Wilmette Institute Course
Sustainable Development and the Prosperity of Humankind
Lead Faculty: Arthur Lyon Dahl, Faculty: Karryn Olson-Ramanujan, Melinda Salazar, Carole Flood
Duration of course: Three months, Thursday, September 15, 2011 - Thursday, December 15, 2011
Co-sponsored by the International Environment Forum
In this course we will examine the wide agreement about the need to achieve sustainable development and seek to understand its profound implications for a prosperous human society — implications that are poorly understood. From a Baha’i perspective, we will start with a general introduction to sustainable development and its goal, the prosperity of humankind. Our objectives include teaching ourselves how to think about sustainability by integrating both the material and spiritual dimensions of life into a long-term systems perspective and how to apply that thinking to questions of everyday life and lifestyle.
After studying (in Unit 2) the origins and definition of sustainable development endorsed by world leaders, we will review (in Units 3, 4, and 5) the economic, social, and environmental issues that humanity faces in achieving sustainability and discuss the spiritual principles that can help us to find solutions. We will then examine (in Unit 6) perspectives for the future, both those that show the unsustainability of the present system, including the constraints that have limited women's contribution, and those that show the need for fundamental change—all contrasted with the Baha'i vision of a new world order leading to the prosperity of humankind. In the final unit (Unit 7) we will look at the importance of education reinforced with spiritual values for sustainable development, as the basis for helping each of us detach ourselves from Western materialistic civilization, re-examine our present lifestyles, and begin to live more sustainably in accordance with the Baha'i teachings. This course is offered in observance of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-14)
You may join our online learning community either as an individual or as part of a study group (3 to 6 people). In either case, you can do all your work at home at any time of the day or night. We assign mentors to individuals and to groups to advise, encourage, assist, and answer questions. Groups are expected to meet every week or two for group discussions. Web-based forums connect all learners--individuals and members of a group--to the insights and perspectives of fellow students from all over the world.
Registrations reached the maximum of 50 by mid-August. You can still join the waiting list. If there is enough demand, the course may be offered again next year.