Tag Archives climate change

In Pursuit of Hope: A Book by Arthur Lyon Dahl

Arthur Dahl is an ecologist whose latest book offers a powerful message: you can make a difference, contributing to change within your own life, the lives of those around you, and the planet as a whole. In Pursuit of Hope: A Guide for the Seeker shares a metaphorical journey to find a more purposeful life amidst the environmental, social, economic and spiritual challenges of the 21st century.

I reached out to Arthur and was delighted when he agreed to tell us about his new book, what motivated him to write it, and what you’ll find between its pages. Here’s our conversation:

Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

As a Baha’i, I chose to study science because of the harmony of science and religion, and picked ecology as my specialty to understand how unity in diversity worked in nature, with coral reef ecosystems as my major focus. Originally from California, I always wanted to be a Baha’i pioneer, and have now lived and worked in the Pacific Islands (New Caledonia), Africa (Kenya) and Europe (France and Switzerland) while travelling and teaching in many other countries. Professionally, I have been a research scientist and an environmental advisor to governments and international organizations, including as a senior official of the United Nations Environment Programme. I founded the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, helped to write Agenda 21, the action plan from the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, and coordinated the UN System-wide Earthwatch. I have collaborated closely with the Baha’i International Community, and helped to found a Baha’i-inspired organization for environment and sustainability, the International Environment Forum (iefworld.org), now with over 400 members in 76 countries. Other books I have written include Unless and Until: A Baha’i Focus on the Environment, and The Eco Principle: Ecology and Economics in Symbiosis. My most recent project is working with other Baha’is on proposals to reform global governance, with another book in press: Global Governance and the Emergence of Global Institutions for the 21st Century.

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Going Green and Going to War

I am a peaceful man, but I have always wanted to be on the “front lines” of life. I liked when the choir sang “Onward Christian Soldiers” when I was a kid, and as a young man I began learning to take my marching orders from Abdu’l-Baha, trying to be one of the “souls” in a “heavenly army” whose mission was to bring light and justice to a darkening world.

I love this part of an address by the American President, Theodore Roosevelt:

It is not the critic who counts…The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause… (From a speech titled “Citizenship in a Republic”, given at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910)

My wife, the warrior woman that I am trying to keep up with, has taught me much about another battle that Baha’is are learning how to engage in: the crisis we’ve created for the world’s ecology, and the search for sustainable ways to live with and within it.  Continue reading