From the results of our last survey, the global water crisis was the top urgent concern of readers. This post will give you a number of resources to explore the crisis and its possible solutions.
Here are some daunting facts from the Wikipedia article called Water Crisis:
> Inadequate access to safe drinking water for about 884 million people
> Inadequate access to water for sanitation and waste disposal for 2.5 billion people
> Groundwater overdrafting (excessive use) leading to diminished agricultural yields
> Overuse and pollution of water resources harming biodiversity
> Regional conflicts over scarce water resources sometimes resulting in warfare
From the World Water Council site we have:
“While the world’s population tripled in the 20th century, the use of renewable water resources has grown six-fold. Within the next fifty years, the world population will increase by another 40 to 50 %. This population growth – coupled with industrialization and urbanization – will result in an increasing demand for water and will have serious consequences on the environment.”
At Water Partners International there are many more facts about the crisis as well as a strong reminder that a Water Crisis induces a Sanitation Crisis…
And, for an interesting view on how the water crisis is also inducing more strain on the economic crisis see the story, Preventing a water crisis, at The Boston Globe.
“The conservation and protection of the environment must be addressed on the individual and societal levels. Shoghí Effendí, in a letter written on his behalf, states:
We cannot segregate the human heart from the environment outside us and say that once one of these is reformed everything will be improved. Man is organic with the world. His inner life moulds the environment and is itself also deeply affected by it. The one acts upon the other and every abiding change in the life of man is the result of these mutual reactions.”
Conservation of the Earth’s Resources, Compiled by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice, p.101.
Won’t say much myself in this post…
The movie trailer, the movie itself, and the Spiritual Quote say more than enough!
Just a bit from the site that has the whole movie:
“HOME is an ode to the planet’s beauty and its delicate harmony. Through the landscapes of 54 countries captured from above, Yann Arthus-Bertrand takes us on an unique journey all around the planet, to contemplate it and to understand it. But HOME is more than a documentary with a message, it is a magnificent movie in its own right. Every breathtaking shot shows the Earth – our Earth – as we have never seen it before. Every image shows the Earth’s treasures we are destroying and all the wonders we can still preserve. ‘From the sky, there’s less need for explanations’. Our vision becomes more immediate, intuitive and emotional. HOME has an impact on anyone who sees it. It awakens in us the awareness that is needed to change the way we see the world. (HOME embraces the major ecological issues that confront us and shows how everything on our planet is interconnected.)”
Spiritual Quote: “Nature is God’s Will and is its expression in and through the contingent world. It is a dispensation of Providence ordained by the Ordainer, the All-Wise. Were anyone to affirm that it is the Will of God as manifested in the world of being, no one should question this assertion. It is endowed with a power whose reality men of learning fail to grasp. Indeed a man of insight can perceive naught therein save the effulgent splendour of Our Name, the Creator. Say: This is an existence which knoweth no decay, and Nature itself is lost in bewilderment before its revelations, its compelling evidences and its effulgent glory which have encompassed the universe.”
And, you can Watch The Whole Movie Here!
Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 141
“Nature is God’s Will and is its expression in and through the contingent world. It is a dispensation of Providence ordained by the Ordainer, the All-Wise. Were anyone to affirm that it is the Will of God as manifested in the world of being, no one should question this assertion. It is endowed with a power whose reality men of learning fail to grasp. Indeed a man of insight can perceive naught therein save the effulgent splendour of Our Name, the Creator. Say: This is an existence which knoweth no decay, and Nature itself is lost in bewilderment before its revelations, its compelling evidences and its effulgent glory which have encompassed the universe.”
A friend of mine, living in Mexico, sent me notice of a WebSite called THE PACHAMAMA ALLIANCE.
For many people living in affluent countries who rarely think about the importance of every single member of our Human Family, this site would be one they just wouldn’t care for—couldn’t actually care for if they wanted to maintain their way of living, even if that way of living is a way of dying…
Here’s a smidgen of information from that site’s About page:
“The Pachamama Alliance believes that our ability to meet the challenges that face humanity as we make the transition to the next millennium, depends on our ability to successfully combine the best elements of…two worldviews into a single global vision, an alloy that blends the intellectual and scientific prowess of the modern world, with the deep and ancient wisdom of traditional cultures.”
I can hear those affluent folk saying (if they ever got around to paying attention), “Why should I concern myself with what a bunch of primitives have to say?” Well, one reason would be because they’re on the right track and you’re not. Another would be because what they have to say can save your skins, or your affluent children’s skins…
Here are a few of the front page news items from the site:
Paul Hawken’s ‘Unforgettable Commencement Address’, in which he says: “you are going to have to figure out what it means to be a human being on earth at a time when every living system is declining, and the rate of decline is accelerating. Kind of a mind-boggling situation… but not one peer-reviewed paper published in the last thirty years can refute that statement. Basically, the earth needs a new operating system, you are the programmers, and we need it within a few decades.”
“In order to reorient individuals and societies toward a sustainable future, we must recognize the following.
- Unity is essential if diverse peoples are to work toward a common future. The Earth Charter might well identify those aspects of unity which are prerequisites for the achievement of sustainable development. In the Bahá’í view, ‘The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established’.
- The unrestrained exploitation of natural resources is merely a symptom of an overall sickness of the human spirit. Any solutions to the environment/development crisis must, therefore, be rooted in an approach which fosters spiritual balance and harmony within the individual, between individuals, and with the environment as a whole. Material development must serve not only the body, but the mind and spirit as well.
- The changes required to reorient the world toward a sustainable future imply degrees of sacrifice, social integration, selfless action, and unity of purpose rarely achieved in human history. These qualities have reached their highest degree of development through the power of religion. Therefore, the world’s religious communities have a major role to play in inspiring these qualities in their members, releasing latent capacities of the human spirit and empowering individuals to act on behalf of the planet, its peoples, and future generations.
- Nothing short of a world federal system, guided by universally agreed upon and enforceable laws, will allow nation states to manage cooperatively an increasingly interdependent and rapidly changing world, thereby ensuring peace and social and economic justice for all the world’s peoples.
- Development must be decentralized in order to involve communities in formulating and implementing the decisions and programs that affect their lives. Such a decentralization need not conflict with a global system and strategy, but would in fact ensure that developmental processes are adapted to the planet’s rich cultural, geographic, and ecological diversity.
- Consultation must replace confrontation and domination in order to gain the cooperation of the family of nations in devising and implementing measures that will preserve the earth’s ecological balance.
- Only as women are welcomed into full partnership in all fields of human endeavor, including environment and development, will the moral and psychological climate be created in which a peaceful, harmonious, and sustainable civilization can emerge and flourish.
- The cause of universal education deserves the utmost support, for no nation can achieve success unless education is accorded all its citizens. Such an education should promote the consciousness of both the oneness of humanity and the integral connection between humankind and the world of nature. By nurturing a sense of world citizenship, education can prepare the youth of the world for the organic changes in the structure of society which the principle of oneness implies.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1992 June 06, Earth Charter
In a story from OneWorld, Eco-Islam: Malaysia’s Imams to preach against poaching, it says: “Muslim preachers in Malaysia are using teachings from the Koran to raise awareness and help preserve endangered species, many of which reside in the Southeast Asian island nation.”
This is an extremely hopeful sign in a prevailing culture that most often sees the natural world as a mere Resource, ripe for exploitation.
Malaysia is also one of the 18 countries considered to be MegaDiverse; in other words, “countries that harbor the majority of the earth’s species and are therefore considered extremely biodiverse.”
On the World Wildlife Fund site (where you can check all the MegaDiverse countries) they say something very powerful. You may already know this but, I feel, it bears near constant repetition:
For me, as a Bahá’í, religion supporting conservation of animal species is a no-brainer; but, I’d rather quote folks more eloquent then me…
“Among the principles guiding the Bahá’í approach to conservation and sustainable development, the following are of particular importance:
» nature reflects the qualities and attributes of God and should, therefore, be greatly respected and cherished;
» all things are interconnected and flourish according to the law of reciprocity; and
» the oneness of humanity is the fundamental spiritual and social truth shaping our age.
“Bahá’í Scriptures describe nature as an emanation of God’s will:
“Nature in its essence is the embodiment of My Name, the Maker, the Creator. Its manifestations are diversified by varying causes, and in this diversity there are signs for men of discernment. Nature is God’s Will and is its expression in and through the contingent world. It is a dispensation of Providence ordained by the Ordainer, the All-Wise.”
The Bahá’í International Community, 1995 Apr 06, Conservation and Sustainable Development in the Bahá’í Faith
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