Leaves 14(11) December 2012


Newsletter of the
Volume 14, Number 11 --- 15 December 2012



Website: iefworld.org
Article submission: newsletter@iefworld.org Deadline next issue 13 January 2013
Secretariat Email: ief@iefworld.org General Secretary Emily Firth
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 climate change action. 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 newsletter@ief.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.

UN Climate Change Conference, Doha 2012

Download DOHA documents and see photos/video of the conference at http://www.iisd.ca/climate/cop18/enb/

IEF member, Halldor Thorgeirsson, Director for Implementation Strategy at the UN Climate Change Secretariat (UNFCCC), attended the recent climate talks in Doha, Qatar. He and Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres celebrated a milestone when all the Parties taking on new Kyoto Commitments had submitted their letters of consent.



Has it been a long time since you had a decent conversation, and do you yearn for some relief from vacuous banality?

“ELEVATE” invites you to contribute questions to stimulate meaningful conversations about the environment and life in general around the water cooler, at dinner, in the car, with family, friends.

This is your chance to help humanity think more deeply by raising the standard of social discourse.

All suggestions however well written or hastily scribbled are welcome: elevatedconversation@gmail.com

"The heart's ambitions should ascend to a more glorious goal, mental activity should rise to higher levels. Men should hold in their souls the vision of celestial perfection, and there prepare a dwelling -place for the inexhaustible bounty of the divine spirit" ‘Abdu'l-Baha.

Responding to a call from the Universal House of Justice to engage in elevated themes of conversation and higher social discourse” "ELEVATE" is a conversation starter resource for meaningful conversation on a range of topics of current and emerging social concern.

“ELEVATE” invites the friends and the wider community to explore those concerns through stimulating questions and become better informed of their own and other opinions, more confident and familiar with how to engage in social discourse, stimulate their own higher thinking skills and so contribute to the body of public opinion in an informed and constructive manner. It is intended to stimulate better conversation skills and thoughtful inquiry within families, friends and communities by elevating conversations at dinner, at work, around the water cooler, at the end of the 19 Day Feast, in the car, and the variety of social spaces where vacuous and often inconsequential conversations might otherwise proliferate.

The project presently invites suggestion for questions to stimulate meaningful conversations on the subject of environmental responsibility and stewardship. These will be collated, edited for style and then made available as a public resource.

The invitation is important to enable the project gauge the range of topics of concern and an appropriate level of inquiry, as the more and wider the response, the better will be the final resource. Once a sufficient resource has developed, this will be trialled and refined.

While recognising a number of possible iterations, the project seeks to allow its eventual form to emerge in line with the responses received, thus any and all suggestions will be valued.

This is an opportunity to participate in developing a valuable and important resource to assist participation in higher levels of social discourse through practiced skills in meaningful conversation in the area of environmental concern.

Please send suggestions to: elevatedconversation@gmail.com

With many thanks,


The Threat of Climate Change – New report from The World Bank

The World Bank has just released a major report "Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4° Warmer World Must be Avoided", available at http://climatechange.worldbank.org/. The actions pledged by governments so far to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are insufficient to keep the planet below a 2°C temperature rise in this century, making a rise of 4°C or more increasingly likely. The report summarizes the latest scientific data on the present trends and probable implications of such a rise in temperature, and the vision presented is frightening.

The report concludes that, while "uncertainty remains about the full nature and scale of impacts, there is also no certainty that adaptation to a 4°C world is possible. A 4°C world is likely to be one in which communities, cities and countries would experience severe disruptions, damage, and dislocation, with many of these risks spread unequally. It is likely that the poor will suffer most and the global community could become more fractured, and unequal than today. The projected 4°C warming simply must not be allowed to occur—the heat must be turned down. Only early, cooperative, international actions can make that happen."


Green Week in Baku, Azerbaijan

Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, celebrated Green Week on 12-16 November 2012, including an International Youth Forum, a UNEP Regional Consultation Meeting with Major Groups and Stakeholders, an open lecture at the Azerbaijani Diplomatic Academy on Environmental Diplomacy, and a Green Economy Round Table. The Green Week was organized by the International Dialogue for Environmental Action (IDEA) in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

IEF President Arthur Dahl was a featured speaker on "Stockholm to Rio+20: Are we on the right track?" at the Youth Forum, on the "participation of civil society in international environmental governance" at the regional consultation, and on "The Challenge of Environmental Diplomacy" at the Diplomatic Academy. Local participants appreciated that his book "Unless and Until: A Baha'i Focus on the Environment" has been published in Azerbaijani.


Wilmette Institute Online Course on Climate Change

Duration of course: Eight weeks (February 1 - March 30, 2013)

Lead Faculty: Christine Muller, Faculty: Arthur Lyon Dahl, Carole Flood, Melinda Salazar (see website for more detailed information about faculty)

Climate change may not be a threat to planet Earth, but it is a threat to the survival of a majority of plants, animals, human beings and to human cultures and civilization. Many people are already suffering from its devastating impacts in the form of increased water scarcity; more severe storms, floods, droughts, famines, malnutrition, diseases; and dislocation from their homes. The threat of climate change to our children and grandchildren is immense and its long term consequences are unprecedented in human history.

Climate change is more than an environmental issue. It has far-reaching implications for the economy and for our efforts to relieve poverty and to establish and maintain peace. It is no exaggeration to say that the future of human civilization is at risk because we are destroying the foundation for life on this planet.

In this course we will cover the basics of climate science to create a foundation upon which participants will be able to build their own knowledge. Within the context of the spiritual teachings found in the world’s religions, especially the Bahá’í Faith, we will explore nature and humankind; the science and the impacts of climate change; practical actions to mitigate climate change; and the spiritual and ethical dimensions connected to climate change.

Study Schedule
Friday, February 1, 2013 Introduction to the Course and to Moodle
This unit provides an opportunity to review the course web pages, click around and see what is there, and become familiar with Moodle, the course management software that runs our course. An important task is drawing up a personal learning plan (PLP) which summarizes what you will do in the course.
Tuesday, February 5, 2013 Nature and Humankind (Feb. 5-11)
Tuesday, February 12, 2013 Science of Climate Change (Feb. 12-18)
Tuesday, February 19, 2013 Impacts of Climate Change (Feb. 19-25)
Tuesday, February 26, 2013 Mitigating Climate Change (Feb. 26-Mar. 4)
Tuesday, March 5, 2013 Spiritual and Ethical Dimensions of Climate Change (March 5-11)
Tuesday, March 12, 2013 A Challenge to All of Us (March 12-18)
Tuesday, March 19, 2013 Wrap-up and Integration (March 19-21)
The unit provides time to summarize what we learned through discussion together. The most important task is to complete a learning self assessment form, which reviews how much of your personal learning plan you accomplished and what skills you acquired, values you developed, and new understandings you attained.

Individual Fee
$100.00, discounted to $90.00 if registered by Thursday, January 10, 2013

Study Group Fee (from 2-6 students)
Group Fee $240.00, discounted to $225.00 if registered by Thursday, January 10, 2013

Senior (65+), Full-Time University Student, and International Pioneer Fee
$80.00, discounted to $72.00 if registered by Thursday, January 10, 2013

Scholarships and Financial Aid
The Wilmette Institute offers a limited number of partial scholarships to individuals, available in $30 increments that it awards on the basis of need. If you request a scholarship, you may register by paying the required minimum payment of $30. Then you must submit your request for a scholarship by email to wi@usbnc.org. The registrar will apply a scholarship credit to your registration in the amount that is awarded, and you will receive notification by email if there is any balance due. To request a scholarship, you will need to provide the following information in your email:
1. An explanation of your financial need.
2. The amount of aid you are requesting in $30 increments ($30, $60, $90, and so on).
After you submit your request for a scholarship, you will hear from the Wilmette Institute within five days.

About the Wilmette Institute The Wilmette Institute, an agency of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States, offers quality on-line courses on the Bahá’í Faith. It aims to engage a broad and diverse community of learners in indepth study of the Bahá’í Faith. It offers 20-25 courses per year with an average of 20-40 students in each course.

Since 1995 the Wilmette Institute has served over 4,000 students from over 60 countries, many of whom have made important contributions to the Bahá’í community, serving as teachers, sharing what they have learned informally with family and friends, and taking more active roles in community development. Some have been inspired to continue their formal education at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

To learn more about the Wilmette Institute, visit their website at www.wilmetteinstitute.us.bahai.org


Launch of Post-2015 Thematic Consultation on Environmental Sustainability

Aiming to ensure a broad span and diversity of voices in conversations on the shape and content of the Post- 2015 Development Agenda, the United Nations Development Group (UNDG) is convening a series of country and global thematic consultations. As part of these consultations, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) are pleased to announce the launch of the post-2015 environmental sustainability global consultation. Please join the discussion by signing up at: www.worldwewant2015.org/sustainability

The objective of the consultation will be to facilitate an open dialogue that brings together a multitude of voices to stimulate creative thinking and begin to generate consensus around how best to reflect environmental sustainability in the post-2015 agenda. It is also an opportunity for taking stock of the progress and shortcomings of Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 7 on Environmental Sustainability and gauging the opportunities of alternative development paths.

All are welcome to join this open, transparent process in which we bring civil society stakeholders, academia, media, national and international non-governmental organizations, the private sector, governments, the UN system, etc.

The consultation will be divided into two phases. In order to engage stakeholders early in the process of framing the dialogue, Phase 1 (which is now underway and ends 28 December 2012) includes an open call for discussion papers on topics that stakeholders think should be a priority for the dialogue on environmental sustainability in the post-2015 agenda. Participants are encouraged to propose topics that build on MDG 7 experiences, in particular in the areas with knowledge gaps, and lessons and/or bring forward new and emerging thinking and experiences related to integrated approaches that link economic, social and environmental sustainability. The culmination of this phase will be a Leadership Meeting that will convene leading thinkers to develop a framework that defines the issues, the questions, and the organizational structure for the broader online consultation of Phase 2. In the second phase, selected participants from the Leadership Meeting will act as facilitators to engage the broadest possible relevant stakeholders on the questions and themes identified in the Leadership Meeting.

The process will culminate in a series of papers on each of the Phase 2 topics as well as a final report that summarizes global viewpoints and stakeholder concerns. This final paper will provide an input to the High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (HLP), which is scheduled to present its final report on May 31, 2013. The HLP has been asked to further elaborate the possible content of the post- 2015 development agenda. Its report to the Secretary General will be an input for the inter-governmental debate on this topic during the 2013 UN General Assembly which will start with a high level summit to review progress on the MDGs. In addition to this thematic consultation on environmental sustainability there are other opportunities to engage through various global, thematic and national consultation processes being convened by the UNDG, please visit www.worldwewant2015.org for more information.


One Country report on Rio+20

One Country (v.22(3) June-Sept.2012), the newsletter of the Baha'i International Community, has published articles on Baha'i participation in the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) that quote IEF members Duncan Hanks and Halldor Thorgeirsson and include the following reference to IEF: "Members of the Bahá’í-inspired International Environment Forum also participated in several pre-conference meetings in Rio. These included the Global Research Forum on Sustainable Consumption and Production, which drew about 80 researchers from around the world to review achievements, identify challenges, and encourage a dialogue on the issue."


Interfaith Power and Light
U.S. National Preach-in on Global Warming
8-10 February 2013

There are now IPL programs in 40 states and the District of Columbia. The 2012 National Preach-In for Global Warming was the biggest one yet, with more than 1,000 congregations holding activities. People of faith sent an estimated 37,500 postcards to U.S. Senators asking them to support clean air legislation.

Interfaith Power & Light continues to mobilize a religious response to global warming in countless ways, including our Carbon Covenant work in the developing world and Cool Harvest, which helps congregations make the food-faith-climate connection.

Order your 2013 National Preach-In on Global Warming kit while supplies last for delivery in mid-January at http://www.preachin.org/organizers-kit/order-form/. The Preach-In is Interfaith Power & Light’s biggest event of the year. On the weekend before Valentine's Day, join thousands of clergy and religious leaders in preaching and teaching about love for Creation.

- 50 “Love the Earth” postcards with attached bulletin inserts
These can be easily inserted into your service bulletin and will help educate congregants about global warming and the Preach-In. Filling out the postcards to President Obama will give people a positive and easy action that they can take to make a difference. The postcards urge the President to abide by his campaign promise to address climate change and uphold our promise to the world that the U.S. will help lead relief efforts to help vulnerable communities who are suffering due to rising seas, extreme weather, and a changing climate. Additional postcards are available upon ordering.
- DVD – “Hungry Tide”
The Pacific nation of Kiribati is on the front lines of climate change. Sea level rise is threatening the lives of 105,000 people in this vulnerable and forgotten corner of the Pacific. Maria Tiimon, a Kiribati woman living in Sydney, has been given the task of alerting the world to her sinking homeland. The film follows Maria from a small Sydney high school to the world stage. Kiribati’s President Anote Tong, acutely aware of these problems, says his government lacks the resources to fix them. The eventual relocation of his people is inevitable, he believes, noting, “We have to assume the worst.” This film tells the historic story of what may become the first nation that is forced to move due to global warming.
- Additional Materials
The kit also includes everything you need for a successful Preach-In event, including ideas for Preach- In activities, Global Warming table tent with a matching pledge sheet, a large envelope addressed to President Obama to make mailing postcards a snap, and a return survey so you can tell us about what happened!


ARC New handbook on Sustainable Water and Sanitation

A useful new handbook about water use/conservation, hygiene and sanitation has been produced by ARC's Dutch partner agencies Aqua For All and the Environmental Management Foundation (EMF). The book, entitled WASH solutions for schools has been compiled in line with the World Health Organisation's Water, Sanitation and Health (WASH) programme. WASH is a contribution to meeting UN Millennium Development Goal target 7.C to 'halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation'.

Aimed at teachers and those with responsibility for managing faith schools in the developing world the handbook offers practical, step-by-step advice intended to help them assess their needs in relation to water and decide on the best methods for meeting them. The advantages and disadvantages (including costs) of a wide variety of options for sourcing, storing and treating water and strategies for sanitation are discussed to help inform the planning stages.

EMF and ARC have been working together on this issue for some time, recognising that poor quality water and sanitation can literally be a matter of life or death: in the developing world diarrhoea kills more children than AIDS, malaria and measles combined. In 2009 Faith, Schools and Water an ARC-organised workshop of religious leaders and experts initiated the Water Schools initiative, aiming to use the immense reach of the worldwide faith schools network to educate children about hygiene and sanitation and to demonstrate the effective and sustainable use of water to their community. Some impressive results have been achieved already as was demonstrated during a seven-day Education for Sustainable Development workshop held in Nairobi in February 2012, where schools from across sub-Saharan Africa shared simple techniques for purifying drinking water.

Useful Links

Download the Waterschools WASH Solutions for Schools handbook: http://www.arcworld.org/downloads/Waterschools-WASH-solutions-for-schoo…

For more on the Water Schools project: http://waterschools.org/

To read about the WHO WASH programme: http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/en/

Climate Kids - NASA's Eyes on the Earth

Check this out !!!


While you’re on the site, don’t miss: http://climate.nasa.gov/index

Updated 26 December 2012