A Bahá’í Perspective Flora Teckie —
Climate change is a change directly or indirectly related to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere – has become a serious matter of concern. It is important to remember that the future prosperity and the peaceful co-existence of peopleswill greatly depend on conservation and responsible use of our natural resources.
We are custodians of the environment and have the obligation to ensure that nature is protected as part of a divine trust for which humanity is ultimately answerable. More than 100 years ago Bahá’u’lláh wrote: “Nature in its essence is the embodiment of (God’s) Name, the Maker, the Creator … Nature is God’s Will and is its expression in and through the contingent world.”
The search for solutions to climate change has revealed the limits of traditional technological and policy approaches and has raised questions about justice, equity, responsibility and obligation. It is crucial that such search for solutions to the world’s serious environmental problems go beyond technical proposals and address the underlying causes of the crisis.
A global action for environmental conservation, in the Bahá’í view, must be rooted in spiritual values and principles in addition to technical and economic considerations. There is need for justice in utilising the earth’s resources. Observing justice implies moving from self-interest that dominates our world today to a mode of sharing and caring for our natural resources.
According to a statement of the Bahá’í International Community: “A fundamental component of resolving the climate change challenge will be the cultivation of values, attitudes and skills that give rise to just and sustainable patterns of human interaction with the environment.
The engagement of children and youth will be particularly important as this population will be called upon to exercise leadership and address the dramatic and complex challenges of climate change in the decades to come. It is at a young age that new mindsets and habits can be most effectively cultivated.”
Genuine solutions require a globally accepted vision for the future, based on unity and willing cooperation among the nations, races, creeds, and classes of the human family. Wise care of environment will depend on our unity as humanity. Besides, commitment to a higher moral standard and the development of consultative skills for the effective functioning of society at all levels will be essential.
In one of its statements, the Bahá’í International Community makes the following observation: “The rapid progress in science and technology that has united the world physically has also greatly accelerated destruction of the biological diversity and rich natural heritage with which the planet has been endowed.
“Material civilisation, driven by the dogmas of consumerism and aggressive individualism and disoriented by the weakening of moral standards and spiritual values, has been carried to excess. Only a comprehensive vision of a global society, supported by universal values and principles, can inspire individuals to take responsibility for the long-term care and protection of the natural environment”.
In addition, resources must be directed away from those activities and programs that are damaging to both the social and natural environment and efforts bent towards the creation of systems that foster cooperation. There will also be need for a principle-based approach to collective decision-making and addressing both extremes of poverty and wealth.
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