American Bahá'í Community and Needs of the Natural World
Letter from the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States
12 March 2021
The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States has written to the American Bahá'í community calling for united action and universal participation in efforts to address climate change and other threats to the natural world. Of course, as with all such messages at the national level, they are directed at the specific conditions in a national Baha'i community, but they can inspire us to consider what is relevant in our own communities to put Bahá'í principles into action. The letter was accompanied by a compilation of quotations on The Bahá'í Faith, Environment and Sustainable Development available on the IEF website.
March 12, 2021
To the American Bahá’í community
Dear Bahá’í Friends,
As we look ahead to our celebration of Naw-Rúz—the beginning of a new year and the start of the eagerly anticipated spring season—it is an opportune moment for us all to reflect on the needs of the natural world. Increasingly, the impacts of a changing climate are being felt both at home and abroad. A recent analysis by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration describes some of the dire environmental stress we may witness in the near future.
While it is unlikely that the institutions of the Faith will make decisions regarding the application of technical solutions to climate change, they will, no doubt, contribute over time to the discourse on spiritual responses to its causes and its remediation. In that regard, the significance of the framework for action that the Bahá’í community has developed over years of experience should not be understated. As we know, by utilizing this framework to suffuse the principles of the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh into communities across the country, localities will begin to take increasing responsibility for advancing their material and spiritual prosperity. One element of this increased sense of concern and volition may be a closer examination of the underlying forces that have driven the use of the Earth’s resources and of how moral, or not, that use has been.
Inextricably tied to the implications of applying a moral framework to our use of the Earth’s resources is participation. It is clear that tackling the pressing issues of our age—from climate change to economic inequality to racial prejudice—will require increasing levels of unity among individuals from all walks of life and involvement from all members of society.
As one contribution towards this process, the National Spiritual Assembly, through its Office of Public Affairs, has prepared a compilation exploring the intersection of the Faith, the environment, climate, and sustainable development. It can be found here and can be shared in your respective communities. The friends may also wish to consider taking the Wilmette Institute’s course on Climate Change (April 8–June 2), or hosting an event to coincide with Faith Climate Action Week, an annual initiative of Interfaith Power and Light, this year taking place April 16–25. Concurrently, April 22 is "Earth Day," which provides us all with the opportunity to participate in a variety of projects in support of the environment. We know the friends will be mindful that these endeavors are meant to enrich the work of community building—indeed, are essential to it—not compete with it.
The National Assembly hopes that these resources will be useful to you as you continue to bring the healing message of the Blessed Beauty to the communities in which you serve.
With loving Bahá’í greetings,
Kenneth E. Bowers
National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States
Last updated 17 March 2021