You Never Know What Effects Learnings from a Wilmette Institute Course Will Have

Last month, in the Learners in Action section of the eNewsletter, we shared the story of the seventy-something Peter Haug’s adventures in public discourse after he completed the Wilmette Institute’s course on Climate Change—six ninety-minute classes on climate change, a talk to a Rotary Club, and another talk at the public library. Two short courses in October had to be cancelled for lack of interest. But the story doesn’t end there.

First, Rebecca Gonzalez Gilleran, a Bahá’í in Asheville, North Carolina, USA, read the October story about Mr. Haug, and wrote the Wilmette Institute:

I am a Bahá’í living in Asheville, NC. I have just returned from a month in Ecuador (celebrating my recent retirement and 65th birthday) where I renewed my interest in the ideas of sustainability among other things. I was searching for a way to connect my leisure travel to my Bahá’í ideals and activities and am still working out the details of how I will proceed. However, having read this short article about Peter Haug, I am inspired to continue developing my hopes to create ways to share Bahá’í teachings and stimulate discussion of sustainability among others.

Is it possible that I could join the course, late? I realize that I would have to catch up on 2 weeks of assignments within the next 4 weeks. I am free to work on such at this time. Thank you for your consideration.

“The course” to which Ms. Gilleran refers is Sustainable Development and the Prosperity of Humankind, which began on September 15. She was, of course, allowed to enroll and become a learner in the course. Now she admits that she is “having trouble keeping up with the assignments.” But she persists, and “the course format allows” her “to do the work whenever” she can. She says that the “course and the incredibly erudite faculty have totally renewed” her “enthusiasm to teaching the Faith from a slightly new perspective.”

Second, the Climate Change course keeps on giving to Mr. Haug, this time in the weekend edition of the Moscow-Pullman, Washington, News, which, on October 10–11, ran a Meet the Neighbors piece entitled “Sharing the wealth (of information)” about him, his having taken the Climate Change course, and his sharing what he learned in courses and talks. Click here for a photograph of Mr. Haug (which he claims makes him look younger than he is) and the article.

Mr. Haug tells us that the article has led to inquiries from the University of Idaho Northwest Climate Conference, an individual, and a friend from his graduate school days. He also says that he has found his niche by returning to his roots in environmental systems analysis and is hoping there may be a book on the horizon, something that blends the best science with the best religion—which, of course, is the Bahá’í Faith.

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