Leaves 4(1) February 2002


Newsletter of the
Volume 4, Number 1 --- February 2002

"Reflect upon the inner realities of the universe, the secret wisdoms involved, the enigmas, the inter-relationships, the rules that govern all. For every part of the universe is connected to every other part by ties that are very powerful and admit no imbalance, nor any slackening whatsoever"



This issue of LEAVES is regrettably significantly delayed. Overworked editors, a crashed hard disc, virus - all contributed. However, the delay makes it possible to include the most recent news items regarding the IEF and the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). The newsletter has this time a number of items relating to the WSSD, in addition to reports from the 5th IEF Conference and the IEF activities at the December 2001 conference on social and economic development in Orlando.
- Sylvia Karlsson


On the 28th of January the exciting news reached the IEF that the same day the 2nd PrepCom meeting of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) had approved our application for accreditation. This means that IEF can now send observers to the deliberations of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th PrepCom as well as the Summit itself. This is a significant achievement for this as yet small and "virtual" international NGO. It will challenge us to take on the task of supporting the WSSD process, engage in it and share our thinking and ideas throughout it.


The 2nd PrepCom of the WSSD takes place 28th of January-8 February in New York and despite the short notice (from the approval of our accreditation) the IEF Board was delighted that Dr. Beth Bowen, a new IEF member who yet has extensive experience of the Rio process, accepted to represent the IEF at the second half of the 2nd PrepCom. Dr. Bowen will, among other things, participate in one of the preparatory workshops for the Implementation Conference being planned for Johannesburg by Stakeholder Forum (formerly UNED International) see www.earthsummit2002.org/ic/. The implementation conference idea was sparked by Stakeholder Forum as a means for galvanising action in several key sectoral areas. The topic of this weekend's workshop is twofold: corporate and stakeholder citizenship, and Health and HIV/AIDS - both as they impact sustainable development.

Based on the deliberations at the 5th IEF conference, a special report with the gist of the consultations and some concrete suggestions for the WSSD process, has been prepared. The report is available the IEF web site as an IEF background paper for WSSD at http://www.bcca.org/ief/wssdpc2.htm. This report will provide the basis for the input which IEF will give to the WSSD process and it will be further developed and revised in the coming months. Thus, all members are welcome to give their comments and suggestions for changes. The Board wish to thank all the conference participants for their contributions to the discussions that provided the basis for the report. Thanks go particularly to David Willis, Maxwell Ayamba and Yasmina Mata who put a lot of work in the initial writing phase.


The IEF is now accredited for the intergovernmental WSSD process but our largest efforts will be to be involved in the NGO Forum in Johannesburg held parallel to the Summit (26 August - 4 September 2002).

There are few details as yet available from the organisers of the NGO Forum and the IEF Board will have to investigate and decide in more detail how our participation will shape there. But in all circumstances we wish to encourage IEF members who have the possibility to come to Johannesburg and support our activities. Make plans now and we will inform you of more details as soon as possible.


The conference location was the beautiful new building of Townshend International School in Southern Bohemia while the trees were still sparkling in autumn colors and the view of forests, lake and an enchanting century old castle provided an enchanting backdrop.

The programme included keynote speakers Professor Bedrich Moldan of Charles University, Dr. Arthur Dahl of UNEP, and Victoria Thoresen of Norway, as well as panel discussions with researchers and practitioners in a variety of fields. The conference consultations generated ideas both to provide innovative input to the WSSD process and to contribute to emerging research agendas.

The 20 registered participants included researchers, teachers, students, and professionals from a wide range of disciplines, and practitioners in the field of environment and sustainable development. Additional students and staff from the Townshend School sat in on some sessions. Evening programmes including music, a dance workshop and an environmental play were provided by the Townshend School. The General Assembly of the International Environment Forum was held directly after the closure of the conference.

An electronic version of the conference was offered for those who could not come to the Townshend School. Participants received by e-mail advance versions of the papers presented and summaries of the discussions, and were able to send in comments to be read at the conference.

The full conference proceedings are available at the IEF website. Furthermore, an article on conference was circulated in December on the Baha'i World News Service.


Members of the International Environment Forum and interested others attended a number of sessions sponsored by the IEF at the 2001 Baha'i Conference on Social and Economic Development in the Americas, held Dec. 11-17 in Orlando, Florida. This is the 9th annual SED conference and the IEF's second year of formal participation, following last year's convening of the IEF's 4th annual conference there. The IEF sessions featured presenters from the U.S. and Canada, and participants from Haiti to Indonesia and numerous points between. The sharing of knowledge and experience among the diverse participants repeatedly led to the same conclusion: Paying attention to the spiritual aspects of problems and their solutions can give a transformative power to projects and plans, and make real change possible.

Our full-day session during the Development Seminar that precedes the conference itself attracted approximately 30 participants. The morning session opened with an inspiring slide show of photos, music, and Baha'i writings prepared by Lloyd Brown.

Sandy Gershuny and Alma Lo from Ottawa, Canada gave their presentation "The Three Sisters Garden Project: Indigenous Agricultural Values Respectful of the Environment." They described how they are attempting to meld appropriate modern agricultural techniques with traditional Mohawk and Abenaki practices in order to provide employment for low-income people while furthering agricultural methods respectful of the environment. Indigenous values form the cornerstone of this project. Adopting a foundation based on respect, cooperation, humility and gratitude toward the earth and other living beings serves the dual function of encouraging cultural restoration as well as the objectives of improved nutrition, skills training, and self-sufficiency.

The afternoon contained an introductory session on work Bob Zuber is involved in in New York City, which has evolved into the "Green Map" network of more than 180 cities around the world. The Green Map System is based on the principle of enabling people to see, recognize, and value what they already possess, by working together to document in map form the ecological, cultural, spiritual and other life-sustaining resources that exist in abundance everywhere. The coming together of community groups from all ethnic and racial backgrounds to identify the wide range of valued features in any community is an integral component of this program. The outward purpose of the maps is to increase awareness of natural surroundings and highlight resources that support sustainable lifestyles. The true outcome of the maps is actually spiritual in nature, as individuals come to discover that our environment, even in urban areas, is much richer and life-sustaining than many of us realize.

The second afternoon session, "And All Life is Sacred: First Nations Reflections on the Environment," was organized by the Sohnela Wiji (East Coast) and Honour All Nations (West Coast) drum groups. Drawing on First Nations teachings and the Baha'i writings on agriculture and the environment, members of the drum groups spoke on the interrelationship of place and people in both traditional and modern contexts and the importance of the connection with Earth in personal transformation, community healing, and building relationships. Both drum groups shared songs they have learned from native elders and those they have created by putting Baha'i writings to drum song.

Two networking sessions took place during the Seminar and Conference.


The next issue of LEAVES is planned for August at the start of WSSD.
Please send your submissions by August 10th.


The Board elected at the 5th General Assembly (Peter Adriance, Irma Allen, Arthur Dahl, Sylvia Karlsson and Roxanne Lalonde) had its first meeting (electronic) 1-21 December 2001. Arthur Dahl was then elected President and Sylvia Karlsson elected General Secretary. Major topics of discussion were evaluation of the 5th IEF Conference and plans for future engagement in the WSSD process, e.g. preparing the application for accreditation. Later in December four Board members, upon invitation, met in New York with representatives of the Baha'i International Community. The consultation centred on the WSSD. The next electronic meeting of the Board will start on 8 February.


We have received information on a virtual conference from 14-15 February 2002 on Global Ethics and Sustainable Development. This may be of interest to IEF members. Please look at the following website for more information: http://fsw.kub.nl/globus/conference/


Phil Morley (Australia)
Crawford Prentice (Malaysia)
Erick Gerstner (Sweden)
Judith Fienieg (The Netherlands)
Friedo Zölzer (Czech Republic)
Yasmina Mata Contreras (Spain)
Zoltan Orzsi (Hungary)
Karla Jamir (USA)
Beth Bowen (USA)


This is a new section in the newsletter. Here are listed the names of members whose email address is no longer valid, and news from IEF sent out to them bounces back. If any of you have the current email address of any of these members, please contact the IEF Secretariat.

Jimmy Seow
Tom Hodges
Paul Maloney


Please send information to the secretariat on changes of address etc.

Sylvia Karlsson
Sigmund Freud Str. 36
D-53127 Bonn
Email: ief @ bcca.org [no spaces]
website: www.bcca.org/ief

Please note that the response time from the Secretary varies considerably due to work travel.

Updated 7 February 2002

Sylvia Karlsson
Sigmund Freud Str. 36
D-53127 Bonn
Email: ief@bcca.org
website: www.bcca.org/ief

Please note that the response time from the Secretary varies considerably due to work travel.

Updated 7 February 2002