Moodle Site is Back Online: Moodle 4.1 Upgrade is complete--you should be able to access your courses as of 1:45 pm EAS, 9/25/23

Sustainable Online Shopping

Nov 28, 2022
Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash

Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash

Sanctify thyself from the grades of this world, … Be thou a mountain of quiescence, a sign of meekness, a sea of patience, a light of love, a standard of utter separation (from all else save God), so that thou mayest become everlasting in the Kingdom of God.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v2, p. 291

by Christine Muller

If you must use a car for shopping, it is generally more environmentally friendly to shop online, but only if you take certain things into account:

Most of the environmental impact of shopping comes from the production of things. So, first, like with all other shopping, stop and think: Do I really need this? Would this item really make a meaningful present? How and where was it manufactured? What might be its true cost to the environment and other people? 

Second, if you decide to go ahead with purchasing the item, do not order it via overnight shipping. Fast delivery options require additional trucks and thus have a much larger environmental footprint. If you choose ground shipping or the slowest option, you allow the company time to consolidate orders and to ship them together. Also, if you need multiple things, it is best to order them at the same time. 

Avoid ordering things online which you may have to return/exchange because this will at least triple the environmental cost of transportation. It’s better to try on new shoes in a shoe store.

For more ideas about sustainable online shopping, see: How to Shop Online More Sustainably (by Tim Heffernan, April 2021, Wirecutter magazine) and/or watch this 5-minute video on “The environmental cost of free two-day shipping” (Vox, 2017).


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


Up Next...