International Environment Forum - A Bahá'í inspired organization for environment and sustainability https://iefworld.org/ en Ecocide to be defined https://iefworld.org/node/1103 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Ecocide to be defined</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/1" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">18. November 2020 - 18:44</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><h2 style="text-align: center; color: rgb(0, 153, 0);"> Ecocide to be defined</h2> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <p>An expert drafting panel is to prepare a legal definition of “ecocide” as a potential international crime that could sit alongside War Crimes, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, in the context of a new global threat: the climate and biodiversity crisis. Launching with preparatory work this month, and set to draft the definition over the early months of 2021, the panel has been convened by the Stop Ecocide Foundation on the request of interested parliamentarians from governing parties in Sweden.</p> <p>The concept of criminalising mass damage and destruction of ecosystems or “ecocide” at a global level has been steadily gaining traction in recent months since small island states Vanuatu and the Maldives called for “serious consideration” of it at the International Criminal Court’s annual Assembly of States Parties in December last year. President Macron of France has actively promised to champion the idea and the newly formed Belgian government has pledged diplomatic action to support it. Now an impressive list of top international and environmental lawyers will be tackling how best to define it. The co-chairs of the panel are international lawyer Philippe Sands QC, a leading specialist on international public and environmental law, and Justice Florence Mumba, a judge at the ECCC (Khmer Rouge Tribunal) and former supreme court judge in Zambia.</p> <p>The aim is to harness the power of international criminal law to protect our global environment. Seventy five years ago, ‘crimes against humanity’ and ‘genocide’ were first defined in Nuremberg. The panel will draw on experience since that day to forge a definition that is practical, effective and sustainable, and that might attract support to allow an amendment to the ICC Statute to be made. An international crime of ecocide could allow individual/State responsibility to be regulated to achieve balance for the survival of both humanity and nature. There have been working definitions of ‘ecocide’ over the years and the general concept - of mass damage and destruction of ecosystems - is reasonably well understood. The text that emerges over the coming months to be proposed at the ICC must be both clear and legally robust. There is now a recognition in the legal world that Ecocide can, and perhaps should, be considered alongside Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity as one of the ‘most serious crimes of concern to humanity as a whole’.</p> <p>Source: based on Stop Ecocide press release of 17 November 2020: <a href="https://www.stopecocide.earth/press-releases-summary/top-international-lawyers-to-draft-definition-of-ecocide">https://www.stopecocide.earth/press-releases-summary/top-international-…</a></p> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <div style="text-align: center;"> <p><img src="/gr/IEFlogo5.gif" height="66" width="142"></p> <p><small>Last updated 18 November 2020</small></p> </div> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> Wed, 18 Nov 2020 16:44:25 +0000 admin 1103 at https://iefworld.org https://iefworld.org/node/1103#comments Leaves - November IEF newsletter is available https://iefworld.org/node/255 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Leaves - November IEF newsletter is available</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/1" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">15. November 2020 - 19:08</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Read on line: <a href="/newslt137"><strong><em>Leaves</em></strong> 22(11) November 2020</a> light text version with fewer illustrations.<br /> Download as a <a href="/fl/IEF_Leaves201115.pdf">pdf version</a> [315 kb].</p> <table background="/gr/BLEAF1.JPG" style="background-color: rgb(0, 153, 0); width: 100%; height: 55px; text-align: left; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"> <tbody> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> Sun, 15 Nov 2020 17:08:08 +0000 admin 255 at https://iefworld.org https://iefworld.org/node/255#comments Renewing Peace: Governance Befitting an Evolving World https://iefworld.org/node/1101 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Renewing Peace: Governance Befitting an Evolving World</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/1" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">3. November 2020 - 15:04</span> <div class="field field--name-subjects field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/70" hreflang="en">United Nations</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/96" hreflang="en">Peace</a></div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><div style="text-align: center;"> <h2 style="text-align: center; color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Renewing Peace: Governance Befitting an Evolving World</h2> <p>Bahá'í International Community<br /> One hour video roundtable for Geneva Peace Week<br /> 2-6 November 2020</p> </div> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <p>“<a href="/2020bic_UN75">A Governance Befitting</a>”, the Baha’i International Community’s statement on the 75th anniversary of the creation of the United Nations, has at its heart the principle that cooperation between nations must deepen significantly if the world is to meet its pressing challenges in the years ahead.</p> <p>The BIC roundtable discussion on this statement for Geneva Peace Week (2-6 November 2020), held with economist Dr. Augusto Lopez-Claros, international lawyer Maja Groff, and environmental sciences expert Dr. Arthur Dahl, from the Global Governance Forum, the latter two also members of the International Environment Forum, explores the oneness and interdependence of the human family that is essential to global progress. Their discussion, with Simin Fahandej, Representative of the Bahá'í International Community to the United Nations in Geneva, promotes an appreciation of diversity as the underpinning of unified action, the ability for the international community to learn together without fear of failure, the need to prioritise the common good over particular interests, and the moral assumptions that must be considered with every policy decision.</p> <p>The video can be viewed at <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HmaNDbTtVQ">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HmaNDbTtVQ</a>, and on the Geneva Peace Week website at <a href="https://eu.eventscloud.com/website/3030/digital-series-how-to-build-peace/">https://eu.eventscloud.com/website/3030/digital-series-how-to-build-pea…</a>. See also the story of 11 November 2020 from the <a href="https://news.bahai.org/story/1465/">Bahá'í World News Service</a>.</p> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <div style="text-align: center;"> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="66" src="/gr/IEFlogo5.gif" width="142" /></p> <p><small>Last updated 12 November 2020</small></p> </div> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> Tue, 03 Nov 2020 13:04:54 +0000 admin 1101 at https://iefworld.org https://iefworld.org/node/1101#comments Creating Built Environments https://iefworld.org/node/1100 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Creating Built Environments</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/3" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Arthur Dahl</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">2. November 2020 - 19:05</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><div style="text-align: center;"> <h2 style="text-align: center; color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Creating Built Environments</h2> <p><b><i>Creating Built Environments: Bridging Knowledge and Practice Divides</i></b><br /> by Roderick J. Lawrence, New York and London: Routledge, 2021. 241 p.</p> <p>Book review by Arthur Dahl</p> </div> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <p>With half the world population living in cities, one might think that we are good at building cities for people. Unfortunately, many of our social, economic, environmental and health problems are created or aggravated by poor urban design. Humans are among a small number of species that create their own living environment, along with coral reefs and colonial insects, so this is not something beyond our control. We have no excuse not to do better.</p> <p>Finally, Professor Roderick J. Lawrence from the University of Geneva, Switzerland, has written a book that tackles this problem head-on. In <i>Creating Built Environments: Bridging Knowledge and Practice Divides</i>, Professor Lawrence has drawn on a lifetime of practical and academic experience to diagnose the causes of disfunctional communities and to propose new transdisciplinary approaches to urban design and renovation bringing together designers, planners, academics, politicians and the people most affected, the urban inhabitants themselves. Importantly, he emphasises the moral and ethical dimension in ensuring the human right to good housing, good health and contact with nature. Today, too many decisions are taken for partisan or ideological reasons, to respond to the pressures of foreign investors, to maximise private sector profits at the expense of public services, or to inflate egos with prestige projects.</p> <p>I have know Roderick for a quarter century, since I helped him initiate a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Sustainable Development at the University of Geneva, and it is rare to find someone in academia so attached to breaking down barriers between disciplines. In this book, he combines the approaches of systems thinking with many practical examples to show that, while many solutions must be site-specific, we already have most of the tools and processes to do a much better job of building cities and communities for people.</p> <p>The first part of the book considers five strategic domains. In "<b>Constructing With Nature in Mind</b>", the importance of the environmental dimension and the role of nature in urban life are described, including the systems perspective and the role of fundamental values that I explored in my book "<i>The Eco Principle: Ecology and Economics in Symbiosis</i>" (Dahl, 1996), and as developed in the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Practical examples in Malaysia, Singapore, Korea and Taiwan illustrate how nature can be incorporated into urban areas. The second domain is "<b>Planning for Health and Well-being</b>", taking a comprehensive approach to healthy cities and people-health-environment interactions, including adapting to the needs of an ageing population. Next is "<b>Food for Thought</b>" showing the impacts of a urban diet increasingly dependent on highly-processed industrialised food associated with non-communicable diseases like obesity, heart disease and cancer. It proposes urban farming and designing built environments for local food production, with social as well as health benefits. In "<b>Housing Matters for All</b>", the challenges of affordable housing and environmentally-sustainable building are reviewed, with case studies from Stockholm and Zurich. The final strategic domain, "<b>Creating Incremental and Radical Change</b>", addresses the dynamics of changing human needs in cities and the lessons learned from past failures such as large housing estates. It emphasises the social dimension which has often been ignored in past planning.</p> <p>The second part of the book explores conceptual and methodological foundations, such as human ecology, bridging knowledge and practical divides, and transdisciplinary methods. Overall, Professor Lawrence delivers five key messages:<br /> • built environments and infrastructure in cities, and all the activities they contain, are sources of persistent ecological, economic and social problems, but also have high potential for innovative change and alternative responses;<br /> • built environments are key components of urban and economic development, both conventional production and consumption and innovation, and should address global challenges and implement the Sustainable Development Goals;<br /> • researchers and practitioners in the field of the built environment should reconsider their core competences and their moral responsibility in defining effective responses to global challenges in specific situations and localities;<br /> • the growing number of achievements by community associations, citizens and other enterprises in the associative sector are complementary to contributions by both the public and private sectors, and should benefit from the knowledge and know-how of practitioners and policy-makers as well as local populations;<br /> • sharing conceptual/theoretical frameworks and methodological/practical approaches between researchers and practitioners will be beneficial for a broader understanding of, and coordinated response to, complex urban challenges.</p> <p><i>Creating Built Environments</i> should be widely read by all those - professionals, decision-makers and concerned citizens - who want to address the pressing urban problems of today and build for a better tomorrow.</p> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <div style="text-align: center;"> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="66" src="/gr/IEFlogo5.gif" width="142" /></p> <p><small>Last updated 2 November 2020</small></p> </div> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-blog-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> Mon, 02 Nov 2020 17:05:32 +0000 Arthur Dahl 1100 at https://iefworld.org Thank God for Science https://iefworld.org/node/1099 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Thank God for Science</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/1" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">2. November 2020 - 0:21</span> <div class="field field--name-subjects field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/60" hreflang="en">Science</a></div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><h2 style="text-align: center; color: rgb(0, 153, 0);"> Thank God for Science</h2> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <p>On 25 October 2020, IEF member Dr. Ashiyan Rahmani of California State University, East Bay, gave a webinar on "Thank God for Science" as one of the weekly OZ Whitehead Firesides in the United Kingdom. Dr. Rahmani used the example of his own Ph.D. dissertation research in Fiji to illustrate how science and religion could be complementary and mutually reinforcing. His research looked at how modern communications technologies helped Fijian women to overcome their traditional isolation and lack of empowerment, and supported climate change resiliency and social change, in research inspired by the Bahá'í concept of gender equality. Through the Bahá'í community in Fiji, he was able to be accepted as more than an outside researcher. Many spiritual principles were incorporated into his research design and the interpretation of the results. The result was both academically interesting and of practical benefit to the women and communities concerned in a spirit of reciprocity. The video recording is available at <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tfj90kQYXY">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tfj90kQYXY</a>.</p> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <div style="text-align: center;"> <p><img src="/gr/IEFlogo5.gif" height="66" width="142"></p> <p><small>Last updated 1 November 2020</small></p> </div> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> Sun, 01 Nov 2020 22:21:47 +0000 admin 1099 at https://iefworld.org https://iefworld.org/node/1099#comments Bahá'í International Community launches UN75 statement https://iefworld.org/node/1098 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Bahá&#039;í International Community launches UN75 statement</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/1" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">27. October 2020 - 18:09</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><div style="text-align: center;"> <h2 style="text-align: center; color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Bahá'í International Community launches UN75 statement</h2> <p>22 October 2020</p> </div> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <p>Anticipating the 75th anniversary of the day the United Nations was brought into being on 24 October 1945, the Bahá’í International Community (BIC) hosted an event to launch a statement marking the occasion, drawing some 200 participants from across the international and diplomatic communities. IEF members Maja Groff and Arthur Dahl were among those contributing. You can view the video of the event (1:21:15) here: <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lFbmB3XZWg">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lFbmB3XZWg</a></p> <p>Again, for Geneva Peace Week on 2-6 November, the Bahá'í International Community prepared a one-hour video with a round-table discussion on the statement from Augusto Lopez-Claros, Maja Groff and Arthur Dahl of the Global Governance Forum, the latter two also members of the International Environment Forum, which can be seen at <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HmaNDbTtVQ">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HmaNDbTtVQ</a>, and on the Geneva Peace Week website at <a href="https://eu.eventscloud.com/website/3030/digital-series-how-to-build-peace/">https://eu.eventscloud.com/website/3030/digital-series-how-to-build-pea…</a>.</p> <p>For a a detailed review of the statement in a Bahá'í context, see the O.Z. Whitehead (UK) fireside with Arthur Dahl on 8 November 2020 at <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIbYLvl6dWM">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIbYLvl6dWM</a></p> <p>The full statement <i>A Governance Befitting: Humanity and the Path Toward a Just Global Order</i> is <a href="/2020bic_UN75">here</a>. This short <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGDkCcS4R0E&amp;feature=youtu.be">film</a> is a brief introduction to the themes in that statement.</p> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <div style="text-align: center;"> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="66" src="/gr/IEFlogo5.gif" width="142" /></p> <p><small>Last updated 18 November 2020</small></p> </div> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> Tue, 27 Oct 2020 16:09:14 +0000 admin 1098 at https://iefworld.org https://iefworld.org/node/1098#comments The Global Sustainability Challenge: A Systems View of Agriculture https://iefworld.org/node/1097 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">The Global Sustainability Challenge: A Systems View of Agriculture</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/3" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Arthur Dahl</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">27. October 2020 - 17:07</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><div style="text-align: center;"> <h2 style="text-align: center; color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">The Global Sustainability Challenge:<br /> A Systems View of Agriculture</h2> <p>Arthur Lyon Dahl<br /> A presentation to the Agriculture Working Group<br /> Association for Bahá'í Studies<br /> 27 September 2020</p> <p>Watch the video <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_k6gnvoMKRs&amp;feature=youtu.be">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_k6gnvoMKRs&amp;feature=youtu.be</a></p> </div> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <p>Adequate nutrition should be a basic human right, and ensuring food for all a moral responsibility, yet nearly a billion people still go hungry in a world where there is adequate food for all. The agricultural system is complex, with environmental, social and economic dimensions that must be addressed together.</p> <p>With the human population growing rapidly for several decades, the need to increase food production let to the green revolution and today's highly intensive industrial agriculture. However future trends show ageing and even shrinking populations in wealthier countries, birth rates declining with increasing urbanization, and rapid population growth linked to poverty and lack of education. Food production will need to meet increasing demand in the near future and adapt to stable or shrinking demand later in the century.</p> <p>Intensive agriculture for maximum short-term production is unsustainable. Of all the arable land on the planet, at least 36% has been degraded since WWII, an area equivalent to India and China combined (Montgomery 2007). The organic matter and microbial communities of the soil are degraded and soil erosion accelerated. Agriculture needs to move from soil destruction to soil restoration.</p> <p>The biodiversity of the planet and the ecosystem services it provides are under threat. Half the species on Earth are at risk of going extinct. Agriculture also depends on biodiversity for everything from pollenation and pest control to genetic resilience. The heavy use of pesticides has caused a massive reduction in insect populations, including those essential to pollinate crops. New forms of agriculture can help to restore functioning natural systems, including organic farming, permaculture, agroforestry and others yet to be developed.</p> <p>The world is facing a crisis of water management with increasing drought and floods, and much of the world facing water scarcity, while agriculture is the major water user and often polluter. As an activity largely dependent on water, there are both vulnerabilities and opportunities to rethink agriculture as a responsible partner in managing an increasingly scarce resource essential for life.</p> <p>Climate change is transforming the planet, including for agriculture (Dahl 2007). Farmers can no longer assume that future growing conditions will be the same as in the past, and increasing variability can easily bring crop failures. Adapting agriculture to a changing climate is an enormous challenge. Agriculture is also a major emitter of greenhouse gases, whether from deforestation and land clearing, methane emissions from cattle, sheep, or rice paddies, to carbon released by the breakdown of soil organic matter and the use of fossil fuels in agricultural machinery and food transport. Agriculture can also contribute to the solution, both by transforming to reduce emissions, and by restoring natural vegetation to areas no longer used for farming, by making more space for nature in agriculture, and by increasing soil humus for carbon capture and storage.</p> <p>The economic dimension of agriculture is also critical to its future. Modern industrialized farming and livestock raising are driven by multinational agroindustries to maximize their profits. They develop patented varieties to control genetic resources, often privatising innovations originally created by farmers, while selecting varieties that depend on the fertilizers and biocides that they manufacture, making farmers totally dependent on their packaged solutions. Now they are using big data to control all the information on the food production system so they can tell farmers what to do and when while integrating along the whole chain from farmer to consumer. In Canada, they capture all the profits, keeping farmers on the verge of bankruptcy and totally dependent. They lobby for laws to protect their economic model and prevent competition from other approaches. A farmer I met in France makes a reasonable living from his organic farm processing the products himself and distributing them locally, but it is all illegal according to French and European regulations. In the USA, while farm cash receipts have increased over the past century from $6 billion in 1910 to $363 billion in 2018, production expenses rose just as fast, from $4 billion in 1910 to $359 billion in 2018, with no appreciable growth in the value of net farm income.</p> <p>All this assumes continuing business as usual. There are many possible crises on the horizon, or already here with the pandemic, that could affect food production and trade in our globally-integrated system. A conflict between major powers or nuclear exchange, an economic collapse as the global debt bubble bursts, an accelerating climate catastrophe, or even a giant solar flare grilling everything electrical on the planet, could trigger a collapse of the material civilization upon which most of us are totally dependent. In such a case, survival may depend on the ability of local communities to feed themselves through solidarity, collaboration and innovation. The Bahá'í approach to community building could be seen as one way of increasing local resilience in the face of an uncertain short-term future as we lay the foundation for the ever-advancing civilization to emerge.</p> <p>'Abdu'l-Bahá used agriculture as the basis for defining some essential economic principles which are logical in an occupation where there are risks beyond the control of the farmer.</p> <blockquote> <p>"The fundamental basis of the community is agriculture, tillage of the soil. All must be producers. Each person in the community whose need is equal to his individual producing capacity shall be exempt from taxation. But if his income is greater than his needs, he must pay a tax until an adjustment is effected. That is to say, a man's capacity for production and his needs will be equalized and reconciled through taxation. If his production exceeds, he will pay a tax; if his necessities exceed his production, he shall receive an amount sufficient to equalize or adjust. Therefore, taxation will be proportionate to capacity and production, and there will be no poor in the community." <small>('Abdu'l-Bahá, <i>Promulgation of Universal Peace</i>, p. 217)</small></p> </blockquote> <p>This implies a guaranteed minimum income, a concept close to the universal basic income being discussed today.</p> <p>There is also the example of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's village in the Jordan Valley, where he demonstrated how a community could innovate to demonstrate sustainable agriculture (Poostchi 2010; Hanley 2019).</p> <p>These suggest some of the questions that could help us design agricultural systems for the future. How do we make rural life both attractive and rewarding? New information technologies can reduce isolation and provide access to knowledge and culture. Food prices need to be set to ensure an adequate income to farmers, complemented by the kind of guarantee that 'Abdu'l-Bahá described. Local Bahá'í institutions seem to be designed for small communities such as those appropriate to rural areas. Renewable energies are more distributed, and therefore more accessible to rural areas. There is no 'one size fits all'. Agriculture needs to be adapted to each local environment, geographic location and social situation. Communities need their own scientific research capacity to develop and manage the best agriculture for their local resources and coming changes. Each community also needs to find the balance between local self-sufficiency and integration into the global economy.</p> <p>Agriculture is thus one essential component of the global human and natural system that is struggling to emerge from a system of competing nation states to an ever-advancing world civilization. But agriculture is only part of the system; change is also needed in the larger economic system and corporate structure, the operation of markets and trade relationships, taxation and wealth redistribution, and mechanisms to support and integrate rural communities. Agricultural reform needs to be part of broader systems change.</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">SUGGESTED READINGS</h3> <p>'Abdu'l-Baha. "Cooperation"", pp. 38-44, in <i>Foundations of World Unity</i>. Wilmette, Illinois: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1945.</p> <p>Dahl, Arthur Lyon. 2007. "Climate Change and its Ethical Challenges"", p. 157-172. In <i>The Baha'i World 2005-2006: An International Record</i>. Haifa: Baha'i World Centre.</p> <p>Dahl, Arthur Lyon. 2019. <i>In Pursuit of Hope: A Guide for the Seeker</i>. Oxford: George Ronald. 194 p.</p> <p>Hanley, Paul. 2014. <i>Eleven</i>. Friesen Press, Victoria, BC, Canada. 400 p.</p> <p>Hanley, Paul. 2019. "Begin with the Village: The Baha’i Approach to Rural Development"". <i>The Baha’i World</i>, May 2019. <a href="https://bahaiworld.bahai.org/articles/begin-village">https://bahaiworld.bahai.org/articles/begin-village</a>.</p> <p>International Environment Forum, <i>Compilation on Agriculture</i>: <a href="https://iefworld.org/cmpagric.htm">https://iefworld.org/cmpagric.htm</a></p> <p>IPBES. 2018. <i>Summary for policymakers of the thematic assessment report on land degradation and restoration of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services</i>. R. Scholes, L. Montanarella, A. Brainich, N. Barger, B. ten Brink, M. Cantele, B. Erasmus, J. Fisher, T. Gardner, T. G. Holland, F. Kohler, J. S. Kotiaho, G. Von Maltitz, G. Nangendo, R. Pandit, J. Parrotta, M. D. Potts, S. Prince, M. Sankaran and L. Willemen (eds.), Bonn, Germany: IPBES secretariat.</p> <p>Montgomery, David R. 2007. <i>Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations</i>. Berkeley: University of California Press. 285 p.</p> <p>Poostchi, Iraj. 2010. "‘Adasiyyah: A Study in Agriculture and Rural Development", <i>Bahá’í Studies Review</i> 16:61–105. doi: 10.1386/bsr.16 61/7.</p> <p>Steffen, Will, Johan Rockström, Katherine Richardson, Timothy M. Lenton, Carl Folke, Diana Liverman, Colin P. Summerhayes, Anthony D. Barnosky, Sarah E. Cornell, Michel Crucifix, Jonathan F. Donges, Ingo Fetzer, Steven J. Lade, Marten Scheffer, Ricarda Winkelmann, and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber. 2018. "Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene. <i>Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A</i>. 115(33):8252-8259. <a href="http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1810141115">http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1810141115</a></p> <p>UNCTAD. 2013. <i>Wake Up Before It Is Too Late: Make Agriculture Truly Sustainable Now for Food Security in a Changing Climate</i>. Trade and Environment Review 2013. Geneva: United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. 321 p. <a href="http://unctad.org/en/publicationslibrary/ditcted2012d3_en.pdf">http://unctad.org/en/publicationslibrary/ditcted2012d3_en.pdf</a></p> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <div style="text-align: center;"> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="66" src="/gr/IEFlogo5.gif" width="142" /></p> <p><small>Last updated 27 October 2020</small></p> </div> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-blog-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> Tue, 27 Oct 2020 15:07:30 +0000 Arthur Dahl 1097 at https://iefworld.org Faith for Nature https://iefworld.org/node/1095 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Faith for Nature</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/1" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">8. October 2020 - 19:27</span> <div class="field field--name-subjects field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/69" hreflang="en">Religion</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/128" hreflang="en">Nature</a></div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"> <div style="text-align: center;"> <h2 style="text-align: center; color: rgb(0, 153, 0);"> Faith for Nature</h2> <p>5-8 October 2020 </p> </div> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;"> <p>A wonderful International multi-faith action conference on <b>Faith for Nature</b> was hosted in Iceland on 5-8 October 2020, and used the historic Skálholt Cathedral in the South of Iceland as its global anchor from where high-level sessions were live-streamed. It achieved a global reach through online dialogues in five regions (Asia and Australia, Africa, Europe, North America, and Latin America and the Caribbean). It brought together, at least virtually, senior leaders of the major world religions, to take collective action for the Earth. The results include a Declaration (see below), a record of the proceedings, documentation and conference outcomes being made available on its website <a href="http://www.faithfornature.org">http://www.faithfornature.org</a>, and outreach to connect thoughts to actions that unify us. There is also a Facebook page at <a href="https://www.facebook.com/faithfornature">https://www.facebook.com/faithfornature</a>.</p> <p>Major organisers were the United Nations Environment Programme and its Faith for Earth programme, and the Government of Iceland, represented by its President and former President, and the Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources. Among the other organisers were the Bahá'ís of Iceland. IEF Governing Board Member Halldor Thorgeirsson was an active participant and chaired the Declaration Coordination Team, presenting the Declaration at the final session. Among the many distinguished speakers were the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, head of the Orthodox Church, Grand Ayatollah Al-Modaressi, Cardinal Peter Turkson, Chief Rabbi David Rosen, and Bani Dugal, Principal Representative of the Bahá'í International Community. You can see a BIC video report with Bani Dugal's presentation here:<br> <a href="https://www.bic.org/news/multi-faith-action-conference-presents-opportunity-reflect-intersection-between-faith-and-natural-world" class="_blanktarget">https://www.bic.org/news/multi-faith-action-conference-presents-opportunity-reflect-intersection-between-faith-and-natural-world</a> (13 minutes).</p> <p> UNEP described plans for a Faith for Earth Coalition, including a Council of Eminent Leaders, a Youth Council, a Network of Faith-Based Organizations with a focus on the environment, and a Faith-Science Consortium of religious scholars, scientists and environmentalists to bridge the gap between environmental science and religions. UNEP also launched its new book: <a href="https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/33991/FECA.pdf"><i>Faith for Earth: A Call for Action</i></a>.</p> <p>The conference Declaration follows:</p> <h2 style="text-align: center; color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Our sacred commitment</h2> <p>High-level faith leaders, faith communities, and academics–recognising the triple threats of poverty and inequity, climate change and biodiversity loss–engaged in a global dialogue anchored at the historic cathedral of Skálholt in Iceland to discuss a coalition of hope, commitment and action. </p> <p>From all corners of the globe we came together to hear the cry of Mother Earth. Religious institutions and faith communities have a long history in fostering sustainable development. Faiths cultivate values of compassion, community, and care for the vulnerable. We shared our love, compassion, and belief that the Earth is sacred, and we are called to be keeper of this sacred trust given into our care. </p> <p>We came together in this global dialogue from diverse backgrounds and experience and were moved by a deep sense of global consciousness, concern for our planet and a commitment to demonstrate leadership. We emerged with a shared resolve to mobilize around the protection of nature and our common home, and to working through the proposed Faith for Earth Coalition to turn our commitment into action. </p> <p>We do so recognizing that religious communities and faith-based organizations have a unique and vital contribution to make to global efforts on environmental protection and ecosystem restoration building on a growing track-record of multifaith action for nature. Faith and spiritual values drive individual behaviour and personal choices and shape cultural values, social inclusion, and political engagement. Faith communities with their vast networks, adherents, education structures and spiritual endeavours, are a valuable partner in the pursuit of sustainable development. </p> <p>Recognising that there have been times when science and religion have been at odds, we commit ourselves to communicate spiritual insights informed by best available science. Harmony and balance between scientific and religious inquiry is essential for the advancement of humankind at this critical juncture. Local, traditional, and indigenous knowledge, wisdom and spirituality will continue to be an indispensable source of guidance. Efforts need to be made to cultivate synergies and mutual understanding between indigenous, religious, and scientific inquiry. </p> <p>We recognise with profound concern scientific evidence on environmental degradation, climate change and biodiversity loss and the limited time available to achieve the deep transformation needed. The world’s faith-based organizations are uniquely placed to relay this science and rallying religious communities to act in defence of nature and environmental justice. </p> <p>We have one common home. Global challenges faced by humankind are deeply interlinked and have a significant spiritual dimension. Appreciation for the spiritual nature of our being leads to a deeper sense of connectedness both with the natural world, of which humans are an organic part, and within the one human family. Humans have the responsibility to protect Earth ́s live-supporting systems to ensure a sustainable human civilization on which both social and economic capital rest. </p> <p>Current extremes of wealth and poverty need to give way to greater equity and justice. Justice in all its dimensions is a fundamental prerequisite for lasting unity. Investment needs to be redirected away from extractive economic activity towards green, inclusive, just, and regenerative economic development. </p> <p>We need a movement with roots and wings. Insights and experiences from elders can reinforce the vision, passion, and creativity of the young. Faith communities draw their power from the interplay of generations, firm grounding in local realities and sense of belonging to a global community.</p> <p>Recognising the challenge of patriarchy and the vital role of women as leaders in the environmental movement, we commit ourselves to ensuring that women are given access and opportunity to exercise full leadership roles.</p> <p>The core environmental crisis is an ethical and moral issue. Responsible dietary choices moving towards plant-based diets and attention to the footprint of our consumption of energy and materials are an integral part of ethical stewardship of nature. Nature-based solutions, which are a win for livelihoods, climate, and biodiversity through protecting and restoring forests and other ecosystems need to be developed and scaled up. They offer an essential, reliable, and cost-effective way to address climate change and halt biodiversity loss.</p> <p>This is a time of lament and a time of hope. We recognise what has been irreversibly lost and confess that we are living off the inheritance of generations to come. At the same time, we recognise the key role of faith communities as bearers of hope at a time when the environmental movement suffers from despair, which may lead to apathy. We will demonstrate bold leadership and catalyse transformation at all levels.Through hope, faith, empathy, and reason we can build a better future.</p> <p>The sudden emergence of COVID-19 changed the global outlook. The very health and future of humanity depends on our ability to act together not only with respect to pandemics but also in protecting the global ecosystems. We must seize this moment to change course, protect and restore nature, reduce our vulnerability to deadly viruses and to the impacts of climate disruption. </p> <p>People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership–these are woven together through the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals thus providing a framework for urgent action and a roadmap for faith communities to work together. We recognise that there is still much work remaining to translate that vision into language accessible to people of faith in the local context. </p> <p>Faith-based organizations around the world are committed to working across spiritual traditions and across sectors to take actions that protect and restore nature. We see it as a shared moral responsibility to contribute. The time has come for people of faith to work together for the planet given into our care. </p> <p>The proposed Faith for Earth Coalition has a vision–in partnership with UNEP–to enable faith groups to promote action and influence policy choices at the local, national, regional, and international levels. We encourage governments to come to an agreement at the fifth United Nations Environment Assembly in 2021 to turn that vision into reality. We stand ready to join hands with UNEP to turn this ground-breaking vision into a model for others to emulate. </p> <p>We express our appreciation to the Government of Iceland, our Icelandic partners, Religions for Peace and the National Religious Partnership for the Environment (USA) for enabling this global exchange and resolve to disseminate our findings and channel our energy into focused and sustained action.</p> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;"> <div style="text-align: center;"> <p><img src="/gr/IEFlogo5.gif" width="142" height="66"></p> <p><small>Last updated 17 October 2020</small></p> </div> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> Thu, 08 Oct 2020 16:27:24 +0000 admin 1095 at https://iefworld.org https://iefworld.org/node/1095#comments Avoiding Another New Normal https://iefworld.org/node/1094 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Avoiding Another New Normal</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/1" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">2. October 2020 - 13:30</span> <div class="field field--name-subjects field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/9" hreflang="en">Climate change</a></div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><div style="text-align: center;"> <h2 style="text-align: center; color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Avoiding Another New Normal</h2> <p>Op Ed by <b>Ian Hamilton</b><br /> Office of Public Affairs, Bahá'ís of the United States<br /> 1 July 2020<br /> <a href="https://www.bahai.us/newsroom/avoiding-another-new-normal/">https://www.bahai.us/newsroom/avoiding-another-new-normal/</a></p> </div> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <p>COVID-19, has driven humanity into an extended, global crisis. With an uncommon rapidity and severity, what started as a localized public health crisis has grown into a global pandemic, threatening lives, economies and social cohesion – including education at all levels, collective religious worship and any kind of social gathering. Prosperity, in its broadest definition, hangs in the balance.</p> <p>Like many others, I find myself experiencing a heightened level of anxiety and worry: will my older friends and family remain healthy? How long will working remotely be sustainable? How long will the social cohesion enjoyed by my faith community endure? How long will I balance work and homeschooling? Elements of society previously taken as certainties are no longer certain.</p> <p>However, I find that the root of my anxiety and worry lies quite a bit deeper than just this current pandemic. When I consider both the spread and disproportionate impact of this novel virus, the economic upheaval, the travel restrictions, the distrust in societal institutions and the undermining of social structures, I cannot help but think that this a premonition of the parallel challenges that will result from the damage we are daily meting out to the climate.</p> <p><a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/">The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change</a> (IPCC) as well as the <a href="https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/">U.S. Fourth National Climate Assessment</a> outline, in detail, the expected impacts of climate change over the years to come. Further, thinkers and commentators have started to compare and contrast COVID-19 and climate change, including the <a href="https://sloanreview.mit.edu/audio/covid-19-climate-change-and-the-forces-shaping-our-future/">MIT Sloan Review</a>, <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2020-how-coronavirus-impacts-climate-change/">Bloomberg Green</a> and <a href="https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/covid-19-and-climate-change-threats-compound-in-minority-communities/">Scientific American</a>.</p> <p>To take these pieces in distillation suggests that humanity is at a point were we must begin to ask challenging questions of ourselves in terms of the systems we have thus far built – and their embedded inequality – as well as the future world we want and how we can best ensure that all members of the human race are empowered to flourish. There are clear similarities in how the world must respond to the immediate challenge of COVID-19, as well as the on-going existential threat of climate change. Neither can be overcome in isolation but will rather require the involvement of a broad array of societal actors. Not least among these actors will be religious and faith organizations.</p> <p>On an instrumental level, faith groups can potentially mobilize billions of adherents to work toward a specific goal or objective – be that social distancing or reducing carbon emissions. On a non-instrumental level, faith organizations can contribute vital moral and spiritual principles at moments when they may be lacking or ignored – principals such as hope, trust and generosity. Of course, this is in addition to social cohesion that religion has historically fostered and the processes of inner transformation that often form the core of religious belief.</p> <p>Thinking more specifically, I draw hope and reassurance from a concept enshrined in the teachings of the Baha’i Faith, that of crisis and victory. This dialectic of crisis and victory teaches that progress is realized by maintaining consistency, unity, and steadfastness in the face of setbacks and crises. Like a ship in a storm, one must maintain sufficient forward momentum and plow ahead into the waves to avoid being swamped.</p> <p>With this dialectic in mind, there are lessons that can be drawn from our response to the COVID-19 pandemic which may inform our evolving response to climate change. For instance, if we begin to consider the shortcomings that have been highlighted by the current crisis, it could be argued that had the World Health Organization been empowered to manage and allocate resources as well as disseminate treatment information and impose travel restrictions, it is conceivable that this current outbreak may have been more quickly contained and more effectively managed. By acknowledging the deficits that have led to components of this current crisis we can better improve our global organizations to more effectively respond to future crises. Similarly, a significant contribution to the crusade against climate change could be made by establishing a global environmental agency tasked with enacting binding, international action on climate change.</p> <p>While this example is extremely cursory, it speaks to a deeper truth that both climate change and COVID-19 are making starkly and unignorably clear: no longer can we conceive of the world as a host of disconnected nation states. We live in an age of global challenges which require global responses. A virus does not respect national borders, climate change will not target the country that has emitted the most greenhouse gases. The sooner we ignore the supposed significance of the passport we carry and rather embrace the reality that we share an interconnected, interdependent home the better. Increasingly, we need to consider establishing institutions of global governance that are empowered, equipped, and trusted to answer the global challenges that confront humanity.</p> <p>The prospect of such global institutions, let alone the reality, may cause significant levels of worry and disquiet. To establish the conditions whereby global governing institutions can support, rather than undermine national sovereignty, will require a collective exploration of how such institutions can become champions of justice, equity, fairness, and prosperity while avoiding the pitfalls of opposition, partisanship, and oppression. In short, humanity will need to grapple with how to build moral, principle-based institutions.</p> <p>We must not lose sight of the fact that humanity has been hurled into a collective learning moment, arguably at a time when it was deeply needed. In the same way that a grazed knee is an opportunity for me to remind my daughter of the need to tie her shoelaces, we now have the opportunity to imagine the post-crisis world we need and to enter into a far reaching conversation about the environmental, governmental and economic systems that will enable us to flourish.</p> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <div style="text-align: center;"> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="66" src="/gr/IEFlogo5.gif" width="142" /></p> <p><small>Last updated 2 October 2020</small></p> </div> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> Fri, 02 Oct 2020 10:30:32 +0000 admin 1094 at https://iefworld.org https://iefworld.org/node/1094#comments Bahá'í Faith and Biodiversity https://iefworld.org/2020bic_biodiversityUNEP <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Bahá&#039;í Faith and Biodiversity</span> <div class="field field--name-field-year field--type-integer field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Year</div> <div class="field__item">2020</div> </div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/1" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">29. September 2020 - 1:29</span> Mon, 28 Sep 2020 22:29:50 +0000 admin 1093 at https://iefworld.org