The Roots of the Problem of Climate Change

Dec 30, 2020

Course:  Sustainable Development and Human Prosperity (2020)
Faculty Mentor: Christine Muller
Lead Faculty: Arthur Dahl

Editor’s Note:  What follows is Elsa Deshmukh’s Learning Self Assessment. This was her first Wilmette Institute course.

I took this course to understand more about how to promote environmental sustainability as a Bahá’í, and how the Bahá’í teachings and approach can help resolve some of the challenges that are faced in promoting this topic and taking action. I have learned so much more than I anticipated, and I feel confirmed in my interest for this topic. Unfortunately I was not able to look through as much of the material as I wanted to, but I still am very happy and satisfied with what I have learned so far.

I have learned so many important perspectives and ideas from this course. In the past, I thought that the most effective way to change things is through policies and protests. I learned  that policies and protests are part of the Old World Order and are inefficient for effective change. The Bahá’í approach makes  a lot of sense for the current state of humanity, because it is based on Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings and principles. The understanding that the issue of climate change is only a symptom of humanity’s illness has been so insightful for me. I realize that only through recognizing the oneness of humanity, living in unity, and respecting God’s creatures, can we solve this issue. This was a breakthrough for me. It makes the goal of sustainable development a noble goal, something worth working for, and something very possible.

In addition, I learned about many new approaches and solutions, such as biochar, and I have been able to apply this and share it with my classmates at school and the people in our sustainability club. This course has helped me to better identify signs and components of the dying world order. I realize the broad range in which sustainable development can be applied and discussed. It has helped me to increase the importance of, as well as my focus on, sustainable development in my life.

Through this course, I understand the root of the problem of climate change, and this has made me realize the true importance of Bahá’u’lláh’s message for us. I plan to continue reading the course materials, studying more about this subject, and promoting it. I want to make an  effort to decrease my family’s environmental impact, and also to help my community to do so. 

I feel more confident about teaching about the Bahá’í faith and spreading the message of world unity, because I understand more about its importance and its universality. I had a devotional program over Zoom in my Book 1 study circle; our topic was sustainable development using this source for quotations:

Baha’i Quotations on Environment and Sustainable Development (International Environment Forum [IEF] website)

The program went very well and I hope to do more with them and other people. I have shared these insights with my family and it has been amazing.

I am very grateful to have participated in this course.



Elsa Deshmukh

Elsa Deshmuk is a high school student in Puerto Rico, having moved there in 2017 a few days before Hurricane Maria hit. She has experienced first-hand the resilience of the people and the spirit of community that arose from the challenges related to the storm. Prior to that she lived in China, which helped her to expand her perspective and be less influenced by nationalistic prejudices. As a result of these experiences, she sees the beauty in all cultures.

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