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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Some Things Bear Repeating . . .

 unity

Spiritual Quote:

“O thou revered maidservant of God! Thy letter from Los Angeles was received. Thank divine Providence that thou hast been assisted in service and hast been the cause of the promulgation of the oneness of the world of humanity, so that the darkness of differences among men may be dissipated, and the pavilion of the unity of nations may cast its shadow over all regions. Without such unity, rest and comfort, peace and universal reconciliation are unachievable. This illumined century needeth and calleth for its fulfilment. In every century a particular and central theme is, in accordance with the requirements of that century, confirmed by God. In this illumined age that which is confirmed is the oneness of the world of humanity. Every soul who serveth this oneness will undoubtedly be assisted and confirmed.

“I hope that in the assemblies thou mayest sing praises with a sweet melody and thus become the cause of joy and gladness to all.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 113

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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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Our Human Family ~ Unity In Diversity

human_family1
First, a few news items about our Human Family:

From the Washington Times: Film casts a chill on family’s future “Already, 90 countries or localities have subpar fertility rates (i.e., below the 2.1 children per woman replacement level), according to the CIA’s World Factbook. Thirty-six have rates less than 1.5.”

From Business World: The free market and morality “…the economic inequality between the north and the south had become more and more an inner threat to the cohesion of the human family, ‘a danger that was no less real than that proceeding from the weapons arsenals with which the East and the West oppose one another’.”

From the Guardsman: Inauguration 2009: ‘Remaking America’ “We need to recognize that the human family isn’t about differences or trying to make everyone be the same, but about just trying again to be more positive. ”

From the Mindanao Examiner: Inter-generational by Fr Roy Cimagala “We cannot help but deepen our respective generational specializations of interest, in all their social and cultural varieties. I suppose this is how things go. We even have to foster the legitimate differences. But we need to learn how to form one organic whole, since in the end we all are one human family.”

If the photo that leads this post “offended” you or made you “uncomfortable” you have a long road to travel toward the realization that our Human Family truly is  an organic whole.

This single realization—the Oneness of Humanity—is the golden key to the resolution of all our global ills. Trace the causes of any of the increasingly menacing crises in our world and you will find one or another form of prejudice by one part of the human family against another part of that same family.

Who would willingly sit down at their family meal and forcibly restrain their children from eating the food, over time watching them starve to death?

This is happening in our global family…

Who would go out and earn a lucrative livelihood then come home and refuse to spend any of that money on certain members of their family?

This is happening in our global family…

Who would bring a dangerous means of producing energy into their home, placing it in an area where they never go but other members of the family must go?

This is happening in our global family…

Who would have children then make sure they receive no education?

This is happening in our global family…

I could go on with examples that seem horrific when considering a single family yet are not being sufficiently protested against or dealt with (even being hidden) by the most affluent members of our Human Family; but, I won’t go on to construct a laundry list of ills—I’ll instead utter a cry for a thorough washing of the Laundry…

Spiritual Quote:

“…when this human body-politic reaches a state of absolute unity, the effulgence of the eternal Sun will make its fullest light and heat manifest. Therefore we must not make distinctions between individual members of the human family. We must not consider any soul as barren or deprived. Our duty lies in educating souls so that the Sun of the bestowals of God shall become resplendent in them, and this is possible through the power of the oneness of humanity. The more love is expressed among mankind and the stronger the power of unity, the greater will be this reflection and revelation, for the greatest bestowal of God is love. Love is the source of all the bestowals of God. Until love takes possession of the heart no other divine bounty can be revealed in it.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 218

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We All Have Rights, unless . . .

rightsPeople just love to shout about their personal “rights”. Groups love to petition about “our  rights”. Organizations love to write official papers about “human rights”.

So, why do so many people not have their rights respected?

And, which rights are Right ?

Not to mention, who decides what rights belong to which people?

Take a moment to consider these recent news clips:

From OneWorld.Net: Anger in Kosovo as UN ‘Muzzles’ Democracy Leader

From Times Online, UK: Call for access to education for all members of the Iranian Baha’i community

From GlobalVoices: “08 Charter” (blueprint for the democracy prospect in China) Signers Arrested and Questioned by Police

From Bahá’í World News Service: Faith groups sign human rights statement

Some people effectively have no  rights…

Some people spend almost all their time screaming about having their rights trampled on…

Some folks stay calm, put up with those who trample on their rights, and continue to work, quietly but effectively, to ensure the rights of all the members of our human family…

I have no “point” to make in this post; just want to stir things up.

So, I’ll urge you to let yourself be stirred up by 12-year-old Severn Suzuki speaking at the UN Earth Summit in 1992:

Spiritual Quote :

“Ultimately…the emergence of a peaceful and just social order animated by moral principle is contingent upon a fundamental redefinition of all human relationships—among individuals themselves, between human society and the natural world, between the individual and the community, and between individual citizens and their governing institutions. In particular, outmoded notions of power and authority need to be recast. A basic reconceptualization of social reality is thus envisioned, a reality that in spirit and practice reflects the principle of the oneness of humankind. To accept that ‘the body of humankind is one and indivisible’ is to recognize that every human being is ‘born into the world as a trust of the whole’.”
Bahá’í International Community, 2001 May 28-31, Overcoming Corruption in Public Institutions

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Who Is Writing The Future ? – Part Six

writing_the_future-who_is_writing_the_future
This is the final post in this series, inspired by the document, Who Is Writing the Future? Reflections on the Twentieth Century. In the final section of that document, these words appear:

“Viewed through Bahá’u’lláh’s eyes, the history of tribes, peoples, and nations has effectively reached its conclusion. What we are witnessing is the beginning of the history of humankind, the history of a human race conscious of its own oneness. To this turning point in the course of civilization, his writings bring a redefinition of the nature and processes of civilization and a reordering of its priorities.”

If you’ve been following along in this series, you’ve probably realized that the answer to Who is writing the future?  is Bahá’u’lláh—with the strong hint that we can participate in the effort.

It may be hard to imagine that Bahá’u’lláh could, well over 100 years ago, speak to our times—provide sure counsel about how to reorder our priorities—give us a “map” of the road our human family needs to follow as it strides into its long awaited maturity.

The road we’ve traveled has been full of crises, danger, wonder, enlightenment, and spiritual growth. Still, it’s time we leave behind the adolescent greediness of jealously independent peoples and nations and embrace the Oneness that is obvious to not only truly religious people but also reasonable scientists.

Fine… Pretty words… Wonderfully exalted ideas, but…

How?

Certainly, the education of people (especially children) so they can see that it’s not totally impossible. And, certain globally enforced laws that curb insane imbalances in wealth and poverty. There are so many initiatives that are already underway and critically necessary to prepare the ground. Still… There appear to be solid chunks of impacted soil, dark with materialism, and even rock-solid layers of corporate and governmental agendas that need breaking up before the ground can be properly plowed so the seeds of twentieth century humanitarian action can take root; not to mention the liberal application of the fertilizer of Love…

In the words of the document:

“There is nothing in Bahá’u’lláh’s writings to encourage the illusion that the changes envisioned will come about easily. Far otherwise. As the events of the twentieth century have already demonstrated, patterns of habit and attitude which have taken root over thousands of years are not abandoned either spontaneously or in response simply to education or legislative action. Whether in the life of the individual or that of society, profound change occurs more often than not in response to intense suffering and to unendurable difficulties that can be overcome in no other way. Just so great a testing experience, Bahá’u’lláh warned, is needed to weld the earth’s diverse peoples into a single people.”

Can you remember a time in your life when you were overcome with intense suffering—suffering so strong you felt you might cave in and give up the game? That  is right where humanity is. Let’s hope and pray that We don’t give up the game…

Remember when the suffering was over and you found you had a new sense of internal strength? You may have also experienced the flow of renewed initiative leading to solid improvements in your life-situation. That  is where humanity is headed—the Light at the end of the tunnel of humbling suffering…

Hope hides in the clouds of suffering—illumination spawning the silver lining of the future.

I’ll close this series of posts with these words from Who Is Writing The Future?:

“However great the turmoil, the period into which humanity is moving will open to every individual, every institution, and every community on earth unprecedented opportunities to participate in the writing of the planet’s future. ‘Soon’, is Bahá’u’lláh’s confident promise, ‘will the present-day order be rolled up, and a new one spread out in its stead.'”

If you’d like a copy of the original document, you can download a Word .doc or Adobe .pdf file.

Spiritual Quote :

“Strive then, O My brother, to apprehend this matter, that the veils may be lifted from the face of thy heart and that thou mayest be reckoned among them whom God hath graced with such penetrating vision as to behold the most subtle realities of His dominion, to fathom the mysteries of His kingdom, to perceive the signs of His transcendent Essence in this mortal world, and to attain a station wherein one seeth no distinction amongst His creatures and findeth no flaw in the creation of the heavens and the earth.”
Bahá’u’lláh, Gems of Divine Mysteries, p. 5

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Who Is Writing The Future ? – Part Four

writing_the_future-who_is_writing
Parts One through Three of this series have introduced Bahá’u’lláh, sketched out His major conceptions of human nature and the development of humanity, then presented collective endeavors, all from the twentieth century, that have set our human family on a course toward global maturity and peace.

I said “on a course toward” because we’re at the beginning of Eons of Light after Millennial Darkness…

Certainly, humanity has produced an abundance of light-giving conditions; it’s just that the darkness of the animal side of our nature has held us back from the full splendor we’re capable of reflecting.

The document that inspired this series of posts, Who Is Writing the Future? Reflections on the Twentieth Century,  is a landmark of rational spirituality, a call to awareness of the full potential of our human family when we live and act within a unity of consciousness.

The section of Who Is Writing The Future?  that this post is focusing on is short but the actual words are very high-minded, while displaying a practicality that’s sorely needed by our global community. I can’t match the document for its poetic yet reasonable presentation, so, here is the original:

“To appreciate the transformations brought about by the period of history now ending [the twentieth century] is not to deny the accompanying darkness that throws the achievements into sharp relief: the deliberate extermination of millions of helpless human beings, the invention and use of new weapons of destruction capable of annihilating whole populations, the rise of ideologies that suffocated the spiritual and intellectual life of entire nations, damage to the physical environment of the planet on a scale so massive that it may take centuries to heal, and the incalculably greater damage done to generations of children taught to believe that violence, indecency, and selfishness are triumphs of personal liberty. Such are only the more obvious of a catalogue of evils, unmatched in history, whose lessons our era will leave for the education of the chastened generations who will follow us.

“Darkness, however, is not a phenomenon endowed with some form of existence, much less autonomy. It does not extinguish light nor diminish it, but marks out those areas that light has not reached or adequately illumined. So will twentieth century civilization no doubt be assessed by the historians of a more mature and dispassionate age. The ferocities of animal nature, which raged out of control through these critical years and seemed at times to threaten society’s very survival, did not in fact prevent the steady unfoldment of the creative potentialities which human consciousness possesses. On the contrary. As the century advanced, growing numbers of people awakened to how empty were the allegiances and how insubstantial the fears that had held them captive only short years before.

“‘Peerless is this Day’, Bahá’u’lláh insists, ‘for it is as the eye to past ages and centuries, and as a light unto the darkness of the times.’ In this perspective, the issue is not the darkness that slowed and obscured the progress achieved in the extraordinary hundred years now ending. It is, rather, how much more suffering and ruin must be experienced by our race before we wholeheartedly accept the spiritual nature that makes us a single people, and gather the courage to plan our future in the light of what has been so painfully learned.”

If you’d like a copy of the full document as a download, here are a Word .doc and an Adobe .pdf file.

Spiritual Quote :

“Man is like unto this lamp, … but spiritual splendors are like unto the light within the glass. No matter how translucent the glass may be, as long as there is no light within, it remains dark. Likewise, man, no matter how much he advances in material accomplishments, will remain like the glass without light if he is deprived of the spiritual virtues. Material virtues are like unto a perfect body, but this body is in need of the spirit. No matter how handsome and perfect the body may be, if it is deprived of the spirit and its animus, it is dead. But when that same body is affiliated with the spirit and expressing life, perfection and virtue become realized in it.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 303

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