Jon Bon Jovi Sings for Iran

In our previous post titled, Playing for Change, there was a wonderful rendition of the song Stand By Me. With the recent violent actions against human rights in Iran, it only seemed appropriate to give you
Jon Bon Jovi and Andy Madadian’s recent version:

Spiritual Quote:

“O God! Refresh and gladden my spirit. Purify my heart. Illumine my powers. I lay all my affairs in Thy hand. Thou art my Guide and my Refuge. I will no longer be sorrowful and grieved; I will be a happy and joyful being. O God! I will no longer be full of anxiety, nor will I let trouble harass me. I will not dwell on the unpleasant things of life.

“O God! Thou art more friend to me than I am to myself.
I dedicate myself to Thee, O Lord.”

— ‘Abdu’l-Bahá               
~~~~~~~~~

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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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Neda! Stay With Us . . .

Neda SoltanThis woman was recently murdered in Iran…

She’s now called Iran’s “Angel of Freedom”…

She was walking with her singing teacher (women in Iran are prohibited from singing in public), while the current struggle for human rights was being waged around them, when a single malicious bullet found its home in her heart…

She was a student of philosophy and is now a symbol of the egregious waste that oppression of human freedom spreads over not just Iran but our whole earthly Home…

Why such brutal waste of human potential?

Why should beauty be viciously twisted into the horror of senseless death.

Why should those created in God’s image take on the venomous visage of satanic insanity?

People are murdered, young beauty is effaced, humans become devils because the Principle of the Oneness of Humanity is buried under ages of egoistic debris…

The Spiritual Quote  at the end of this post contains a solution for this Crime…

I’ve posted an image and video of Neda’s final moments on one of my other blogs. Why in the world would you want to go there and actually watch this sweet, young woman die? I’ll let Aylar Macky, who represented Calgary in the recent Miss Universe Canada competition, who had never been involved in any social causes, then turned into a strident activist, give you one possible reason why you might watch Neda die.

In her words, from the Calgary Herald :

“I watched the video of Neda over and over….I just couldn’t stand by helplessly after that….This isn’t just about Iran, it’s about all of humanity.”

Spiritual Quote:

“This is a new cycle of human power. All the horizons of the world are luminous, and the world will become indeed as a garden and a paradise. It is the hour of unity of the sons of men and of the drawing together of all races and all classes. You are loosed from ancient superstitions which have kept men ignorant, destroying the foundation of true humanity.

“The gift of God to this enlightened age is the knowledge of the oneness of mankind and of the fundamental oneness of religion. War shall cease between nations, and by the will of God the Most Great Peace shall come; the world will be seen as a new world, and all men will live as brothers.

“In the days of old an instinct for warfare was developed in the struggle with wild animals; this is no longer necessary; nay, rather, co-operation and mutual understanding are seen to produce the greatest welfare of mankind. Enmity is now the result of prejudice only.

“In the Hidden Words  Bahá’u’lláh says, ‘Justice is to be loved above all’. Praise be to God, in this country the standard of justice has been raised; a great effort is being made to give all souls an equal and a true place. This is the desire of all noble natures; this is today the teaching for the East and for the West; therefore the East and the West will understand each other and reverence each other, and embrace like long-parted lovers who have found each other.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London, p. 19

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Oppression Must Stop . . .

poorThis family is from another era but what they were suffering is still going on—oppression of most of the population by those in authority, whether governmental or corporate.

This is the second post in direct response to a recent survey (“What Should Be Our Greatest Concern?”).

Our last post explored the Global Water Crisis—number one concern of readers taking the survey. This post will bring two issues together: one from the second greatest concerns—Human Rights; and, one from fifth place—Economic Collapse.

The following two-part video set brings those concerns together
in sharp focus…



Spiritual Quote:

“Bahá’u’lláh set forth principles of guidance and teaching for economic readjustment. Regulations were revealed by Him which insure the welfare of the commonwealth. As the rich man enjoys his life surrounded by ease and luxuries, so the poor man must likewise have a home and be provided with sustenance and comforts commensurate with his needs. This readjustment of the social economic is of the greatest importance inasmuch as it insures the stability of the world of humanity; and until it is effected, happiness and prosperity are impossible.

“Bahá’u’lláh teaches that an equal standard of human rights must be recognized and adopted. In the estimation of God all men are equal; there is no distinction or preferment for any soul in the dominion of His justice and equity.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 240

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Our Human Family’s Water Crisis

waterFrom 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.

Spiritual Quote:

“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.

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What Should Be Our Greatest Concern?

surveyFor the last week, this blog has had a survey up called, What Should Be Our Greatest Concern?

It’s time to tally the votes from our readers.

First though, let me state that 48% of this blog’s readers come from the United States; however, that means that 52% are from a wide diversity of other countries…

I should also say that the way the Internet and Blogs work the survey will likely receive more voters and I may revisit the results in the future.

For now though, here are what readers feel should be our greatest concerns.

The Top Concern with 11% of the vote:

Clean Water

The set of next greatest concerns, each carrying 9% of the vote:

Children’s Rights
Climate Change
Human Rights

The next set, each with 8%:

Moral Development
War
Starvation
All of the Above…

Next, each with 6%:

Epidemic Disease
Rainforests
Women’s Rights

Next, each with 4%:

Economic Collapse
Terrorism
Religious Fanaticism

And, finally, with 2%:

Wetlands

I’ll be using this survey of Greatest Concerns for the next series of posts—doing research and providing links so you can explore the issues…

Spiritual Quote:

“Every age hath its own problem, and every soul its particular aspiration. The remedy the world needeth in its present-day afflictions can never be the same as that which a subsequent age may require. Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in, and center your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements.

“We can well perceive how the whole human race is encompassed with great, with incalculable afflictions. We see it languishing on its bed of sickness, sore-tried and disillusioned. They that are intoxicated by self-conceit have interposed themselves between it and the Divine and infallible Physician. Witness how they have entangled all men, themselves included, in the mesh of their devices. They can neither discover the cause of the disease, nor have they any knowledge of the remedy. They have conceived the straight to be crooked, and have imagined their friend an enemy.”
Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 212

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Voice Your Opinion . . .

You can select multiple answers and add your own responses:
Spiritual Quote:

2 May 1912
Talk at Hotel Plaza
Chicago, Illinois

“In this Cause consultation is of vital importance, but spiritual conference and not the mere voicing of personal views is intended. In France I was present at a session of the senate, but the experience was not impressive. Parliamentary procedure should have for its object the attainment of the light of truth upon questions presented and not furnish a battleground for opposition and self-opinion. Antagonism and contradiction are unfortunate and always destructive to truth. In the parliamentary meeting mentioned, altercation and useless quibbling were frequent; the result, mostly confusion and turmoil; even in one instance a physical encounter took place between two members. It was not consultation but comedy.

“The purpose is to emphasize the statement that consultation must have for its object the investigation of truth. He who expresses an opinion should not voice it as correct and right but set it forth as a contribution to the consensus of opinion, for the light of reality becomes apparent when two opinions coincide. A spark is produced when flint and steel come together. Man should weigh his opinions with the utmost serenity, calmness and composure. Before expressing his own views he should carefully consider the views already advanced by others. If he finds that a previously expressed opinion is more true and worthy, he should accept it immediately and not willfully hold to an opinion of his own. By this excellent method he endeavors to arrive at unity and truth. Opposition and division are deplorable. It is better then to have the opinion of a wise, sagacious man; otherwise, contradiction and altercation, in which varied and divergent views are presented, will make it necessary for a judicial body to render decision upon the question. Even a majority opinion or consensus may be incorrect. A thousand people may hold to one view and be mistaken, whereas one sagacious person may be right. Therefore, true consultation is spiritual conference in the attitude and atmosphere of love. Members must love each other in the spirit of fellowship in order that good results may be forthcoming. Love and fellowship are the foundation.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 72

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