement at the Stockholm Conference 50 years ago, visit Arthur Dahl’s recollections here: http://yabaha.net/dahl/bahai/Stockholm1972/Stockholm1972.html
The article includes the picture of The Environment and Human Values: A Bahá’í View which was written by the BIC and distributed as a pamphlet in both English and Swedish to all delegates, NGOs, and the press, as well as a report about an Exhibit on Human Values for a Human Environment, sponsored by the Baha’i International Community. The most interesting part for a Baha’i environmental historian is probably the section on BIC participation in the UN Conference.
From Stockholm and Back
Portrait of Arthur Dahl in Sveriges Natur
The main Swedish nature magazine Sveriges Natur featured in its April 2022 edition a four-page portrait of IEF President Arthur Dahl and his fifty years of work for the environment since participating in the UN Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm in 1972.
You can see the pictures and read the article in Swedish here: https://iefworld.org/node/1249
Launch of Global Systems Accounting
A new issue area on the IEF website
For several months, some IEF members and others from our partner organization ebbf - Ethical Business Building the Future - have been working on a new concept for Global Systems Accounting beyond economics, to develop non-financial ways to measure progress towards human well-being and environmental sustainability in a systems science perspective beyond GDP, also reflecting a more ethical approach. There are environmental accounts for 1. Carbon (energy), 2. Biodiversity and 3. Pollution, human well-being accounts for 4. Minimum living standard (poverty), 5. Food and 6. Health, and social accounts for 7. Work and service, 8. Knowledge and education, and 9. Spiritual capital and values.
The accounts are designed to be adapted to the global, national, community and individual levels. This work has proceeded on several platforms, so IEF has created a new issue area on its own website to provide an overview of the process and its progress.
Global Systems Accounting issue home page, with links to a separate page for each dimension of the accounts
Global Systems Accounting: Beyond Economics, the foundational background paper on the new concept by Arthur Dahl, updated regularly
Arthur Dahl's initial webinar for ebbf in December 2021
Food 2050 Series
Information sent by IEF member Paul Hanley IEF member
Paul Hanley is part of a group of 10 food system visionaries that received the Rockefeller 2050 Food System Vision Prize.
On Earth Day, 10 short documentaries on these visions were released which you can watch here: https://www.food2050series.com/series
The project Paul Hanley has been involved in is called kwayēskastasowin wâhkôhtowin. This is the direct link to its 8 min. video: https://www.food2050series.com/episodes/kwayeskastasowin-wahkohtowin
Here is a summary of that particular project: In Canada’s Treaty Four Territory, indigenous peoples’ systems of agriculture were destroyed by colonization. Now, indigenous people and settlers work together to decolonize the food system and work towards indigenous food sovereignty through regenerative, organic methods of farming and youth education.
The website concisely describes the purpose of promoting these visions:
By 2050, the global population will reach almost 10 billion.
To meet food demand in 2050, dramatic changes must be made to food production and consumption.
Current food production systems and the diets they deliver are the #1 cause of preventable death.
The #1 cause of greenhouse gas emissions.
And use 70% of fresh water, amidst droughts and water scarcity increasing globally.
In 2019, The Rockefeller Foundation announced the Food System Vision Prize. An initiative to seek out and highlight visions for improving the global food systems and addressing our planet's biggest challenges.
Over 1,300 submissions from 4,000 organizations spanning 119 countries were received.
10 were selected. These are the visions chosen to light the way to a better 2050.
Free Training Program for Educators for Sustainable Development
Deadline for Application: 20 May 2022
Information sent by IEF member Victoria Thoresen
Source: Global Schools Program: https://www.globalschoolsprogram.org/apply
The Global Schools Program is launching applications for the fourth cohort of the Global Schools Advocates Program. This program promotes transformative change in classrooms in support of SDG 4.7 by integrating sustainable development into teacher training to improve student learning. Selected teachers will undergo a month-long training program on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). The training program will be delivered online, with the ability for teachers to interact with a global cohort of educators.
During the comprehensive training program, educators will be introduced to the Sustainable Development Goals and learn about action-based pedagogy and ideas to integrate ESD, Global Citizenship Education, and 21-st century skills into the classrooms. After the successful completion of the training, educators will receive the Global Schools Advocate title as well as the Global Schools Advocate Toolkit and begin their journey to integrate ESD into schools. Advocates will be tasked with inspiring their fellow teachers and school leaders to take up action for the SDGs, as well as incorporate sustainable development within their lesson plans. Advocates will act as a driving force within their school community to ensure sustainable development is introduced and adopted into school curriculum and operations.
Updated 15 May 2022