Climate Change and Social Justice

climate_changeIn a recent survey on this blog, Climate Change was considered one of the most important concerns we humans have.

There are many ways to perceive possible solutions to this global crisis.

Two particular perspectives that I’ve recently come across show promise for lending great support to any possible solutions.

The first is on smartMeme and is best summed up in their own words:

“You’ve probably heard about last week’s official report from the Whitehouse, confirming that climate change is serious, and that ‘changes are unavoidable’. So, we’re wondering, ‘What kind of changes are we talking about’?

“Will we keep blasting the Appalachian mountains for the sake of “clean coal”? Will we privatize water in order to “preserve” it? Will climate change stand in as an excuse for lax labor practices and corporate greenwashing?”

Here’s the way smartMeme works: “Organizing – at the heart of it – has always been about building relationships through telling our stories. What smartMeme is doing is upgrading methods for the information age, and cutting through the clutter of the modern media climate with clear calls for justice that spread as viral memes.”

In case you’re not familiar with the term, a Meme, from Wikipedia, is:
“…a postulated unit or element of cultural ideas, symbols or practices, and is transmitted from one mind to another through speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena.”

The second perspective is called The Transition Initiative. Rather than being a way to induce more action to stem the tide of climate change, The Transition Initiative  is a way for communities to prepare for sustanability even if, as seems likely, governments and corporations don’t take swift enough action.

I feel their methods were spawned by the consideration that there are already enough changes in the environment that even a full-out program to reverse changes cannot keep up with change already induced…

You can find out about The Transition Initiative  at the site, Transition Culture. I do recommend, though, that you also read the fine essay at Orion Magazine to gain a deep understanding of why such an Initiative  is necessary…

Spiritual Quote:

“The current process for creating international environmental legislation, which addresses only one problem at a time, is fragmented and unsystematic. Conventions, treaties, and protocols, have been adopted on such diverse issues as the protection of the ozone layer and control of international traffic in hazardous wastes. Other conventions are being negotiated on climate change and on biological diversity. Still others have been suggested on such subjects as land-based sources of marine pollution. No one body is responsible for drafting international environmental legislation. Nor have the nations of the world agreed on a set of principles upon which environmental legislation can be based. Moreover, the countries signing the various legislative instruments are rarely identical. Thus, it is almost impossible to harmonize or combine agreements.

“The international legislative process is well known to be slow, cumbersome, and expensive. Once a problem is identified, meetings of experts are called to prepare a draft agreement. The agreement is negotiated by interested governments and signed at a plenipotentiary meeting. After what is often a lengthy period of ratification and accessions, the legislation comes into force, but only in those states which have signed it. A secretariat is generally established to facilitate and monitor the convention’s implementation. If legislation has to be modified, as in the case of the Montreal Protocol, where increased ozone deterioration outstripped the protocol’s provisions, updating can be as slow as adoption. Many countries with limited numbers of diplomats and experts cannot cope with such time-consuming and expensive procedures, particularly as the number of negotiations is increasing to respond to pressing global environmental problems.

“The present ad hoc process for environmental legislation can only become more unmanageable. Numerous proposals have been offered to provide global mechanisms to create and support a sustainable pattern of development. Some experts advise strengthening the existing UN system by upgrading the mandates of agencies such as the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), reconfiguring the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), or using the Trusteeship Council to administer certain global resources. Others suggest creating new bodies such as an environmental security council, a World Court of environmental justice, or an international environmental negotiating body to prepare, adopt, and revise international legislation on issues requiring global action.

“However well motivated and helpful such proposals are, it seems apparent to the Bahá’í International Community that the establishment of a sustainable pattern of development is a complex task with widespread ramifications. It will clearly require a new level of commitment to solving major problems not exclusively associated with the environment. These problems include militarization, the inordinate disparity of wealth between and within nations, racism, lack of access to education, unrestrained nationalism, and the lack of equality between women and men. Rather than a piecemeal approach conceived in response to the needs of the nation-states, it seems clearly preferable to adopt an umbrella agreement under which specific international codes could be promulgated.

“Long-term solutions will require a new and comprehensive vision of a global society, supported by new values. In the view of the Bahá’í International Community, acceptance of the oneness of humanity is the first fundamental prerequisite for this reorganization and administration of the world as one country, the home of humankind. Recognition of this principle does not imply abandonment of legitimate loyalties, the suppression of cultural diversity, or the abolition of national autonomy. It calls for a wider loyalty, for a far higher aspiration than has so far animated human efforts. It clearly requires the subordination of national impulses and interests to the imperative claims of a unified world. It is inconsistent not only with any attempt to impose uniformity, but with any tendency towards excessive centralization. Its goal is well captured in the concept of ‘unity in diversity’.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1991 Aug 13, International Legislation for Environment Development

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Economic Compassion

moneyThe current global economic crisis is only one part of a set of crises including a climate crisis, a crisis of deprivation of women and children, a crisis of violent terror, a crisis of nationalistic overweening pride, and a crisis of moral apathy, to name a few.

All these crises are interwoven and no emergency, quick-fix solutions will abate the suffering of humanity. Actually, none of the currently popular “solutions” has much of a chance at stemming the tide of woe engulfing our human family. And, most sadly, the “experts” are clueless—have proven their inability to resolve anything and are wallowing in the trough of denial…

The Real Solution, to all  these crises, is embarrassingly simple and appallingly ignored: Recognizing the Oneness of Humanity…

I’m going to present two solutions to the economic crisis that offer extremely practical local and regional techniques for easing the current squeeze (as well as giving you a powerful motivation toward hope in the midst of crisis in the Spiritual Quote at the end of the post…).

The first site with solutions is Common Security Club. Check out their site and watch this supremely educational video:

The next site is yes! and their 31 Ways to Jump Start the Local Economy. Get together with a few friends and go over their list and I think you’ll be amazed at the results!

Spiritual Quote:

“The question has been asked: Will the spiritual progress of the world equal and keep pace with material progress in the future? In a living organism the full measure of its development is not known or realized at the time of its inception or birth. Development and progression imply gradual stages or degrees. For example, spiritual advancement may be likened to the light of the early dawn. Although this dawn light is dim and pale, a wise man who views the march of the sunrise at its very beginning can foretell the ascendancy of the sun in its full glory and effulgence. He knows for a certainty that it is the beginning of its manifestation and that later it will assume great power and potency. Again, for example, if he takes a seed and observes that it is sprouting, he will know assuredly that it will ultimately become a tree. Now is the beginning of the manifestation of the spiritual power, and inevitably the potency of its life forces will assume greater and greater proportions. Therefore, this twentieth century is the dawn, or beginning, of spiritual illumination, and it is evident that day by day it will advance. It will reach such a degree that spiritual effulgences will overcome the physical, so that divine susceptibilities will overpower material intelligence and the heavenly light dispel and banish earthly darkness. Divine healing shall purify all ills, and the cloud of mercy will pour down its rain. The Sun of Reality will shine, and all the earth shall put on its beautiful green carpet. Among the results of the manifestation of spiritual forces will be that the human world will adapt itself to a new social form, the justice of God will become manifest throughout human affairs, and human equality will be universally established. The poor will receive a great bestowal, and the rich attain eternal happiness. For although at the present time the rich enjoy the greatest luxury and comfort, they are nevertheless deprived of eternal happiness; for eternal happiness is contingent upon giving, and the poor are everywhere in the state of abject need. Through the manifestation of God’s great equity the poor of the world will be rewarded and assisted fully, and there will be a readjustment in the economic conditions of mankind so that in the future there will not be the abnormally rich nor the abject poor. The rich will enjoy the privilege of this new economic condition as well as the poor, for owing to certain provisions and restrictions they will not be able to accumulate so much as to be burdened by its management, while the poor will be relieved from the stress of want and misery. The rich will enjoy his palace, and the poor will have his comfortable cottage.

“The essence of the matter is that divine justice will become manifest in human conditions and affairs, and all mankind will find comfort and enjoyment in life. It is not meant that all will be equal, for inequality in degree and capacity is a property of nature. Necessarily there will be rich people and also those who will be in want of their livelihood, but in the aggregate community there will be equalization and readjustment of values and interests. In the future there will be no very rich nor extremely poor. There will be an equilibrium of interests, and a condition will be established which will make both rich and poor comfortable and content. This will be an eternal and blessed outcome of the glorious twentieth century which will be realized universally. The significance of it is that the glad tidings of great joy revealed in the promises of the Holy Books will be fulfilled. Await ye this consummation.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 132

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Sustainable Development

Sustainable_development

Ever had a theme song? You know, where a song just IS  a huge part of your attitude and you “adopt” it as Yours?

My current theme song is below the links I’ll offer in this post that relate to various aspects of Sustainable Development. It just happens to be from my last post and I wish I could put it in every post… Have everyone singing it, all the time… Make it the Spirit  of the stupendous effort  we all must make to turn greedy and immoral world-wide practices into a sustainable way of life… for our Whole Human Family…

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Bahá’ís Participate In U.N. Sustainable Development Session

Smaller But Stronger

Global Economic Crisis: Time for a Cultural Shift?

Trento Festival of Economics

Wikipedia  Article On Sustainable Development

Sustainable Development on Global Issues WebSite

And, to show that, even with all the information laid on the table, planners and government players still have a long distance to travel before they’re also playing the Sustainable Development Game, here’s an article from 2002:

Baha’is to stress spiritual values at World Summit on Sustainable Development

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And, Now , what I hope will be Your  Theme Song, too !!!

Spiritual Quote:

“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.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1992 June 06, Earth Charter

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The Promise of World Peace

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/ec/P_globe.svg/400px-P_globe.svg.png

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I looked through all my news sources for a lead for today’s post based on my new “model” for this blog: lead with news story, make my own comments, finish with an appropriate spiritual quote.

None of the stories seemed right; none of the issues seemed worthy of coverage; no part of the world was immune from problems–even the Olympics is plagued with controversy.

So, it came to me to put “global” + “crisis” into Google…

Here are some links from just the first page of results:

Forget oil, the new global crisis is food

Global Financial and Economic Crisis

Global Food Crisis

Global Coral Crisis Is In Full Bloom

Muhammad cartoons ‘global crisis

Biodiversity Crisis | Global Species Loss

Global Water Crisis

Poor old world . . .

I ask myself why . . .

Why is now the time of so much crisis? Is there a deep reason or is it just a fluke? Will we get over all these crises or is the world doomed?

“The Great Peace towards which people of good will throughout the centuries have inclined their hearts, of which seers and poets for countless generations have expressed their vision, and for which from age to age the sacred scriptures of mankind have constantly held the promise, is now at long last within the reach of the nations. For the first time in history it is possible for everyone to view the entire planet, with all its myriad diversified peoples, in one perspective. World peace is not only possible but inevitable. It is the next stage in the evolution of this planet—in the words of one great thinker, ‘the planetization of mankind’.


“Whether peace is to be reached only after unimaginable horrors precipitated by humanity’s stubborn clinging to old patterns of behaviour, or is to be embraced now by an act of consultative will, is the choice before all who inhabit the earth. At this critical juncture when the intractable problems confronting nations have been fused into one common concern for the whole world, failure to stem the tide of conflict and disorder would be unconscionably irresponsible….

“Whatever suffering and turmoil the years immediately ahead may hold, however dark the immediate circumstances, the Bahá’í community believes that humanity can confront this supreme trial with confidence in its ultimate outcome. Far from signalizing the end of civilization, the convulsive changes towards which humanity is being ever more rapidly impelled will serve to release the ‘potentialities inherent in the station of man’ and reveal ‘the full measure of his destiny on earth, the innate excellence of his reality’. “

The Universal House of Justice, October 1985, The Promise of World Peace, pp. 2-3

Download The Complete Document: Word .doc or  Adobe .pdf


Think Globally ~ Act Locally

You Be The Judge

First Statement:

1 July 1912

Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York

“The fundamental basis of the community is agriculture, tillage of the soil.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Foundations of World Unity, p. 37

Second Statement:

“Strive as much as possible to become proficient in the science of agriculture, for in accordance with the divine teachings the acquisition of sciences and the perfection of arts are considered acts of worship.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 144

Third Statement:

Late 1990s

“It has been estimated that without the use of pesticides food production would drop by 40%, resulting in both a dramatic increase in food costs and the associated problems of starvation.”

Fourth Statement:

Wikipedia

“Intensive farming or intensive agriculture is an agricultural production system characterized by the high inputs of capital, fertilizers, labour, or labour-saving technologies such as pesticides relative to land area. This is in contrast to the concept of Extensive Agriculture which involves a low input of materials and labour with the crop yield depending largely on the naturally available soil fertility, water supply or other land qualities.”

Fifth Statement:

March 2001

“Imagine the surprise of going online and discovering that the vitamin and mineral content of vegetables has drastically dropped….Some of the differences in vitamin and mineral content were enormous–a 50% drop in the amount of calcium in broccoli, for example. Watercress down 88% in iron content; cauliflower down 40% in vitamin C content–all since 1975.”

Sixth Statement

June, 2008

“Global food prices are expected to rise further as world leaders failed to take concrete actions to reverse the trend. “

Seventh Statement:

June, 2008

Hungry Farmers Urge Local Control over Food

“…they emphasized the importance of protecting the land, water, and seeds rights of communities necessary to grow food… [to] guarantee a dignified future to peasants and indigenous people….Otherwise, the farmers said, the poor in their communities would remain at the mercy of the large corporations that dominate agricultural production now and are largely responsible for the spiraling price of staple foods across the planet. “

Call In The Jury !