Well-Woven Crises…

Global_CrisesFrom Machines Like Us: “The world faces a compounding series of crises driven by human activity, which existing governments and institutions are increasingly powerless to cope with, a group of eminent environmental scientists and economists has warned.”

And, quoting the scientists they cite in the article, they add:

“The major powers must be willing to enforce an agreement – but legitimacy will depend on acceptance by numerous and diverse countries, and non-governmental actors such as civil society and business…To address common threats and harness common opportunities, we need greater interaction amongst existing institutions, and new institutions, to help construct and maintain a global-scale social contract…”

“…a global-scale social contract…”

They also point out some of the well-woven crises: “Energy, food and water crises, climate disruption, declining fisheries, ocean acidification, emerging diseases and increasing antibiotic resistance…”

A global-scale social contract to resolve these and many other intertwined crises will take, in my opinion, a massive change of heart on the part of all the people involved…

Change of heart…

I’m going to integrate our normal, closing Spiritual Quote into the body of this post…

From the Bahá’í International Community:

“The central theme of Bahá’u’lláh’s writings is that humanity is one single race and the day has come for its unification into one global society. Through an irresistible historical process, the traditional barriers of race, class, creed, faith and nation will break down. These forces will, Bahá’u’lláh said, give birth in time to a new universal civilization. The crises now afflicting the planet face all its peoples with the need to accept their oneness and work towards the creation of a unified global society.

“Bahá’u’lláh outlined certain fundamental principles upon which this new world civilization should be founded. These include the elimination of
all forms of prejudice; full equality between the sexes; recognition of the essential oneness of the world’s great religions; the elimination of
extremes of poverty and wealth; universal education; a high standard of personal conduct; the harmony of science and religion; a sustainable
balance between nature and technology; and the establishment of a world federal system, based on collective security and the oneness of humanity.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1992, Magazine – The Bahá’ís

Massive Change of Heart………

~~~~~~~~~

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A Socially-Redeeming Ad?

adsI normally wouldn’t put an advertisement video on this blog…

My goal here is to bring social and cultural issues to light and attempt to raise them to the level of Principle…

Too often we take the facts of a situation and try to find a resolution at the level of the facts themselves. This rarely works since facts alone won’t reveal reasons and values and goals that the facts are merely pointing to…

Solutions happen when values are considered; especially if the solution involves more than one person…

So, all that said, here’s a Pantene commercial; yes, the shampoo. I wish more products had such socially valuable ads…

Spiritual Quote:

“See how, in this day, the scope of sciences and arts hath widened out, and what wondrous technical advances have been made, and to what a high degree the mind’s powers have increased, and what stupendous inventions have appeared.

“This age is indeed as a hundred other ages: should ye gather the yield of a hundred ages, and set that against the accumulated product of our times, the yield of this one era will prove greater than that of a hundred gone before. Take ye, for an example, the sum total of all the books that were ever written in ages past, and compare that with the books and treatises that our era hath produced: these books, written in our day alone, far and away exceed the total number of volumes that have been written down the ages. See how powerful is the influence exerted by the Day-Star of the world upon the inner essence of all created things!

“But alas, a thousand times alas! The eyes see it not, the ears are deaf, and the hearts and minds are oblivious of this supreme bestowal. Strive ye then, with all your hearts and souls, to awaken those who slumber, to cause the blind to see, and the dead to rise.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 111

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Global Crisis, the MDGs, and the Earth Charter

Global_Crisis

The MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS (MDGs) are an intertwined set of priorities first promoted by the United Nations in 2000.

Here they are:
End Poverty and Hunger
Universal Education
Gender Equality
Child Health
Maternal Health
Combat HIV/AIDS
Environmental Sustainability
Global Partnership

The original “deadline” for meeting the goals was 2015.

In the highly influential Huffington Post , in an article entitled, It’s Over: The Tragedy of the Millennium Development Goals, William Easterly says, “The MDGs will go down in history as a success in global consciousness-raising, but a failure in using that consciousness for its stated objectives….Why waste any more effort on the MDGs, now that we know they will not be met?”

In the 2009 Report on the status of attainment of the goals, it says:

“Rather than retreat, now is the time to accelerate progress towards the MDGs and to strengthen the global partnership for development. If the global community responds constructively to the crisis, the goals can still be achieved.”

The statement from the Huffington Post is from an economist. The statement from the 2009 Report is from the Secretary-General of the UN.

It’s relatively easy to see why the chief officer of the United Nations would implore hope and significantly puzzling why an economist would preach defeat before the deadline…

Of course there are many other views as well as many other initiatives to improve the miserable lot of most of the members of our human family…

One particularly important initiative is the Earth Charter—drafted during a six-year worldwide consultation process (1994-2000).

In 1991, the Bahá’í International Community offered suggestions for the proposed Earth Charter and presented them to the Preparatory Committee of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development.

This blog always offers a spiritual quote along with its commentary since I believe the solutions to cultural and global crises lie in applied spirituality. I believe the BIC’s suggestions to the UNCED are noteworthy because they give the underlying spiritual prerequisites without which any proposed political or economic solution will fail. Here are those suggestions…

Spiritual Quote:

Geneva
5 April 1991

* * * * *

“The Bahá’í International Community applauds the proposal of the Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) that an Earth Charter be one of six principal components to be addressed at UNCED in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 1992. Indeed, agreement on the ‘principles to govern the relationships of peoples and nations with each other and with the earth’ will be essential ‘to ensure our common future in both environmental and developmental terms’. We, therefore, welcome this opportunity to share our views on elements to be considered for inclusion in this proposed Charter.

“It is our conviction that any call to global action for environment and development must be rooted in universally accepted values and principles. Similarly, the search for solutions to the world’s grave environmental and developmental problems must go beyond technical-utilitarian proposals and address the underlying causes of the crisis. Genuine solutions, in the Bahá’í view, will require a globally accepted vision for the future, based on unity and willing cooperation among the nations, races, creeds, and classes of the human family. Commitment to a higher moral standard, equality between the sexes, and the development of consultative skills for the effective functioning of groups at all levels of society will be essential.

“There are many environmental declarations to which the UNCED Earth Charter could refer and on which it might draw, including the Stockholm Declaration on the Human Environment (1972), the Nairobi Declaration (1982), the World Charter for Nature (1982), and more recent documents such as the Universal Code of Environmental Conduct (Bangkok, October 1990).

“Clearly, an UNCED declaration or Earth Charter would profit from the widest possible consultation with governments and non-governmental organizations. The Bahá’í International Community is, therefore, pleased to offer the following elements for possible inclusion in such a declaration of principles.

“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.

“The Bahá’í International Community stands ready to contribute to the further elaboration and promotion of an Earth Charter in consultation with other interested bodies.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1992 June 06, Earth Charter

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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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Killing Our Fellow Humans

killing_our_fellow_humans

Three Guys At The Café

G1: “You’re sayin’ it’s America’s fault?”

G2: “Sure. Who uses the most stuff that ends up in the atmosphere?”

G1: “What about China?”

G3: “Yeah, they beat the Americans by a billion miles!”

G2: “But America’s tryin’ to spread its life-style all over the world—tryin’ to make everybody into gross consumers.”

G3: “But China’s makin’ the most babies…”

{A Gal Walks Up… }

Gal: “Whachu guys talkin’ ’bout?”

G1: “Who’s puttin’ the most shit in the atmosphere.”

Gal: “That’s easy, it’s the rich guys in power.”

G2: “But which  rich guys?”

Gal: “Don’t matter what country, if they got the power they’re gonna trash things for the rest of us…”

~~~~~~~~~

That imaginary scene certainly isn’t deep or precise or particularly wise, but one thing’s for sure—those in power aren’t doing anywhere near enough to save our human family from critical disaster.

And, It’s not China or the Americans; it’s the people in power in those countries. The rest of us, all over the world, are reaping the dark fallout from their lack of wisdom.

“So, Alex, you seem to be saying the rich/powerful leaders are killing humanity?”

Pretty much, yes.

A case in point:

From SciDev.Net: Sea level rise ‘will surpass worst-case scenario’ “A sea level rise of one metre or more is predicted to have a devastating effect on major coastal cities, island states and populous delta areas such as those in Bangladesh and Myanmar.

“A panel of experts speaking yesterday (10 March) at the International Scientific Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen, Denmark, warned that without efforts to curb the rise of greenhouse gas emissions, sea level rise would expose most parts of the world to greater storm surges — increases in local sea level caused by the winds of storms — threatening lives and infrastructure.”

I can imagine one of those guys in the café saying: “So a bunch of poor beggars get a little wet, so what?”

Sorry guy, it’s not just a bunch of poor beggars getting a little wet; it’s millions of our fellow humans suffering and dying because a certain class of humans are addicted to a life-style that harms Mother Nature and makes Her lash out in pain and rage.

I may be attacked for saying this, but the attitude that unlimited freedom leads to prosperity has been clearly proven to be false. The affluent bubble has needles of crisis poking it all over…

From the Climate Change Policy Advisor at Oxfam : Sea level rise spells increased likelihood of disaster for the world’s poorest people “These startling new predictions on sea level rise spell disaster for millions of the world’s poorest people. Poor coastal communities in countries such as Bangladesh are already struggling to cope with a changing climate and it can only get worse. This must be a wake-up call for rich countries are not doing anywhere near enough to prevent these cataclysmic predictions becoming a reality. Rich countries, who created the climate crisis, must cut their emissions from 1990 levels by at least 40 percent by 2020 and provide the $50 billion that is the minimum needed each year to help the world’s poorest people adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change.”
famly-roof
Your home may not look like the one in that image but if the kind of home it is makes you not care what’s happening to the people who live there, you need to examine your conscience, make it face reality, and find some form of compassion for the struggling and innocent members of our Human Family…

Spiritual Quote:

“He must not consider divergence of races nor difference of nationalities; he must not view variation in denomination and creed, nor should he take into account the differing degrees of thoughts; nay, rather, he should look upon all as mankind and realize that all must become united and agreed. He must recognize all as one family, one race, one native land; he must see all as the servants of one God, dwelling beneath the shelter of His mercy.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá: The Promulgation of Universal Peace

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Why Can’t The “Experts” Fix The Economy ?

economic_meltdownDid a quick search of Google News for the words “economic meltdown ” and this story jumped out at me:

Women must be included in solving global economic meltdown, UN says
UN News Centre – Feb 6, 2009
“Governments must give women a key role in making decisions aimed at resolving the current global economic crisis…”

A link at the bottom of that article led to:

Women hold key to breaking out of global food crisis “Not only do women suffer the most from global problems, such as the current crisis arising from the surge in food prices, but they can also contribute the most to its solutions, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro said…”

Together, these articles seem to point toward a solution to multiple global crises  that’s being avoided: Bottom-up and woman-centric

I did a search on the word “Davos “, where a privileged group of mostly males recently admitted their inability to see a solution for the global crisis, and I found an op-ed that also pointed toward women:
From the New York Times: Mistresses of the Universe “Banks around the world desperately want bailouts of billions of dollars, but they also have another need they’re unaware of: women, women and women.”

I’ll leave it to the people with more stamina than I have to work out the details necessary to achieve gender equality in the arena of dealing with global crises…

What I can and will do is to consider women, consult with women, and work with women; and, while doing that, stay as open as possible to learning more about sensitivity, intuition, and compassion.

There are Great Problems that have infected our human family and even with Great Solutions being applied we will still see much more unrest and possibly even Great Revolutions before Peace and Tranquility become the Norm:

Spiritual Quotes:

“Regarding the economic prejudice, it is apparent that whenever the ties between nations become strengthened and the exchange of commodities accelerated, and any economic principle is established in one country, it will ultimately affect the other countries and universal benefits will result. Then why this prejudice?”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 288

“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.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 240

“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.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 132

“Strive, therefore, to create love in the hearts in order that they may become glowing and radiant. When that love is shining, it will permeate other hearts even as this electric light illumines its surroundings. When the love of God is established, everything else will be realized. This is the true foundation of all economics. Reflect upon it. Endeavor to become the cause of the attraction of souls rather than to enforce minds. Manifest true economics to the people. Show what love is, what kindness is, what true severance is and generosity. This is the important thing for you to do. Act in accordance with the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh…. Now is the time for you to live in accordance with His words. Let your deeds be the real translation of their meaning. Economic questions will not attract hearts. The love of God alone will attract them. Economic questions are most interesting; but the power which moves, controls and attracts the hearts of men is the love of God.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 239

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Being Nice To Our Mother…

climate_changeDo you like to breathe? Would you rather not be poisoned by your drinking water? Will your great-grandchildren still be able to see the Sun?

Humans are amazing!  Give them a world to play in and they’ll work as hard as they can to make it unliveable…

Some recent news clips:

From The New York Times:: Amid a Hopeful Mood, U.N. Talks Set Countries on Path Toward a Global Climate Treaty

From The Daily Telegraph, UK: Climate summit ends in acrimony

From OneWorld.Net: Activists Demand ‘Change’ at Climate Conference

From BBC News: Australians condemn climate plan

O.K., so the Big-Rollers are worried because they’re having problems continuing to milk the moderately-affluent. The poor are getting poorer. Human slaughter is rampant. Corruption is eating us alive…

So, imagine all those problems are resolved to everybody’s satisfaction—I know, it would take a huge change of a massive number of hearts but just imagine it:

Rich and poor are equalizing their holdings, no one is murdering thousands, and politicians are learning trustworthiness…

And… most of us are dying from the backlash of a ferociously mad Mother Earth…

Here’s some sobering information ( from GreenFacts ):

What are the likely consequences of climate change?

And, some fascinating videos about how bad it really is…

Spiritual Quote :

“A little over a hundred years ago, in a series of letters to the world leaders of the day, Bahá’u’lláh spoke of humankind as entering on a period of history that would entail the radical restructuring of the life of the planet. Challenges never before contemplated would, He said, soon overwhelm the resources of even the most advanced nations. They could be addressed only by a world federal system whose central organ would be a representative world parliament empowered to create a code of universally agreed upon and enforceable international law. ‘The earth is but one country,’ Bahá’u’lláh asserted, ‘and mankind its citizens’.

“As the magnitude, complexity, and urgency of environmental problems have gradually forced themselves on public attention, the logic of this prescription has become daily more apparent. The available international legislative machinery and processes are proving inadequate, primarily because they are based on laws governing nation-states. To the Bahá’í International Community it seems clear that, unless creative new steps in the restructuring of the international order can be taken, environmental degradation alone, and its long-term implications for social and economic development, will lead inexorably to a disaster of appalling dimension.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1991 Aug 13, International Legislation for Environment Development

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