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Encourage Social Action in Your Community!

May 31, 2022

“… social action can range from fairly informal efforts of limited duration undertaken by individuals or small groups of friends to programmes of social and economic development with a high level of complexity and sophistication implemented by Baha’i-inspired organizations.”

Universal House of Justice, Riḍván 2010 message

by Christine Muller

The first step to social action is to think and consult about the reality of our community and assess what its challenges are. How do we as a community live up to our spiritual standards in terms of reducing our impact on the Earth’s natural systems?

Do we use reusable dishes at our meetings? Do we avoid plastic water bottles? Do we consider reducing pollution from transportation to our meetings by including public transportation in our planning, by choosing a central location, by carpooling, by neighborhood meetings accessible by walking, or by having some meetings online? Do we avoid serving beef and lamb which have the greatest impact on global warming, and generally serve more plant-based foods while always maintaining tolerance for individual choices? Have we eliminated/reduced food waste at our gatherings? Does our Bahá’í center run on clean energy? Is the landscaping healthy for humans and wildlife–in other words, does the lawn show a beautiful diversity of plants that also feed pollinators, or is it treated with toxic chemicals?

All of the above issues can be easily addressed and do not require extensive human or financial resources. However, all actions originate in the thoughts of an individual and need to be consulted upon and then implemented. They don’t serve the common good if they just stay in your mind! Therefore, have the courage to initiate consultation about your or your friends’ ideas. Persevere and support your community in its consultations and actions with providing information and constant encouragement!

You may get some inspiration from the upcoming webinar on Empowering Local Sustainable Communities. The panelists will discuss how local sustainable communities can be empowered with a culture of learning, adapting science for everyone, reading the local reality, and consulting to achieve resilience, regeneration, climate mitigation and adaptation. Case studies will be presented from Uganda, Canada, and the Pacific island of Vanuatu. 

This webinar will take place as part of the Annual Conference of the Baha’i-inspired International Environment Forum on Saturday 4 June, 10–11 am PDT / 1- 2pm EDT / 19:00-20:00 CEST in partnership with the Wilmette Institute.

For more information about this panel and to register, visit this IEF Conference page.

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Christine Muller, Piano Teacher

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 served on the board of RI Interfaith Power&Light for nine years and currently serve on the board of the Bahá’í-inspired International Environment Forum (iefworld.org). My academic background is in music and I enjoy part-time piano teaching and playing music. I would have done more in the area of music were it not for the urgency of climate action, but my musical training has helped me to better understand the complexity of the climate crisis. Christine’s articles on BahaiTeachings.orgSee Faculty Bio

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