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Sustainable Development course intensifies learner's "transformative trajectory"

Nov 24, 2021
Google map image of Sherman Heights, Birmingham, AL

Course: Sustainable Development and Human Prosperity (2021)
Faculty Mentor: Arthur Lyon Dahl

Prior to this course, I did not think sustainable development was possible and had no idea how deeply Bahá’ís were involved in generating global sustainable goals and processes, so this course was transformative for me. I have become a sustaining member of the International Tree Foundation and a member of the International Environmental Forum. I organize and personally lead dawn prayers every day for Bahá’ís from Southern New Hampshire and l initiated a study circle on the Prosperity of Humankind for Bahá’ís and friends of the Faith from Virginia to New England to Minnesota to Seattle.

I traveled to Birmingham, Alabama, to join the Sherman Heights community building project and partnered with a fellow course participant to promote sustainable Bahá’í businesses that use French intensive gardening and permaculture techniques to grow and sell ornamental trees, shrubs, and plants. I also volunteered to join my neighbors in our community road building efforts as a way to support my own very local community [Editor’s Note: Weare, NH].

As a result of this course and two others, I have actively pursued projects on a personal level, the community level, the regional and national levels, as well as international levels simultaneously. I am simply not the same person who joined this course although my transformative trajectory was already in place when I arrived. This course, in particular, motivated me to view my personal resources, including time and funds, as things I need to share with those engaged in transforming the world, on any level, under the guidance of Bahá’í principles. 



Douglas Gilbert

Mr. Gilbert is a Bahá’í and an award-winning author, an inventor with four patents, a professor, and a speaker who has lectured across Europe and the United States. He recently taught mathematics at York Technical College (SC) and studied at Winthrop University (SC) and Williams College (MA). He holds a BS in Mathematics from the US Naval Academy and a Masters of Philosophy from Yale University. He is the author of “The Last Saturday of October,” and recently published an article in the US Naval Institute Journal of Naval History.

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