Leaves 13(4) May 2011


Newsletter of the
Volume 13, Number 4 --- May 2011



2 May 2011
Website: iefworld.org
Article submission: newsletter@iefworld.org Deadline next issue 10 June 2011
Secretariat Email: ief@iefworld.org General Secretary Emily Firth
Postal address: 12B Chemin de Maisonneuve, CH-1219 Chatelaine, Geneva, Switzerland, Tel: +41 (0)22 797 0211

From the Editor

Please share the Leaves newsletter and IEF membership information with family, friends and associates. Please encourage interested persons to consider becoming a member of the IEF.

Request for information for upcoming newsletters

Please share your experiences, activities, and initiatives that are taking place at the community level on climate change action. Please also share information about upcoming conferences, like-minded organizations, recommended websites, book reviews, etc. Please send information to be included in upcoming newsletters to HYPERLINK "mailto:newsletter@ief.org" newsletter@ief.org.


Next IEF Conference in Australia - Save the dates

The 15th IEF Annual Conference will be held in Hobart, Tasmania, on 10-11 December 2011, on the theme: Ethical Responses to Climate Change, with the collaboration and support of the Bahá'í Community of Australia. An exciting programme is being planned. More information will be available in the next newsletter.


From the Global Ethics Forum

The International Environment Forum is now a partner of the Global Ethics Forum, a project of the Geneva-based Foundation Globethics.net. As partners we should like to invite you as members of IEF to participate in the forthcoming Conference of the Global Ethics Forum taking place in Geneva, Switzerland from 30 June to 1 July 2011.

Online registration is now open for the Geneva Conference 2011. Special rates are available for those who register by 13 May. IEF members who are able to attend but cannot afford the registration fee should contact the IEF at info@iefworld.org.


The Geneva Conference 2011 of the Global Ethics Forum brings together participants from the public and private sector, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, governments, academic institutions and individuals under the theme The Value of Values in Business: Global Perspectives, Practical Solutions. Over 50 world class speakers will guide discussions during the two days of workshop sessions at the International Conference Centre Geneva with closing and opening plenaries at the United Nations Office at Geneva (Palais des Nations).


The Global Ethics Forum project 2011-2013 with its focus on business ethics builds on the successes of the 2009 Conference that took place at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland from 2 to 3 July 2009. The Global Ethics Forum project is not just an annual event but an ongoing  process involving four activities: events, research, exchange and documentation. The goals of the project include providing opportunities for multi-stakeholder dialogue with a number of partners to provide innovative practical solutions to problems faced by the business community and by the wider community in relation to corporate responsibility.

More information is available on the project  here, including links to the  registration pages, the latest version of the  programme and the list of partners.


IEF and The Geneva Interfaith Forum on Climate Change, Environment and Human Rights

The International Environment Forum is participating in discussions with the Geneva Interfaith Forum on Climate Change, Environment and Human Rights. Last month, Emily Firth represented the IEF at a recent meeting of this informal group during which agreement was reached by the members to prepare a Call For Action on the role of climate change in its impact with human rights. Outlined below, the Call For Action will be shared with other NGOs who are also working to prepare the discussion on climate change for the next Human Rights Council Session and in the lead up to the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP) 17 in Durban later in 2011. The members of the group will also seek to engage a number of government delegates for an exchange of ideas and views.

The Geneva Interfaith Forum on Climate Change, Environment and Human Rights

THE GENEVA INTERFAITH FORUM ON CLIMATE CHANGE, ENVIRONMENT AND HUMAN RIGHTS is an informal group of faith-based NGOs that gathered to reaffirm the responsibility of each faith and spiritual tradition to care for the environment and play a role in addressing Climate Change and its impact on the Human Rights of the world’s population.

Climate Change is and will continue to cause disasters affecting every aspect of human life and nature. In all regions of the world peoples are suffering the consequences. In some countries peoples are being and will be affected more severely than in others. Peoples that have a strong and direct link to nature and those that are extremely dependent on their environment are particularly vulnerable such as peoples living in the small islands. However, even if currently we distinguish between the most and the least affected we must keep in mind that in the near future it will undoubtedly affect the whole world.

Thus, it becomes imperative that the international community and all sectors of civil society mobilize to tackle the hurdles that obstruct progress. It becomes vital to act to bring about the changes needed to generate rapid solutions to the consequences of climate change; the cost of delaying further responsible decision making will disrupt the social, economic, political and cultural life of peoples and nation states.

More coordinated action building on what has already been done is urgently needed. For example the OHCHR prepared an analytical study on Climate Change and Human Rights (A/HRC/10/61) and the Human Rights Council is working since 2008, passed resolutions and organized a panel discussion on the relationship between climate change and human rights.

It is our expectation that the Human Rights Council continues to work towards the realization of human rights and to ensure that the human rights obligations and commitments are taken into consideration when decision are taken during national and international climate change negotiations.

As we are preparing for the UNFCCC COP 17 to be held 28 November – 9 December 2011 in Durban, South Africa the Geneva Interfaith Forum on Climate Change, Environment and Human Rights would like to join forces with NGOs and Civil Society movements that are already working in this area with the aim to have a greater impact as future actions are being prepared.

We are calling on NGOs, Civil Society movement and government officials to come together and discuss possible steps that could be taken now and in preparation of the upcoming Human Rights Council sessions.

Brahma Kumaris Spiritual University
Franciscan International
International Catholic Center of Geneva
Indigenous Peoples Ancestral Spiritual Council
International Environment Forum
Quakers United Nations Office
World Council of Churches


Symposium on Ethics of Environmental Health

Czech Republic, 24-27 August 2011 http://www.seeh2011.org

The first Symposium on Ethics of Environmental Health will take place in Prague, Czech Republic, August 24-27. It will be a satellite meeting of the 14th International Congress of Radiation Research in Warsaw, August 28 - September 1.

The ethical concepts underlying our system of radiation protection have received increasing attention over the last few years, but there seems to be little cross-fertilization with the discussion of related ideas in other areas of environmental health. Therefore this symposium will address a whole range of topics including toxicology, risk research, and biomonitoring. It is hoped that colleagues from radiation research will find the programme as interesting as those from other areas of environmental health as well as those from different fields of applied ethics.

The symposium is organized on behalf of the Society of Radiation Research and Emergency Planning in the Czech Medical Association. The organizing committee comprises internationally renowned experts on ethics and environmental health. Key note speakers will be Deborah Oughton (Norway),  Steven Gilbert (USA), Sven Ove Hansson (Sweden), Susanne Bauer (Germany) and Colin Soskolne (Canada).

For further information, please refer to http://www.seeh2011.org/

Submitted by IEF member Friedo Zoelzer, Department of Radiology and Toxicology, Faculty of Health and Social Studies, University of South Bohemia in Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic


Short News Items

From the United Nations Rio+20

February 23 2011 - New web site launched http://www.uncsd2012.org

The Secretariat of the Rio+20 Conference has launched an updated website, accessible at http://www.uncsd2012.org. The website provides detailed background information about the conference, including an extensive document library, listing of preparatory meetings, news stories and other relevant information.

New Report – A Green Economy for Canada: Consulting with Canadians - 13 Apr 2011

Submitted by: Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy (CIELAP)

CIELAP's new report A Green Economy for Canada: Consulting with Canadians sought the perspectives of diverse government and non-governmental organizations and thought leaders across Canada on what a Green Economy could mean for Canada in the lead-up to the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development. Recommendations are provided in preparing for the Summit, including a call for Federal leadership in adopting principles and practices to embrace a Green Economy. The publication can be viewed here: http://www.uncsd2012.org/rio20/index.php?page=view&type=400&nr=21&menu=…

From The Earth Charter Initiative

By ECI Sec 3 Published 03/23/2011

The Annual Report for 2010 has just been released. The Report details the work of the Earth Charter International and the Initiative over the past year, outlining projects and activities led both by the ECI Secretariat and by ECI Affiliates, youth groups, partners, and volunteers, including everything from publications to teacher training, conferences, on-line workshops, and courses for youth leaders. Highlights include: reports from EC+10 celebrations across the world; updates on the construction of a new, green facility for the ECI Secretariat; and the Earth Charter International’s goals and vision for 2011.

From Connect 2 Earth

100% Renewable Energy by 2050? The Energy Report is a bold, new vision of a world run entirely on renewable energy by 2050. It shows that such a transition is not only possible but also cost-effective, providing energy that is affordable for all and producing it in ways that can be sustained by the global economy and the planet. Two years in preparation, the first part seeks to generate a discussion around the comprehensively researched scenario that is presented in the second part, conducted by project partner consultancy Ecofys. 

20 new long-term eco plans to be created by Christians and Muslims in sub-Saharan Africa

April 1, 2011:
In Kano province in Nigeria, children starting their studies at the 1,250 Muslim schools run by the mainstream Qadriyyah Sufi Movement are given two tree seedlings. One is to plant in the school orchard and the other is to take home. At the end of their school year, they are assessed on how well they have looked after their trees – and this contributes 50% of the marks they need to graduate. The idea is to tie environmental responsibility into the child. 

It is the ability by religions to take a long-term view that is at the heart of pledges made this week by 20 significant Christian and Muslim faith traditions from throughout sub-Saharan Africa and representing many millions of followers. They each pledged to create a long term plans to protect and nurture creation.

The two-day workshop organised by ARC in Nairobi, Kenya, is the latest in ARC/UNDP's commitment to helping faiths create environment plans, which was launched by Prince Philip and Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon at Windsor in 2009, a few weeks before the Copenhagen COP.

The Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC) is a UK-based charity that works with all the major religions of the world to help them develop environmental plans based on their own beliefs, practices and teachings. For the complete article: http://www.arcworld.org


Hindu Environmental Teachings

Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale: Revisioning Human-Earth Relations

April 10, 2011 By Pankaj Jain, The Huffington Post

Hinduism contains numerous references to the worship of the divine in nature in its Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, Sutras and its other sacred texts. Millions of Hindus recite Sanskrit mantras daily to revere their rivers, mountains, trees, animals and the earth. Although the Chipko (tree-hugging) Movement is the most widely known example of Hindu environmental leadership, there are examples of Hindu action for the environment that are centuries old.

Hinduism is a remarkably diverse religious and cultural phenomenon, with many local and regional manifestations. Within this universe of beliefs, several important themes emerge. The diverse theologies of Hinduism suggest that:

The earth can be seen as a manifestation of the goddess, and must be treated with respect.
The five elements -- space, air, fire, water and earth -- are the foundation of an interconnected web of life.
Dharma -- often translated as "duty" -- can be reinterpreted to include our responsibility to care for the earth.
Simple living is a model for the development of sustainable economies.
Our treatment of nature directly affects our karma.

Gandhi exemplified many of these teachings, and his example continues to inspire contemporary social, religious and environmental leaders in their efforts to protect the planet.

To read about the 10 important Hindu teachings on the environment: Dharma and Ecology of Hindu Communities: Sustenance and Sustainability (Ashgate New Critical Thinking in Religion, Theology, and Biblical Studies) by Pankaj Jain . Follow Pankaj Jain, Ph.D. on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/pankajaindia

A version of this post was published originally via GreenFaith: Interfaith Partners for the Environment. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/pankaj-jain-phd/10-hindu-environmental-te…



Do you have favorite environment & faith websites? Please share suggestions to add to this listing, which appears on the IEF website.


European Bahá'í Business Forum http://www.ebbf.org/
FUNDAEC (Colombia) and its SAT programme http://www.fundaec.org/en/programs/sat/
Agriculture Forum http://www.bcca.org/orgs/ag_forum/


FAO Sustainable Development Dimensions http://www.fao.org/sd/
UN Sustainable Development web site http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/
UN Global Compact - environment http://www.unglobalcompact.org/Issues/Environment/
UN Environment Programme http://www.unep.org/


Caribbean Environment Programme (CEP) - Jamaica http://www.cep.unep.org/
Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) - New Caledonia http://www.spc.int/
Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat - Fiji http://www.forumsec.org.fj/
Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) - Samoa http://www.sprep.org/


International Institute for Sustainable Development http://www.iisd.org/
The Earth Charter Initiative http://www.earthcharter.org/
connect2earth IUCN/WWF Green Online Community http://www.connect2earth.org
Alliance for a Responsible, United and Plural World http://www.alliance21.org/


eldis Development Information Service http://www.eldis.org
SciDev.net (Science and Development Network) http://www.scidev.net/en/
Agora21 (France) (French sustainable development web site) http://www.agora21.org/
Voluntary Work Information Service http://www.workingabroad.com/


Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC) http://www.arcworld.org/
Forum on Religion and Ecology http://fore.research.yale.edu/index.html
BBC Religion and Ethics site http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/index.shtml
RENEWAL (both a documentary film and a project on the religion-environment movement) http://www.renewalproject.net/
interfaith Power and Light (a religious response to global warming) http://interfaithpowerandlight.org/


FUNDAEC (Colombia) http://www.fundaec.org/en/
Universidad Nur (Bolivia) http://www.nur.edu/
UNIDA (Argentina) http://www.unida.org.ar/
Yale University, Project on Climate Change http://research.yale.edu/environment/climate/


Dashboard of Sustainability http://esl.jrc.it/envind/dashbrds.htm
IISD Indicators for sustainable development http://www.iisd.org/measure/
ESD inds (Values-based indicators of education for sustainable development) http://www.esdinds.eu/
We Value http://www.wevalue.org
UN Earthwatch indicators page http://earthwatch.unep.net/indicators/

Updated 2 May 2011