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 Numbers Make Me Thankful

numbers 

Numbers make me thankful?

 Yep!

 See, tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the United States and, since I spend almost every waking hour either writing or preparing to write this blog, all aspects of the blogging process are important to me; especially, how many people are reading the posts and  where on the earth they are when they access the blog…

I may have been born and still live in the U.S. but I consider myself a world citizen. I try to write the blog from that perspective and I’m grateful when I see that people in other lands are reading it!

So, I decided to share the numbers I’ll be thankful for tomorrow during the Thanksgiving celebration.

First, the statistics for what countries you readers are in when you visit. There are a total of 53 countries represented and that makes me exceedingly thankful!!  All I’ll show you here are the top ten {The numbers in my stats counter are only the last 500 visitors}:

country_stats

Even though 55.8% of you are from the United States, I’m thankful that 44.2% are not  from here! Also, even though it’s only 2% from Israel, that country is where the spiritual and administrative center of my Faith are located—gives me a warm thankfulness…

Next are the states and regions (again, only the top ten):

region_stats

Sure, most of the top ten are states in the U.S. but number 5 is, thankfully,  Jakarta Raya!

Last are the top ten cities:

city_stats

First thing I noticed is that spot 4 is a city and state in the U.S. that has no name… That may have been where I was back in the late 60s…

Number ten makes me have that warm thankfulness again since it’s the actual city that has the World Center of my Faith!!

According to WikiAnswers, Mexico, Japan, China, Australia, and Canada also celebrate Thanksgiving. And, according to enotes: “Many groups of people around the world give thanks, usually at a celebration following a major crop harvest.”

So, tomorrow, as I celebrate the holiday with friends from my favorite café, I’ll be thankful I live in a country that still has some  of the freedoms it intended to have and I’ll savor, along with the food and friendship, the fact that my efforts in this blog are visited by members of our human family from many diverse countries…

Spiritual Quote :

“Today, humanity is bowed down with trouble, sorrow and grief, no one escapes; the world is wet with tears; but, thank God, the remedy is at our doors. Let us turn our hearts away from the world of matter and live in the spiritual world! It alone can give us freedom!”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 110

Path Toward Peace – Step Nine

Resolving the impediments induced by the multiplicity of languages


Ever been in a foreign country, not knowing their language?

Ever fallen in love with someone and couldn’t use words to express that love in their native tongue?

Ever wondered if translations really get the meaning across?

From MarketWatch: Across Systems to Demonstrate New Language Portal Solution

From the Korea Times: Book Reviews Loss of Native Languages

From the Kansas City Star: Learning a new language: It’s a small world after all

From WikiAnswers: “Scientists have counted approx. 6500 languages, half of which are, however, threatened to die off soon, as they are no longer passed on. Not counted in above figure are pure sign-languages or computer-languages.”

Also not counted are the multitude of business, political, religious, and neighborhood jargons and slangs.

Is a global language necessary?

Would having to learn your native language and a global language be too hard for people?

Again, is translation a guarantee that understanding has occurred?

What are some of the difficulties you’ve  experienced because of different languages?

Have a look at a slide presentation about the difficulties of learning another language.

Bottom line: Understanding each other is a major contributor to being at peace with each other…

Spiritual Quotes:

“The day is approaching when all the peoples of the world will have adopted one universal language and one common script. When this is achieved, to whatsoever city a man may journey, it shall be as if he were entering his own home.”
Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 249

“The races of mankind are not isolated as in former days. Now, in order to be in close relationship with all countries it is necessary to be able to speak their tongues.

“A universal language would make intercourse possible with every nation. Thus it would be needful to know two languages only, the mother tongue and the universal speech. The latter would enable a man to communicate with any and every man in the world!”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 155

“A fundamental lack of communication between peoples seriously undermines efforts towards world peace. Adopting an international auxiliary language would go far to resolving this problem and necessitates the most urgent attention.”
The Universal House of Justice, 1985 Oct, The Promise of World Peace, p. 3

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Values for All of Us

workers

Tomorrow is Labor Day in the United States–a federal holiday that began as an honoring of workers and has become a summer-ending Party . . .

From MarketWatch: Labor Day 2008: Building a New American Dream for America’s Workers

From the SunSentinel: Labor Day in Florida: Working class dreams are dying

From khsltv.com (California): Violent Crime Spikes in Chico Over the Labor Day Weekend

Holidays just aren’t what they used to be. Even if some folks celebrate Labor Day as honoring America’s workers, it’s usually honoring them as the most cherished workers, worthy of regard above any other workers. Some are, I’m sure. Yet, what about the World’s workers–those paid so little they work as slaves, those who work at staying alive–whose work is dodging bombs and guns . . .

Putting Americans, the workers or the massive parties, on a pedestal is counter-productive for America’s future–it’s globally dissonant–causes strife and contention from other nations.

This globe will never solve its problems as long as nations keep playing their trump cards against each other. A favorite American saying is, “United we Stand, Divided we Fall”.

Should a united America stand so tall she encourages a divided world?

Today’s Spiritual Quote:

“We assert that the emerging global order, and the processes of globalization that define it, must be founded on the principle of the oneness of humankind. This principle, accepted and affirmed as a common understanding, provides the practical basis for the organization of relationships between all states and nations. The increasingly apparent interconnectedness of development, security and human rights on a global scale confirms that peace and prosperity are indivisible — that no sustainable benefit can be conferred on a nation or community if the welfare of the nations as a whole is ignored or neglected. The principle of the oneness of humankind does not seek to undermine national autonomy or suppress the cultural and intellectual diversity of the peoples and nations of the world. Rather, it seeks to broaden the basis of the existing foundations of society by calling for a wider loyalty, a greater aspiration than any that has animated the human race. Indeed, it provides the moral impetus needed to remold the institutions of governance in a manner consistent with the needs of an ever-changing world.”
Bahá’í International Community, The Search for Values in an Age of Transition, p.3

Read the complete document:
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“Bring thyself to account ere thou art summoned to a reckoning…”

Time for an accounting. I’ve been writing nearly everyday on this blog since March—since I was nearing the end of eleven months of taking five highly abusive medical drugs to rid my liver of a deadly virus—jury’s still out on whether it worked . . .

From the New York Times: Uncertainties About the Role of Doubt in Religion “Religious faith was once the air everyone, even the doubter, breathed. Today, religious faith, in its many forms, stands as but one possibility alongside a range of nonreligious outlooks that the honest believer cannot simply dismiss as deluded or depraved.
“Religious thinkers, of course, have long argued that uncertainty and faith are not the polar opposites often supposed; that indifference, and not doubt, for example, is the greater adversary of faith; that absolute certitude about God often reflects a dangerous arrogance.”

I’ve been trying to live up to my Faith for almost twenty years now—struggling against my grasping ego—contending with the oh, so easy rationalizations to just be “human”; imperfections flowering into weeds of uncertainty.

This blog is part of my personal covenant with God—hopeful action to stave off the demons of doubt.

I value the feedback I receive from my visitors, especially the indicators of which posts are the most viewed (see the far right sidebar). I struggle to interpret what’s going on in the world in terms of my Faith and post my thoughts and feelings here. What people choose to read is a “message” to me—a wake-up call—about how my private efforts are connected to other members of our human family . . .

So…

Thought I’d take the current most-viewed-posts and put them together (for my meditation and, hopefully, your edification) in these files:

Word File ——— PDF File
For an undetermined reason the Word file didn’t hold the images.
If you’re able, download the PDF…

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“Examine the wondrous behaviour of the Prophets, and recall the defamations and denials uttered by the children of negation and falsehood, perchance you may cause the bird of the human heart to wing its flight away from the abodes of heedlessness and doubt unto the nest of faith and certainty, and drink deep from the pure waters of ancient wisdom, and partake of the fruit of the tree of divine knowledge. Such is the share of the pure in heart of the bread that hath descended from the realms of eternity and holiness.”
Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 5

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How Do You Feed A Whole World ?


Quite often, the global drama strikes me as a group of children fighting over who gets to go first. Actually, I’ve been feeling a bit adolescent lately so it’s not much of a stretch to see the world’s leaders as misbehaving children.

From the International Herald Tribune: Negotiators acknowledge World Trade Organization process needs to change

From the New York Times: After 7 Years, Talks Collapse on World Trade

From the New York Times/World Business: China’s Shift on Food Was Key to Trade Impasse

From Reuters: EU points at U.S. for WTO collapse

From The WIP: How to Solve the Food Crisis: Cut trade barriers and start a Green Revolution in Africa, says Jeffrey Sachs
“The only silver lining in this (crisis) is – I even hate the idea of using that – is that it has made more people aware of the things that can be done, like the green revolution. I am not a believer in waiting for crises to get things done. I think it’s an absolutely ridiculous part of our character, but when we do have the crisis, at least it’s true that there is more discussion about agriculture the last months than there was in eight years!”

Hundreds of people, seemingly knowledgable in their field, sit down over a seven-year period and can’t come to an agreement; even though people are starving, and banks are tottering, and simple, sincere people (the world over) are losing hope . . .

What’s missing?

One thing that needs to be adjusted in the equation is to strike out the terms referring to Third World. Far as I can figure out, we have one world.

Next, terms need to be incorporated so the job of production becomes integrated globally—not the “us”/”them” situation we have. This will free enormous creative resources for solving our other crises.

“Economic development strategies employed by the United Nations, the World Bank and a number of governments during the last fifty years, however sincerely conceived and executed, have fallen far short of aspirations. In much of the world, the gap between the “haves” and “have-nots” has widened and is accelerating with the persistent disparity in income levels. Social problems have not subsided. In fact, crime and disease are not just on the rise; they are also becoming endemic and more difficult to combat.

“These failures can be traced to a number of factors. They include a misplaced focus on large-scale projects and bureaucratic over-centralization, unjust terms of international trade, a pervasive corruption that has been allowed to flourish throughout the system, the exclusion of women from the decision-making processes at all levels, a general inability to ensure that resources reach the poor, and the diversion of development resources into military hardware.

“A dispassionate examination of these factors betrays a common systematic and fundamental flaw in the current paradigm for economic development: material needs are often addressed without taking into account the spiritual factors and their motivating power….

“Because of the spiritually damaging nature of dependency, schemes which focus solely on redistributing material wealth are doomed to failure in the long run. Distribution of wealth must be approached in an efficient and equitable manner. In fact, it must be intimately integrated with the process of wealth creation.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1995 Oct, Turning Point For All Nations

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Women Are Our Hope

From OneWorld.Net: Focus U.S. Aid Efforts on Women, Say Experts
“Yolanda Richardson, president of the Center for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA), told Hill staffers and others that implementing policies that recognize the vital role women play in poor communities is the best way to ‘improve the quality and effectiveness of our global development assistance.’ ”
“CEDPA’s Richardson agrees with those calling for a new approach to foreign aid, but is convinced that unless new policies and strategies place a special focus on women, they will fail to address the very basic issue of poverty reduction in developing countries.”

In a previous post I highlighted a wonderful project, The Girl Effect.

Check out the links above but, in brief, the post and the project have one central premise: if we want to aid the future of our global civilization, the most effective way is to aid young women.

There’s really no way around that clear truth. Women are the first educators, possibly beginning in the womb. What can a woman teach her child about how to get along in the world if the woman has multiple barriers to her own way in the world?

Barriers like:

» not enough to eat
» no personal security
» lack of money
» no opportunity to earn money
» no input to local decisions

I understand that many men suffer the same oppressive circumstances, yet the toll on our human family and its civilization is much greater when women are held back.

Imagine: a man suffers oppression and can’t contribute to society.
Imagine: a woman suffers oppression, has babies, and has no chance to help them learn the rudiments of more than a squalid existence.

Which scenario hurts all of us more?

Here are three pertinent documents you can download:
Women and Development
The Girl Child
Women and The Peace Process

“Women have equal rights with men upon earth; in religion and society they are a very important element. As long as women are prevented from attaining their highest possibilities, so long will men be unable to achieve the greatness which might be theirs.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 133

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