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Abandon Unnecessary Travel

Jun 1, 2020
Girl riding bicycle, with ducks

June 2020, Christine Muller

Lessons from the pandemic

During this pandemic, we all have had to adjust our activities in many ways. Tourism virtually came to a halt, and people who are able to work from home communicate via the internet. While there are some downsides to that, there are also benefits, including fewer car accidents and cleaner air, which is very beneficial for people’s health. Air pollution has been linked to heart disease, asthma, and other chronic diseases.

According to the State of Global Air 2019 Report, ”more than 90% of people worldwide live in areas exceeding the WHO Guideline for healthy air. Air pollution is among the highest 5 risk factors for population health globally, shortening life on average by 20 months around the globe.” Worldwide, about 3 million people are dying because of air pollution each year. The reduced traffic has improved many people’s health and well-being.

But today, people are walking more outdoors, which can improve both physical and mental health. In addition, carbon emissions, which drive global warming, are quite a bit lower. Let’s consider also abandoning unnecessary travel in the future for the health of people and planet.


Christine Muller, Teacher of Music and the Environment

Board Secretary, International Environment Forum

I was interested in environmental issues already at a young age and became a Bahá’í when I was 17, which was the beginning of a life-long study of the Bahá’í Faith. As the environmental crisis was worsening, I began to systematically study climate change at a time when not much information was easily available. I also searched the Bahá’í teachings for a spiritual solution to the climate crisis. At that time, climate change was not known to most people and there were no educational materials available. That’s why I wrote Scientific and Spiritual Dimensions of Climate Change – an Interfaith Study Course, which the International Environment Forum posted in 2009. I joined the Wilmette Institute as support faculty for its Sustainable Development course in 2011 and created its Climate Change course the following year. I also teach a course on climate change for the Environmental Sciences Department of the Baha’i Institute of Higher Education (BIHE) in Iran. I have served on the board of RI Interfaith Power&Light for more than a decade. In recent years, much of my time is spent serving the Bahá’í-inspired International Environment Forum ( as its secretary.  My formal academic background is in music, and I enjoy part-time piano teaching, playing and - when there is time - composing music. A recent composition is Humans on Earth – a Ballad of Our Time for two singers, string orchestra, piano, and percussion. Its lyrics include quotations from scientific sources and the Bahá’í Writings. Christine’s articles on BahaiTeachings.orgSee Faculty Bio


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