International Environment Forum - A Bahá'í inspired organization for environment and sustainability https://iefworld.org/ en Leaves - June IEF newsletter is available https://iefworld.org/node/255 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Leaves - June 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. June 2021 - 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="/newslt144"><strong><em>Leaves</em></strong> 23(6) June 2021</a> light text version with fewer illustrations.<br /> Download as a <a href="/fl/IEF_Leaves210615.pdf">pdf version</a> [0.49 mb].</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> Tue, 15 Jun 2021 16:08:08 +0000 admin 255 at https://iefworld.org https://iefworld.org/node/255#comments Start Living Now to Embrace the Next Economy https://iefworld.org/node/1148 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Start Living Now to Embrace the Next Economy</span> <div class="field field--name-field-dates field--type-string-long field--label-inline clearfix"> <div class="field__label">Dates</div> <div class="field__item">2021 June 27</div> </div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/index.php/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. June 2021 - 16:18</span> Tue, 15 Jun 2021 13:18:44 +0000 admin 1148 at https://iefworld.org Our Planet, Our Future https://iefworld.org/node/1154 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Our Planet, Our Future</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. June 2021 - 19:41</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);">Our Planet, Our Future</h2> <p>Nobel Laureates Urgent Call for Action<br /> 29 April 2021</p> </div> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <p>This statement was inspired by the discussions at the 2021 Nobel Prize Summit, issued by the Steering Committee and co-signed by Nobel Laureates and experts.</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Preamble</h3> <p>The Nobel Prizes were created to honor advances of “the greatest benefit to humankind.” They celebrate successes that have helped build a safe, prosperous, and peaceful world, the foundation of which is scientific reason.</p> <p><i>“Science is at the base of all the progress that lightens the burden of life and lessens its suffering.”</i> Marie Curie (Nobel Laureate 1903 and 1911)</p> <p>Science is a global common good on a quest for truth, knowledge, and innovation toward a better life. Now, humankind faces new challenges at unprecedented scale. The first Nobel Prize Summit comes amid a global pandemic, amid a crisis of inequality, amid an ecological crisis, amid a climate crisis, and amid an information crisis. These supranational crises are interlinked and threaten the enormous gains we have made in human progress. It is particularly concerning that the parts of the world projected to experience many of the compounding negative effects from global changes are also home to many of the world’s poorest communities, and to indigenous peoples. The summit also comes amid unprecedented urbanization rates and on the cusp of technological disruption from digitalization, artificial intelligence, ubiquitous sensing and biotechnology and nanotechnology that may transform all aspects of our lives in coming decades.</p> <p><i>“We have never had to deal with problems of the scale facing today’s globally interconnected society. No one knows for sure what will work, so it is important to build a system that can evolve and adapt rapidly.”</i> Elinor Ostrom (Nobel Laureate 2009)</p> <p>The summit has been convened to promote a transformation to global sustainability for human prosperity and equity. Time is the natural resource in shortest supply. The next decade is crucial: Global greenhouse gas emissions need to be cut by half and destruction of nature halted and reversed. An essential foundation for this transformation is to address destabilizing inequalities in the world. Without transformational action this decade, humanity is taking colossal risks with our common future. Societies risk large-scale, irreversible changes to Earth’s biosphere and our lives as part of it.</p> <p><i>“A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move toward higher levels.”</i> Albert Einstein (Nobel Laureate 1921)</p> <p>We need to reinvent our relationship with planet Earth. The future of all life on this planet, humans and our societies included, requires us to become effective stewards of the global commons — the climate, ice, land, ocean, freshwater, forests, soils, and rich diversity of life that regulate the state of the planet, and combine to create a unique and harmonious life-support system. There is now an existential need to build economies and societies that support Earth system harmony rather than disrupt it.</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Our Planet</h3> <p><i>“It seems appropriate to assign the term ‘Anthropocene’ to the present.”</i> Paul Crutzen (Nobel Laureate 1995)</p> <p>Geologists call the last 12,000 years the Holocene epoch. A remarkable feature of this period has been relative Earth-system stability. But the stability of the Holocene is behind us now. Human societies are now the prime driver of change in Earth’s living sphere — the biosphere. The fate of the biosphere and human societies embedded within it is now deeply intertwined and evolving together. Earth has entered a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene. Evidence points to the 1950s as the onset of the Anthropocene — a single human lifetime ago. The Anthropocene epoch is more likely to be characterized by speed, scale, and shock at global levels.</p> <h4 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Planetary health</h4> <p>The health of nature, our planet, and people is tightly connected. Pandemic risk is one of many global health risks in the Anthropocene. The risks of pandemics are now greater due to destruction of natural habitats, highly networked societies, and misinformation.</p> <p>The COVID-19 pandemic is the greatest global shock since the Second World War. It has caused immense suffering and hardship. The scientific response in the face of catastrophe, from detection to vaccine development, has been robust and effective. There is much to applaud. However, there have been clear failings. The poorest and most marginalized in societies remain the most vulnerable. The scale of this catastrophe could have been greatly reduced through preventive measures, greater openness, early detection systems, and faster emergency responses.</p> <p>Reducing risk of zoonotic disease like COVID-19 requires a multi-pronged approach recognizing “one health” — the intimate connections between human health and the health of other animals and the environment. Rapid urbanization, agricultural intensification, overexploitation, and habitat loss of large wildlife all promote the abundance of small mammals, such as rodents. Additionally, these land-use changes lead animals to shift their activities from natural ecosystems to farmlands, urban parks, and other human-dominated areas, greatly increasing contact with people and the risk of disease transmission.</p> <h4 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">The global commons</h4> <p>Global heating and habitat loss amount to nothing less than a vast and uncontrolled experiment on Earth’s life-support system. Multiple lines of evidence now show that, for the first time in our existence, our actions are destabilizing critical parts of the Earth system that determine the state of the planet.</p> <p>For 3 million years, global mean temperature increases have not exceeded 2°C of global warming, yet that is what is in prospect within this century. We are on a path that has taken us to 1.2°C warming so far — the warmest temperature on Earth since we left the last ice age some 20,000 years ago, and which will take us to &gt;3°C warming in 80 years.</p> <p>At the same time, we are losing Earth resilience, having transformed half of Earth’s land outside of the ice sheets, largely through farming expansion. Of an estimated 8 million species on Earth, about 1 million are under threat. Since the 1970s, there has been an estimated 68% decline in the populations of vertebrate species.</p> <h4 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Inequality</h4> <p><i>“The only sustainable prosperity is shared prosperity.”</i> Joseph Stiglitz (Nobel Laureate 2001)</p> <p>While all in societies contribute to economic growth, the wealthy in most societies disproportionately take the largest share of this growing wealth. This trend has become more pronounced in recent decades. In highly unequal societies, with wide disparities in areas such as health care and education, the poorest are more likely to remain trapped in poverty across several generations.</p> <p>More equal societies tend to score highly on metrics of well-being and happiness. Reducing inequality raises social capital. There is a greater sense of community and more trust in government. These factors make it easier to make collective, long-term decisions. Humanity’s future depends on the ability to make long-term, collective decisions to navigate the Anthropocene.</p> <p>The COVID-19 pandemic, the largest economic calamity since the Great Depression, is expected to worsen inequality at a moment when inequality is having a clear destabilizing political impact in many countries. Climate change is expected to further exacerbate inequality. Already, the poorest, often living in vulnerable communities, are hit hardest by the impacts of climate, and live with the damaging health impacts of energy systems, for example air pollution. Furthermore, although urbanization has brought many societal benefits, it is also exacerbating existing, and creating new, inequities.</p> <p>It is an inescapable conclusion that inequality and global sustainability challenges are deeply linked. Reducing inequality will positively impact collective decision-making.</p> <h4 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Technology</h4> <p>The accelerating technological revolution — including information technology, artificial intelligence, and synthetic biology — will impact inequality, jobs, and entire economies, with disruptive consequences. On aggregate, technological advancements so far have accelerated us down the path toward destabilizing the planet. Without guidance, technological evolution is unlikely to lead to transformations toward sustainability. It will be critical to guide the technological revolution deliberately and strategically in the coming decades to support societal goals.</p> <h4 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Acknowledging urgency and embracing complexity</h4> <p>The future habitability of Earth for human societies depends on the collective actions humanity takes now. There is rising evidence that this is a decisive decade (2020-2030). Loss of nature must be stopped and deep inequality counteracted. Global emissions of greenhouse gases need to be cut by half in the decade of 2021-2030. This alone requires collective governance of the global commons — all the living and non-living systems on Earth that societies use but that also regulate the state of the planet — for the sake of all people in the future.</p> <p>On top of the urgency, we must embrace complexity. Humanity faces rising network risks and cascading risks as human and technological networks grow. The 2020/2021 pandemic was a health shock that quickly cascaded into economic shocks. We must recognize that surprise is the new normal and manage for complexity and emergent behavior.</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Our Future</h3> <h4 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">A decade of action</h4> <p>Time is running out to prevent irreversible changes. Ice sheets are approaching tipping points — parts of the Antarctic ice sheet may have already crossed irreversible tipping points. The circulation of heat in the North Atlantic is unequivocally slowing down due to accelerated ice melt. This may further affect monsoons and the stability of major parts of Antarctica. Rainforests, permafrost, and coral reefs are also approaching tipping points. The remaining carbon budget for a 67% probability of not exceeding 1.5°C global warming will be exhausted before 2030. At the same time, every week until 2050, the urban population will increase by about 1.3 million, requiring new buildings and roads, water and sanitation facilities, and energy and transport systems. The construction and operation of these infrastructure projects will be energy and emissions intensive unless major changes are made in how they are designed and implemented.</p> <p>In 2021, major summits will generate political and societal momentum for action on climate, biodiversity, food systems, desertification, and the ocean. In 2022, the Stockholm+50 event marks the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Summit. This is an important opportunity to reflect on progress to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), due to be completed by 2030. Yet a disconnect exists between the urgency indicated by the empirical evidence and the response from electoral politics: The world is turning too slowly.</p> <h4 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Planetary stewardship</h4> <p><i>“We must break down the walls that have previously kept science and the public apart and that have encouraged distrust and ignorance to spread unchecked. If anything prevents human beings from rising to the current challenge, it will be these barriers.”</i> Jennifer Doudna (Nobel Laureate 2020)</p> <p>Effective planetary stewardship requires updating our Holocene mindset. We must act on the urgency, the scale, and the interconnectivity between us and our home, planet Earth. More than anything, planetary stewardship will be facilitated by enhancing social capital — building trust within societies and between societies.</p> <p>Is a new worldview possible? 193 nations have adopted the SDGs. The global pandemic has contributed to a broader recognition of global interconnectivity, fragility, and risk. Where they possess the economic power to do so, more people are increasingly making more sustainable choices regarding transportation, consumption, and energy. They are often ahead of their governments. And increasingly, the sustainable options, for example solar and wind power, are similar in price to fossil fuel alternatives or cheaper — and getting cheaper.</p> <p>The question at a global systems level today is not whether humanity will transition away from fossil fuels. The question is: Will we do it fast enough? Solutions, from electric mobility to zero-carbon energy carriers and sustainable food systems, are today often following exponential curves of advancement and adoption. How do we lock this in? The following seven proposals provide a foundation for effective planetary stewardship.</p> <p>• POLICY: Complement GDP as a metric of economic success with measures of true well-being of people and nature. Recognize that increasing disparities between rich and poor feed resentment and distrust, undermining the social contract necessary for difficult, long-term collective decision-making. Recognize that the deteriorating resilience of ecosystems undermines the future of humanity on Earth.<br /> • MISSION-DRIVEN INNOVATION: Economic dynamism is needed for rapid transformation. Governments have been at the forefront of funding transformational innovation in the last 100 years. The scale of today’s challenges will require large-scale collaboration between researchers, government, and business — with a focus on global sustainability.<br /> • EDUCATION: Education at all ages should include a strong emphasis on the nature of evidence, the scientific method, and scientific consensus to ensure future populations have the grounding necessary to drive political and economic change. Universities should embed concepts of planetary stewardship in all curricula as a matter of urgency. In a transformative, turbulent century, we should invest in life-long learning, and fact-based worldviews.<br /> • INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: Special interest groups and highly partisan media can amplify misinformation and accelerate its spread through social media and other digital means of communication. In this way, these technologies can be deployed to frustrate a common purpose and erode public trust. Societies must urgently act to counter the industrialization of misinformation and find ways to enhance global communication systems in the service of sustainable futures.<br /> • FINANCE AND BUSINESS: Investors and companies must adopt principles of recirculation and regeneration of materials and apply science-based targets for all global commons and essential ecosystem services. Economic, environmental, and social externalities should be fairly priced.<br /> • SCIENTIFIC COLLABORATION: Greater investment is needed in international networks of scientific institutions to allow sustained collaboration on interdisciplinary science for global sustainability as well as transdisciplinary science that integrates diverse knowledge systems, including local, indigenous, and traditional knowledge.<br /> • KNOWLEDGE: The pandemic has demonstrated the value of basic research to policymakers and the public. Commitment to sustained investment in basic research is essential. In addition, we must develop new business models for the free sharing of all scientific knowledge.</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Conclusion</h3> <p>Global sustainability offers the only viable path to human safety, equity, health, and progress. Humanity is waking up late to the challenges and opportunities of active planetary stewardship. But we are waking up. Long-term, scientifically based decision-making is always at a disadvantage in the contest with the needs of the present. Politicians and scientists must work together to bridge the divide between expert evidence, short-term politics, and the survival of all life on this planet in the Anthropocene epoch. The long-term potential of humanity depends upon our ability today to value our common future. Ultimately, this means valuing the resilience of societies and the resilience of Earth’s biosphere.</p> <hr /> <p><small>Source: <a href="https://www.nationalacademies.org/news/2021/04/nobel-prize-laureates-and-other-experts-issue-urgent-call-for-action-after-our-planet-our-future-summit">https://www.nationalacademies.org/news/2021/04/nobel-prize-laureates-an…</a></small></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 8 June 2021</small></p> </div> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> Tue, 08 Jun 2021 16:41:36 +0000 admin 1154 at https://iefworld.org https://iefworld.org/node/1154#comments World Environment Day, 5 June 2021 https://iefworld.org/node/1153 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">World Environment Day, 5 June 2021</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. June 2021 - 13:25</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);">World Environment Day</h2> <p>5 June 2021</p> </div> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <p><b>Reimagine, Recreate, Restore</b></p> <p>World Environment Day 2021 commemorates the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment and the founding of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). The theme this year is Ecosystem Restoration and signals the launching of the UN Decade for Ecosystem Restoration.</p> <p>We cannot turn back time. But we can grow trees, green our cities, rewild our gardens, change our diets and clean up rivers and coasts. We are the generation that can make peace with nature. Let’s get active, not anxious. Let’s be bold, not timid.</p> <p>Join #GenerationRestoration</p> <p>Restoring the Planet: Faith Drives Urgent Action, 3 June 2021 at 3 pm CET<br /> The webinar will host indigenous activists, telling their stories and journeys to change: <a href="https://www.unep.org/events/webinar/restoring-planet-faith-drives-urgent-action">https://www.unep.org/events/webinar/restoring-planet-faith-drives-urgen…</a></p> <p>Official website: <a href="https://www.worldenvironmentday.global/">https://www.worldenvironmentday.global/</a><br /> Calendar of events all week: <a href="https://www.worldenvironmentday.global/latest/official-event-schedule">https://www.worldenvironmentday.global/latest/official-event-schedule</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 2 June 2021</small></p> </div> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> Wed, 02 Jun 2021 10:25:34 +0000 admin 1153 at https://iefworld.org https://iefworld.org/node/1153#comments Stockholm+50 https://iefworld.org/node/1152 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Stockholm+50</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. June 2021 - 12:07</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);"> Stockholm+50</h2> <p>Stockholm, Sweden, 2-3 June 2022 </p> </div> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <p>The UN General Assembly decided by consensus to convene an international event marking the 50th anniversary of the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment and the creation of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). The meeting will take place in Stockholm, Sweden, from 2-3 June 2022.</p> <p>The 1972 conference was the UN’s first major conference on international environment issues, and took place in Stockholm, Sweden. The outcome resulted in the creation of UNEP, which is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya.</p> <p>The delegations of Kenya and Sweden to the UN tabled the draft resolution (document A/75/L.88) on convening the meeting, titled ‘Stockholm+50: a healthy planet for the prosperity of all — our responsibility, our opportunity.’ The aims of the meeting include to:</p> <p>&bull; Accelerate the implementation of the SDGs in the context of the Decade of Action;<br> &bull; Promote sustainable recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic; and<br> &bull; Help redefine humankind’s relationship with nature and create conditions for prosperity within planetary boundaries.</p> <p>The Government of Sweden will assume the costs of the meeting, with the support of Kenya.</p> <p>During the UNGA meeting to adopt the resolution, the Group of 77 developing countries and China (G-77/China) noted its understanding that the Stockholm+50 meeting is “not expected to redefine, renegotiate or mandate new mechanisms or new commitments, nor go beyond the provisions of multilateral environmental agreements.” </p> <p>Negotiating a modalities resolution is the expected next step, to enable governments to determine the exact focus and structure of the meeting.</p> <p><small>Source: <a href="http://sdg.iisd.org/news/unga-agrees-to-hold-stockholm50-meeting-in-2022/">http://sdg.iisd.org/news/unga-agrees-to-hold-stockholm50-meeting-in-202…</a> 1 June 2021</small></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 2 June 2021</small></p> </div> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> Wed, 02 Jun 2021 09:07:51 +0000 admin 1152 at https://iefworld.org https://iefworld.org/node/1152#comments The poison of materialism and the elixir of spirituality https://iefworld.org/node/1151 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">The poison of materialism and the elixir of spirituality</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">21. May 2021 - 21:08</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 poison of materialism and the elixir of spirituality</h2> <p>Blog by Arthur Lyon Dahl </p> </div> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <p>An interview by Rowan Hooper with forest ecologist Suzanne Simard in the New Scientist (1 May 2021) triggered a deep reflection on an underlying theme between all my current interests, while helping to explain the disintegration and integration so visible in the world today, and what we need to do to respond.</p> <p>Simard discovered what is popularly known as the wood wide web, the fact that forest trees share and trade food via fungal networks that connect their roots. Her recent research shows that this network is like a brain and can communicate information throughout the entire forest. Modern forestry practices like clear-cutting destroy the forest, while with lighter logging, forests can heal themselves. Trees are connected by fungi in a physical network where they trade, collaborate and interact as a cohesive, holistic society. Western thinking has seen plants as solitary, competing for as many resources as possible to increase their fitness. Yet Darwin wrote about the importance for natural selection of collaboration in communities, with interactions and relationships between species and with the environment. Simard says that Western science separates humanity from nature, mind from body, spirit from intellect, where the world can be dissected and its parts understood in a deterministic way. Mainstream science initially rejected James Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis of the biosphere as a self-regulating system, and Lynn Margulis with her endosymbiotic theory that eucaryotic cells evolved by the engulfment and collaboration between procaryotic cells. Simard felt similar rejection initially.</p> <p>Simard’s research shows that conifers have kin recognition, where a mother plant transfers food to kin siblings but not to strangers, changing their chemistry, nutrition and response to disease. The largest “mother trees” in a forest are the hubs of communication, protection and sentience, nurturing their own offspring and providing information to help generations of trees to survive. The forest is a connected, nurturing, healing place, and the more mother trees there are, the more diverse and abundant is natural regeneration. The fungal mycorrhizal networks are biological neural networks like the brain, designed for efficient transfer of information and resources for the health of the full community, even using chemicals like glutamate which is one of the dominant neurotransmitters in brains. The networks have the hallmarks of intelligence with a shape and biological chemistry that suggests they were wired and designed for wisdom. Plants are responsive to disturbance or injury, and might be said to be aware of humans as the dominant disturbing agent in forests. She also contrasts the Western view of separation from nature with that of indigenous communities with a world view that sees everything as connected and nurturing each other, world views which we have ignored, ridiculed and destroyed because they are mystical and spiritual. She has used science to demonstrate that these holistic connections exist. We are unfortunately still destroying old forests, pushing the system to collapse, with the resulting impacts on climate change and loss of biodiversity. She calls for a charter for trees comparable to animal rights or human rights.</p> <p>This immediately resonated with my own work on cooperation and reciprocity in coral reef ecosystems, also now threatened by collapse. It touched on my work with indigenous world views and value systems of wholeness with nature in the Pacific. My recent work on sustainability has shown how an economy focused on individual enrichment or corporate profit rather than human wellbeing is leading to catastrophe. In developing proposals for global governance, we show the limitations of national sovereignty and the need for a cooperative multilateral approach to build a single world system.</p> <p>What is common to all of this is a systems view of the importance of values as the rules by which we relate to each other, and our real purpose as human beings. We are all born with an animal reality, our physical body, as well as a rational or intellectual reality that we create with our wonderful minds. But we also have, at least in potential, a spiritual reality that we associate with the higher human qualities we can acquire throughout life, and that are the foundation for our capacity for cooperation and reciprocity upon which human societies are built. A healthy path of human development goes from the self-centred baby through social education for cooperation in childhood to an increasingly other-centred adulthood, raising a family and increasingly sharing and detaching as we decline in old age. This can be seen as the universal human spectrum from negative to positive, material to spiritual, egoist to altruist, self to other, competition to cooperation. The discovery that a healthy forest shows cooperation and other-centred characteristics shows how universal this perspective is of systems evolving to higher levels of integration and perfection.</p> <p>Our problems today can be traced almost entirely to our failure individually and collectively to advance along this trajectory. Even in science, the materialistic reductionist perspective has led to the rejection or slow adoption by many of the science of complex systems and the importance of cooperation and reciprocity. We are stuck with greedy, power-hungry leaders, the increasing concentration of wealth by a few, corporations and investors driven by maximizing short-term returns with the end justifying any means, and a massive spread of crime and corruption. The values of competition and the survival of the fittest, with the invisible hand of self-interest, are rooted in our neocapitalist economic system and incorporated in our institutions, but this is a distortion of nineteenth century science, not the view of complex systems we have today. Darwin and Adam Smith would be shocked. What it demonstrates is how we select the ideology that resonates with and confirms our inner values, often called confirmation bias. If we are stuck at the stage of being the bully in the schoolyard, we confirm this by giving priority to the struggle to the top of the pile, to materialistic values, to greed, and even to violence and war, with whatever ideological label seems to fit. This could be called the poison of materialism, from which our society is sick today.</p> <p>What, then, is it that pushes us up the trajectory towards higher values and reinforces cooperation and reciprocity? What can tame the animal side of our nature and help us to blossom as a spiritual being? It is religion, a word unpopular in many intellectual circles because it is associated with ancient traditions that have too often been corrupted by those at the animal end of the human spectrum. The true essence of religion is to give us the tools to struggle with the self within us, to learn to turn outward towards others, to love something greater that ourselves that is unknown and unknowable but represents the perfection towards which it is our purpose to evolve. This gives us the capacity to explore and develop our own unknown capacities, to appreciate the unknown we find in others, to explore the unknown in the universe through science. This is, at the human level, how the qualities that lead to cooperation and reciprocity are built. As a Baha’i, which I see as the highest and purest form of religion today, we understand that it is the loss of belief in God and in a higher divine purpose in life that has dragged so much of society to this low level. The more we can rebuild communities founded on unity in diversity, working on their transformation from a materialist to a spiritual civilization, the more we can emerge from the present forces of disintegration, and begin to rebuild a human system more like that primeval forest or coral reef. We need the elixir of spirituality to save us from self destruction.</p> <p><small>Reference: Hooper, Rowan. 2021. The wisdom of the woods. <i>New Scientist</i> 250(3332):39-43. 1 May 2021.</small></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 21 May 2021</small></p> </div> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-blog-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> Fri, 21 May 2021 18:08:49 +0000 Arthur Dahl 1151 at https://iefworld.org https://iefworld.org/node/1151#comments Reflections on Earth Day https://iefworld.org/node/1146 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Reflections on Earth Day</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">22. April 2021 - 18:53</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);">Reflections on Earth Day</h2> <p>Blog by Arthur Dahl</p> </div> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <p>Every young person faces the challenge of finding a vision and purpose for their life, a meaningful career path that will be personally rewarding while making a contribution to society. The first Earth Day, 22 April 1970, helped launch IEF President Arthur Dahl on his path of environmental action. This is described in his latest contribution to bahaiteachings.org on 22 April 2021: <b>Reflections on Earth Day, a Half Century of Environmental Action</b> at <a href="https://bahaiteachings.org/reflections-earth-day-half-century-environmental-action/">https://bahaiteachings.org/reflections-earth-day-half-century-environme…</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 22 April 2021</small></p> </div> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-blog-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> Thu, 22 Apr 2021 15:53:27 +0000 Arthur Dahl 1146 at https://iefworld.org https://iefworld.org/node/1146#comments Stockholm+50: some reflections https://iefworld.org/node/1144 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Stockholm+50: some reflections</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">15. April 2021 - 14:24</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);"> Stockholm+50, some reflections</h2> <p>Arthur Lyon Dahl </p> </div> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <p>In June of 2022, the United Nations will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the UN Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm, Sweden, that led to the creation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the beginning of UN action on the environment. Planning is now underway for Stockholm+50. As a veteran of the original Stockholm Conference, where I represented the Bahá'í International Community, this is something to which I have given a great deal of thought in my roles with the Global Governance Forum and the Climate Governance Commission. With so many environmental crises coming to a head, and building on the CBD COP15 and UNFCCC COP26 this year, Stockholm+50 needs to be the turning point for an integrated transition across all environmental dimensions and the SDGs. It should aim to be as creative as the original Stockholm Conference in breaking new ground for the UN system. UNEP was intended to be a catalyst for a UN-wide response to the environment. The aim of Stockholm+50 should be to catalyse a transformation of the whole UN system. The following are some dimensions of that necessary transformation.</p> <p>All the evaluations of UN action point to beautiful texts and high ambitions that fail on implementation. The focus at Stockholm+50 should be on obstacles to implementation and how to address them collectively as a world community. This will require challenging some of the basic assumptions of the present international order.</p> <p>National sovereignty is the founding principle of the UN, but with the globalisation of the last 75 years, national sovereignty no longer exists. The economy has globalised. The pandemic is global. Climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss know no borders. The fatal flaws in the UN system result from the primacy of national sovereignty over the common good, whether in the veto in the Security Council or the voluntary nature of international law. Today sovereignty serves primarily to protect national crimes from international action. We need to replace this outworn concept by the principle of national autonomy, the freedom of countries to choose their own ways and means to respect the global common good in keeping with their local environment, resources, economy and culture. That freedom is best protected by an effective system of global governance, just as individual freedom is best protected by an efficient national government.</p> <p>Our globalised system has hit or overshot planetary boundaries with grave threats to our future. At the time of the Stockholm Conference, limits to growth were only a hypothetical projection in computer models. This new reality requires a new capacity for binding global legislation in those areas like greenhouse gas emissions, the nitrogen cycle, pollution by plastics and other persistent chemical products, and ecosystem functions that are essential to maintain the liveability of the planet for all of us.</p> <p>It is also clear that all of our problems - environmental, social and economic - are interrelated in a single complex global system which the present approach in silos by separate issues cannot address effectively. The future UN system response needs to be much more integrated, overcoming the competition between specialised agencies and programmes, while filling gaping gaps in economic governance. The WTO should not remain outside the UN system, and new institutions are needed for the necessary regulation of multinational corporations and a global financial system that facilitates tax avoidance rather than corporate citizenship. At the same time, a much more flexible approach is needed to multistakeholder and multilevel governance, with wider participation and more subsidiarity, moving responsibility for implementation down to the levels closest to those most affected at the scale of each problem.</p> <p>Another under-appreciated issue is the impact of corruption on environmental issues and action. From wildlife crime and illegal logging and fishing to waste dumping, corruption and illegal actions are significant contributors to environmental degradation. More recently, while few data are available, the fact that a significant part of the flow of funds for pandemic response and economic stimulus is being captured by corruption suggests that much of the money now being directed to respond to climate change will similarly not be used for what was intended. There are now proposals for an International Anti-Corruption Court that would finally give the world community the means to address this problem when corrupt government leaders and even state capture by corrupt interests or organized crime make national action impossible.</p> <p>In the area of international environmental legislation, we have seen great fragmentation, placing an impossible burden on governments to participate in all the separate processes. Significant consolidation is required, while also strengthening means of enforcement, and assisting those countries that lack the technical and financial capacities for implementation.</p> <p>Science has always been at the foundation of addressing environmental problems since the environmental assessment component of the Stockholm Action Plan. But science today faces an often concealed problem, the privatisation of science and knowledge through intellectual property rights, whether in patents for vaccines or multinational scientific publishers copyrighting access to the scientific literature. I am constantly blocked from reading publications (even my own) because I do not have access to an academic library able to pay high subscription fees, so much more so for those scientists in developing countries. If the UN is to lead in using science for environmental monitoring, assessment and planning, it must guarantee for everyone free access to that information.</p> <p>Finally, UNEP has always been under-funded, so there needs to be agreement on new funding mechanisms for international action that do not depend on voluntary contributions by governments. These need to be global to avoid the usual race to the bottom. A global carbon tax is one obvious possibility. I suggested many years ago a global tax on the trade in forest products, the proceeds of which could pay to protect those forests with the highest global value for biodiversity conservation or as a carbon sink. A well-designed financial instrument can both discourage environmentally damaging activities and reward those that are sustainable. Stockholm+50 should think creatively about these possibilities.</p> <p>These proposals may be ambitious, but if we do not aim high, we shall always do too little, too late, and we cannot afford that anymore. </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 15 April 2021</small></p> </div> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-blog-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Blog tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/261" hreflang="en">Environment, Sustainability</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/258" hreflang="en">Sustainable Development, United Nations</a></div> </div> </div> Thu, 15 Apr 2021 11:24:54 +0000 Arthur Dahl 1144 at https://iefworld.org Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals 2020 https://iefworld.org/node/1142 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals 2020</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">4. April 2021 - 20:00</span> <div class="field field--name-subjects field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/241" hreflang="en">Sustainable Development Goals</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);"><small>World Bank</small><br /> Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals 2020</h2> <p>Source: <a href="https://datatopics.worldbank.org/sdgatlas/">https://datatopics.worldbank.org/sdgatlas/</a></p> </div> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <p>The Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals 2020 presents an overview of the current state and trends for each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The user friendly and accessible information includes interactive storytelling and data visualizations.</p> <p>The Atlas draws from the <a href="https://datatopics.worldbank.org/world-development-indicators/">World Bank’s World Development Indicators</a> database, as well as from a wide variety of relevant data sources from scientists and other researchers worldwide.</p> <p>On the <a href="https://datatopics.worldbank.org/sdgatlas/">main page of the Atlas</a>, you can click on any of the 17 SDGs and be presented with essential and up-dated facts and trends for this specific goal. Here are two examples with much shortened information:</p> <p>When you click on <i><a href="https://datatopics.worldbank.org/sdgatlas/goal-2-zero-hunger/">SDG 2 Zero Hunger</a> - Beyond hunger: ensuring food security for all </i>you will learn the following:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">After declining for a decade, the undernourished population is now rising. In 2019, more than 690 million people experienced hunger — an increase of nearly 60 million in 5 years.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">Undernourishment is closely associated with severe food insecurity. Food insecurity manifests in different ways. These range from uncertainty around the ability to obtain food, to having to compromise on food quality and variety, to not eating for an entire day.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">Today, one in four persons around the world experiences moderate or severe food insecurity, and one in eleven experiences severe food insecurity. Most households that experience food insecurity — nearly 1.3 billion out of 2 billion — are in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">Food insecurity in Sub-Saharan Africa is staggering — more than half the population experiences it. Until 2018 the total number of people experiencing at least moderate food insecurity was highest in Sub-Saharan Africa. After 2019, South Asia overtook Sub-Saharan Africa.</p> <p>When you click on <i><a href="https://datatopics.worldbank.org/sdgatlas/goal-13-climate-action/">SDG 13 Climate Action</a> - Floods, droughts and heat waves herald a changing climate</i>, this is some of the information presented:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">The current global population is around 7.8 billion. By 2030 it will be around 8.5 billion. Everyone will experience the effects of climate change. But the effects will not be felt equally.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">From 2010 to 2019 more than 1.3 billion people were affected seriously enough by extreme weather events such as floods, droughts, heat waves, and cold waves to require emergency assistance.<br /> Over that period floods and droughts were responsible for the greatest human impacts.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">Climate change is expected to further increase the frequency and intensity of these events.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">Extreme weather events like these disproportionately affect people living in lower-middle-income and low-income countries.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">For example, in the last decade alone droughts and floods have affected an estimated 338 million people in India and 383 million people in China.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">Lower income countries are not only more vulnerable to adverse climate change impacts than higher income countries, but also less equipped to deal with them.</p> <p>And this is some of the information when you click on <i><a href="https://datatopics.worldbank.org/sdgatlas/goal-14-life-below-water/">SDG 14 Life below Water</a> - Marine species under threat</i>:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">Fish are crucial to the functioning of ecosystems as well as for human livelihoods and nourishment. Marine fish are the primary food source for approximately 1 billion people and marine fisheries employ about 60 million people. But over the years, overfishing has left many fish stocks so depleted that they can no longer replace themselves. Currently, 35 percent of global fish stocks are overfished, a dramatic rise over the 10 percent levels of the 1990’s.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">Fish and other aquatic species are particularly vulnerable to threats from human activities, and aquatic species face much higher rates of extinction than terrestrial species such as birds and mammals. Today, 40 percent of amphibians, 30 percent of freshwater fish, and more than 30 percent of coral reefs and marine mammals are under threat.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">Destructive fishing, such as bottom trawling, can damage seafloor ecosystems and indiscriminately catch everything it encounters.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">Intensive shipping damages marine environments through the release of chemicals, transfer of invasive species, dumping of waste, and physical disturbances.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">Marine protected areas have shown to be an effective means of safeguarding vulnerable species and ecosystems, conserving biodiversity, re-establishing ecosystem integrity, instituting clear guidelines, and sheltering the feeding and breeding areas of marine species.</p> <p>&nbsp;</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 4 April 2021</small></p> </div> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> Sun, 04 Apr 2021 17:00:08 +0000 admin 1142 at https://iefworld.org https://iefworld.org/node/1142#comments Active Coral Restoration: Techniques for a Changing Planet https://iefworld.org/node/1141 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Active Coral Restoration: Techniques for a Changing Planet</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. April 2021 - 22:39</span> <div class="field field--name-subjects field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/11" hreflang="en">Coral reefs</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);">Active Coral Restoration: Techniques for a Changing Planet</h2> <p>New book including work of Austin Bowden-Kerby</p> </div> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <p>Coral reefs around the world are in peril and approximately half of the world’s coral cover has been lost since 1970 due to impacts from climate change, pollution, disease, and fishing practices that can destroy entire reefs. This rate of decline has been quite rapid, particularly when compared to the average rate of growth for healthy coral in the wild. This ratio of decline to growth had diminished hope among scientists that coral reefs could eventually restore themselves over time. However, with the new technologies of active coral restoration, relative optimism has returned. Active coral restoration includes procedures for growing corals rapidly and efficiently, while also being able to select genetically for traits of natural resistance and resiliency that help them to survive water temperature increases, bleaching, and diseases. These cultured corals are grown in various types of nurseries and then outplanted to restoration sites. Until now, there has not been a book which showcases this marvelous, game-changing practice of active coral restoration.</p> <p><i><a href="https://www.jrosspub.com/science/environmental-science/active-coral-restoration.html">Active Coral Restoration: Techniques for a Changing Planet</a></i> provides a foundational understanding of the current and emerging practices and technologies used for active coral reef restoration projects around the world. The contributed chapters were written by some of the foremost authorities on coral reef restoration. A pioneer in this field is IEF member Austin Bowden-Kerby whose Kiritimati coral restoration site is included as Chapter 17. He has also initiated two other coral reef restoration projects that are featured in the book, one in Belize and the other one in the Dominican Republic.</p> <p>IEF congratulates Austin Bowden-Kerby for his life-long efforts for coral reef restoration and wishes all the projects featured in the book much success.</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 3 April 2021</small></p> </div> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> Sat, 03 Apr 2021 19:39:20 +0000 admin 1141 at https://iefworld.org https://iefworld.org/node/1141#comments