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Food Insecurity and the Principle of Contentment

Feb 28, 2021
Food insecurity - portion of graphic from UN website

Image source: UN website, Goal #2 Zero Hunger

All praise be unto God, Who hath… enjoined on them the fast that those possessed of means may become apprised of the woes and sufferings of the destitute.

Bahá’u’lláh, in The Importance of Obligatory Prayer and Fasting (A Compilation Prepared by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice, May 2000)

March 2021, Christine Muller

While the experience of the fast does not compare with the acute hunger millions of people all over the world are experiencing, it does help us to become more aware of the suffering of others. According to the United Nations, food insecurity was already on the rise before the pandemic, and Covid-19 has been exacerbating the food crises caused by climate change, conflict, and locust infestations. 21.3% of children—144 million—are stunted because they don’t get enough food! (Source: UN Goal#2 – End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture)

The month of ‘Ala is a good time to reflect about the connections between the unjust and unsustainable systems we are all involuntarily caught up in and the poverty and hunger in the world. How can we raise awareness about how the current agricultural, energy, and transportation systems contribute to hunger and human suffering? How can we help change the systems? How can we transform our own town to become more sustainable, just, as well as more resilient in the face of future food insecurity? How can we apply the spiritual principle of contentment to our personal lifestyle to minimize our contribution to the destruction of nature and to human suffering?


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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