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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Morality’s Downfall . . .

moralityI’m a Bahá’í…

I’ve been a Bahá’í for a little over 20 years…

I’m a more moral person now but it took a tremendous effort to will myself to become subservient to the principles of my Faith…

That word, subservient, may sound like I’ve given up my freewill. Yet, what I’ve worked hard to do (and still am definitely not perfect at) is to use my freewill to adhere to principles of morality that aren’t just in my Faith but all Faiths.

For example, would choosing to have your ego become subservient to honesty be a weakness?

Enough about me. It’s what’s happening to my fellow believers in Iran that has me troubled. Actually, because of the ominous portent and the fact that the crimes committed by Iranian government officials are just the rudely boldest of more insidious moral crimes committed by most of the world’s leaders, this one-year anniversary of the incarceration of Iran’s Bahá’í Leadership, with no access to legal counsel, should concern anyone who strives to be more good than bad…

The “informal” charges laid against these Bahá’ís in Iran were: espionage for Israel, insulting religious sanctities, and propaganda against the Islamic Republic. Now, after one year in prison another “informal” charge has been leveled: spreading corruption on earth. This, by the way, was the charge against the Bahá’ís in Iran who were summariy executed back in the 80’s—murdered for their beliefs—for working hard to be moral…

This video, from Iranian.com, is about the burning of Bahá’í homes in Egypt but it’s happening in Iran, too. And, the perpetrators are ordinary citizens incited by their government:

Here’s another video from Iran Press Watch  that compares the attitude of the Iranian government to that of Nazi Germany:

Spiritual Quote:

“At the heart of the global crisis currently afflicting humanity, there exists a pervasive lack of moral leadership in all sectors of human society. The lack of moral leadership is demonstrated in the continuous uncovering of unethical behavior at all levels of society in all parts of the world. No sphere of human endeavor, from the family to the highest corridors of power, remains unaffected. Often, moral leadership is hard to identify because society presents too many conflicting messages about what is meant by leadership…it would be helpful to identify a few fundamental capabilities that characterize effective moral leadership and to set in motion a systematic learning process that will foster the development of these capabilities within the institutions that serve human society….

“Autocratic, paternalistic, manipulative and ‘know-it-all’ modes of leadership, which are found in all parts of the world, tend to disempower those whom they are supposed to serve. They exercise control by over-centralizing the decision making-making process, thereby coercing others into agreement. If humanity is to move out of its collective adolescence and enter its age of collective maturity, if it is to reap long term benefits from the Earth Summit process, we have to ask ourselves some pertinent questions. First, are the currently-prevalent models of leadership capable of producing leaders who are able to address, with integrity and justice, the essential global issues facing humanity? Second, are the institutions which are brought into being by the currently-prevalent models of leadership, capable of creating a sustainable world civilization? Third, are we ourselves, ready to abandon our outmoded practices and old loyalties and explore a new model of moral leadership? Fourth, what would such a new form of leadership look like?

“The leadership model which is being proposed, is unequivocally centered on service to others. Therefore, one of the prerequisites for moral leadership is the spirit of service – service to one’s family, community, and nation. This spirit of service does not in any way negate individual drive or initiative, nor does it stifle individual creativity. Rather, it calls for a model of leadership which will release the potential of the individual while safeguarding the well-being of the whole. Those who emerge as leaders would likely combine a spirit of service with a drive for excellence. The institutions which would emerge from a service-centered leadership would promote the well-being of the whole community while safeguarding the rights, freedoms and initiatives of each individual. These institutions would preserve human honor which would lead to a civilization which deeply cares for the beauty of nature and all beings on the planet.”
Bahá’í International Community, United Nations Office, Moral Leadership, June 1992

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We Really Are One Big Family

RwandaOne of the comments to our last post, from a good friend of mine from Japan, said I was being “timely” in posting about Women, Rights, and Water; then, she left a link for a delightful video which is below.

The video made me review my understanding of the
Millennium Development Goals.

Don’t know what they are?

They’re a huge commitment by lots of people to resolve a host of Our Family’s problems…

Below is a list of the goals and each listing is a link. Check out the one that attracts you most… Then check out the rest so you can tell others about them!
 

MILLENNIUM 
DEVELOPMENT GOALS

 

Spiritual Quote:

“The modern national state came into existence as a unifier of diverse races and peoples. It has been a social truce observed by or enforced upon communities previously separate, independent and hostile. Historically the nation represented a great moral victory, a definite and important stage in human progress. It has raised the condition of the masses of people, substituted constitutional law for the arbitrary authority of the tribe, extended education and knowledge, mitigated the effect of sectarian disputes, and enlarged the social world of the average man. It provided conditions under which natural science could develop, inventions be put into operation, and industrialization give man mastery over nature.

“The new powers and resources made possible by the nation could not be confined within the national boundary but produced an internationalism of cause and effect in social relationships which no nation could control. The national state has reached the limits of its development as an independent, self-directed social body. A world science, a world economy and a world consciousness, riding the wave of a new and universal movement of spiritual evolution, lay the foundations of world order. Conceived of as an end in itself, the national state has come to be a denial of the oneness of mankind, the source of general disruption opposed to the true interests of its people. From the depths of man’s divine endowment stirs response to the affirmation of oneness which gives this age its central impetus and direction. Society is undergoing transformation, to effect a new order based on the wholeness of human relationships.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1947 Feb, A Baha’i Declaration of Human Obligations and Rights

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Law and Terror

law_terrorWhat good is government?

Why do people need government?

How much government is too much government?

Take those three questions to your favorite hangout and you can guarantee at least spirited discussion, if not an actual fight…

As humanity has evolved through the stages of Family, Tribe, City-State, and Nation, various forms of government have been organized. Some worked, some didn’t. Some helped people, some oppressed people.

The United States recently elected a new head of state, Barack Hussein Obama. Many hailed his inauguration as a new force in America and the world. Many are troubled by what he stands for.

I certainly don’t envy his position of power, the problems associated with the day to day administration of a government that must deal, in some way, with terrorist groups or movements; especially for anyone with what appear to be Obama’s beliefs.

People criticize him for his stance on “engagement” rather than acting from advantage, his apparent desire to induce the unity of contending parties, his relative inexperience in the harsh world of Washington politics.

I can only hope he has some chance to make some of the changes that some of his words seem to portent. I want to see the world unified. I don’t want my grandchild to live in a squandered or terrorized world. I don’t want my grandchild’s grandchildren to have no civilization at all, no government organizations or protections.

Mr. Obama recently gave a speech to the members of the CIA. It’s rather remarkable when compared with the attitude of the last American administration. I pray he means what he says and I pray he can influence the powers that be to create what he envisions in this video:

Spiritual Quote:

“The realization of human rights does not involve only action by the government or freedom from unjust government interference or oppression; rather it requires the construction of a progressive social order from the ground level upwards. It demands a new awareness of the reality of human unity and the development among all peoples of an all inclusive notion of community that extends from the family, to villages, towns, cities and localities, to nations, and, most importantly, to the boundaries of the planet itself. Moreover, given that rights cannot exist without corresponding responsibilities, each member of a community has a responsibility to uphold the rights of the other members based on a recognition of their unity and interdependence.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1993 Feb, Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms

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Religion and Wildlife

animalIn 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:

“The Earth is at a critical point where the decisions and actions taken by one species—ours—will determine the future of all life.”

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…

Spiritual Quote:

“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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An Ethical Business Press Release

“A WAKE” FOR JAVA STREET CAFÉ

java_street_cafe

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Sam Lippert
Tel: 937-294-5280
Cell Phone: 734-301-0089

Nationally Recognized Café Will Keep The Doors Open For Three Days Straight

It may be the end of the line for Java Street Café in Kettering, Ohio, at least at its present location. Grabbing attention from CNN, MSNBC, Fox, and three local channels back in March for taking all the prices off the menu, even showing a steady 13% increase in sales since that bold move, hasn’t been enough for the landlord. The Café is slated to close its doors at 6pm, Saturday, April 11th.

“The new policy has been a success.”, says Sam Lippert, the owner, “Unfortunately, we have obligations, including back rent, from the old business model that seem to be derailing the whole thing.”

Lippert had hoped that, with the success of the new business model, the landlord, B. R. Kettering Towne Center, LLC, located in California, would be convinced to have a little more patience. “It obviously didn’t work”, said Lippert, “I was informed that I had to leave the premises to avoid legal action. Even though my sales are climbing, I’m out of resources. I need to make the new business model as plain as day with the numbers I have. Then, I need about $40,000 to pay my obligations, secure a new location, and get rolling again.” Sam continues, “What I’m doing here has touched people from as far away as Toronto and Salt Lake City, has sparked interest in the business community, and is still expanding its presence in the blogosphere. It would be a shame to see it come to a complete end before it has a chance to significantly prove itself.”

So, from 7am on Thursday, April 9th until 6pm on Saturday, April 11th, Sam will keep the doors open for business. He said, “This continuous operation, 24/3, will be our Wake for this incarnation of Java Street Café. It will also help me make payroll and raise awareness about the “Fair Price” business model. I may be under the gun right now, but this business plan works and I’m going to do everything I can to make it keep happening.”

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If you’d like more information about this topic, or would like to schedule an interview, tender suggestions, or offer assistance, call Sam Lippert at 937-294-5280 or Cell at 734-301-0089.

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Previous Posts about Java Street Café:

Business Ethics?
Cafe owner thrives with no-pricing policy
Sam’s Interview On CNN

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One final thought:

Incompetent bankers can get billions. One ethical, main street
business man finds it extremely difficult to find thousands…

Spiritual Quote:

“In collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO), the European Bahá’í Business Forum, a voluntary association of Bahá’í business professionals, recently produced a joint working paper entitled “Socially Responsible Enterprise Restructuring.” The report has served as a basis for several training sessions organized by the ILO and has been disseminated to governments, employers associations and workers’ organizations throughout the world. The European Bahá’í Business Forum has also conducted a series of seminars on business ethics in eastern Europe and has formed an educational partnership with AIESEC, one of the largest organizations of business students in the world.

“As a practical step in contributing to a dialogue about development and social transformation that explicitly takes account of spiritual values and perspectives, some 100 influential development organizations, international and government agencies, religious representatives, and academics recently gathered in New Delhi to participate in a colloquium on the theme of Science, Religion and Development. The primary goal of the event was to explore how a unified interaction between scientific methods and religious insights can promote the building of human capacity, particularly in the areas of governance, education, technology and economic activity. The event was organized by the Bahá’í community of India and the Institute for Studies in Global Prosperity, a research agency of the Bahá’í International Community. At the global level, Bahá’ís have also been involved in the very constructive World Faiths Development Dialogue between the World Bank and major religions.”
Bahá’í International Community, 2001 May 28-31, Overcoming Corruption in Public Institutions

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Bugs In Our Moral Code

cheating

Cheating At Life

Many could care less about moral codes as long as they feel they’re getting ahead in life. Thing is, getting ahead means nothing if you then fall far behind.

The current economic crisis is a good example—many people cheating and others looking the other way—all to get ahead—an example of institutionalized cheating that blossoms into international crime.

It’s easy to find studies and articles about cheating, from ways to stop it to ways to regulate it to the whys of its happening.

What’s very hard is finding ways to implement possible solutions to the obvious fact of wide-spread cheating…

An important consideration in any exploration of cheating or moral action is to be clear about why we even have such codes or laws in society.

Consider:

The word cheat comes from roots that mean to “fall away” and moral comes from “character” and “good”.

There’s a strong emphasis in those words on the group or social unit. There’s also an interesting perspective from which to discuss the social value of unbridled independent action. But that’s a subject for a future post…

The following video is a fascinating exploration of cheating, morals, and economic crime by a behavioral economist. Quite informative and also entertaining:

Spiritual Quote:

“The endowments which distinguish the human race from all other forms of life are summed up in what is known as the human spirit; the mind is its essential quality. These endowments have enabled humanity to build civilizations and to prosper materially. But such accomplishments alone have never satisfied the human spirit, whose mysterious nature inclines it towards transcendence, a reaching towards an invisible realm, towards the ultimate reality, that unknowable essence of essences called God….No doubt some observers would disagree, observing that religion has sometimes retarded, instead of advanced, social progress. In our view, such cases represent a distortion of religion.

“We would strongly suggest that this and any discussion of social policy give recognition to the role of spiritual principle in the functioning of society and indeed of government. Neither in theory nor in practice, should we separate material and moral affairs in a dichotomous way. The moral capacities and strengths of a nation — and of the global community — may be regarded as its ultimate form of wealth. Deficiencies in this form or wealth too easily lead to material effects as, for example, an unfair distribution of resources or, in the case of war, the near or total destruction of the physical infrastructure.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1987 Sept 09, Social Progress

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