Message from the National Spiritual Assembly of Canada 2008


As a result of the 11th International Environment Forum Annual Conference in Ottawa, Canada, in October, 2007, the national administrative body of the Baha'is of Canada decided to send the message below to all the Baha'i communities in Canada.

24 March 2008 / 4 Splendor 165

To all Regional Baha'i Councils, Local Spiritual Assemblies and Registered Groups

Dear Baha'i Friends,

In October 2007, the Baha'i Community of Canada co-sponsored an international conference on global climate change, entitled Responding to Climate Change: Scientific Realities, Spiritual Imperatives, attracting approximately 120 Baha'i and non-Baha'i participants. This conference provided a wonderful opportunity to learn from and dialogue with leading experts in the field, exploring the spiritual and ethical dimensions of this pressing global challenge.

The resulting conference report and recommendations stimulated the National Spiritual Assembly's consideration of ways in which the day to day life of the Baha'i community can better reflect the Baha'i teachings on humanity's sacred responsibility to safeguard the environment. As long ago as Ridvan, 1989, the Universal House of Justice said that "Assisting in endeavours to conserve the environment in ways which blend with the rhythm of life of our community must assume more importance in Baha'i activities."1 Far from distracting from the process of growth underway in Canada, attention to environmental practices that respect the earth and the oneness of its inhabitants must support and sustain them. Thus, small initiatives should be undertaken to gradually increase consciousness of our "ecological footprint" and develop capacity for responsible action that responds to the challenges of global climate change.

The National Spiritual Assembly therefore now raises a call for action, asking all Councils, Local Spiritual Assemblies and Groups to consider ways to demonstrate ever-increasing sensitivity to environmental issues in the design and implementation of community activities. Larger communities with Baha'i Centres should give additional consideration to ways of managing and developing these properties in environmentally sound ways.

As Baha'i communities take conscious steps to introduce simple, ecologically healthy measures into a vibrant and dynamic community life, they will increasingly demonstrate the truth of these words of the Guardian:
"We cannot segregate the human heart from the environment outside us and say that once one of these is reformed everything will be improved. Man is organic with the world. His inner life moulds the environment and is itself also deeply affected by it. The one acts upon the other and every abiding change in the life of man is the result of these mutual reactions."2

The National Spiritual Assembly will welcome news of your initiatives and looks forward to learning of your progress.

With loving Baha'i greetings,


Karen McKye, Secretary

1 The Universal House of Justice, A Wider Horizon, p. 64

2 Shoghi Effendi, through his Secretary, from a letter dated 17 February 1933 to an individual believer, cited by the Baha'i International Community, 1998 Feb 18, Valuing Spirituality in Development

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Last updated 25 December 2008