Tag Archives environment

The Newkind Festival: An Immersive Conference About Social Action

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Erfan Daliri, a Baha’i living in Australia who’s an educator, author, event director and an internationally toured spoken word artist. I had heard Erfan’s ‘Unfazed‘ performance at the Sydney Theatre Company, and when I got to meet him, he told me all about an awesome new initiative he had started called the Newkind Festival, an immersive six day conference in Tasmania, Australia, that brings together thought leaders, innovators, pioneers and inspirational speakers from around the world to build capacity, and inspire participants to make a positive impact on society.

I decided to catch up with Erfan to hear some more about the festival and here’s what he had to say: Continue reading

A Reflection on Our Eating Habits and the Environment

Since the Fast is an ocean of opportunities to raise our awareness and develop our capacities, what about thinking of our eating habits and choices?

I was shocked when I read that Cuba, back in 1990 when the Soviet Union collapsed, experienced a massive food shortage and surprisingly the health of Cubans drastically got better. This was basically because they were eating just enough and there were barely any processed foods. Additionally, I stumbled upon research that shows how since Chinese people started consuming processed foods, roughly 92 million Chinese today suffer from Type II diabetes, which was a disease that was not known to their country until recently.

In 2005, worldwide processed food sales were $3.2 trillion, accounting for 75 percent of total food sales. In comparison, $400 billion was spent on fresh fruits and vegetables.

When I read this, I started thinking… Is it possible that a big part of human health issues is related to a misconception of the amount and kind of food we eat? Have we maybe taken for granted the huge role food plays on our health?

John Esslemont said:  Continue reading

For Our Earth’s Sake, for Our Own Sake

For our Earth’s sake, for our future’s sake, for our own sake…I will be talking trash!

Trash is something we consider unwanted, no longer needed or useful, therefore: it should be thrown out! But thrown out where? While we clean our homes and our streets (depending on where we live), we somehow consider some parts of this planet, our own loving, giving “mother” Earth – landfill. Landfill is where we dump all our trash. Sadly, what’s put in landfill accumulates over time and some things turn into something else. For example as organic waste decomposes in landfill, it produces the greenhouse gasses such as methane (54%) and carbon dioxide (40%). Did you know that methane is 24 times more damaging as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide? Continue reading

Why is Earth Day Important?

On April 22nd, the world celebrated “Earth Day”, so HAPPY EARTH DAY EVERYONE!

But wait, shouldn’t “Earth Day” be every day?

Well, let’s briefly review how Earth Day actually came to be 46 years ago. It was 7 years in the making until it became official in 1970. Many say that it was the result of 20 million people who participated at the grassroots level to achieve the declaration of Earth Day. Indeed, it’s all in the grassroots, and now it’s being celebrated around the world as a way to demonstrate support for environmental protection.

I think days like Earth Day are wonderful. They create opportunities to raise more awareness of the environmental issues that are affecting our beautiful planet and to remember with more tenacity why we need to have such a day in the first place.

The reality is that the lack of connection that many of us have with the earth is blinding some of us from seeing the interconnectedness of our planet. We are forgetting that what we give is what we get. As much as society presently likes to believe the saying “out of sight, out of mind”, our treatment of the planet has caught up with us, and now it requires more attention and action than ever before. Continue reading

Eleven – A New Book by Paul Hanley

A friend of mine in Australia told me how he had read a book which had such a profound impact on him, and in fact he felt was so important for everyone to read, that he bought dozens of copies of it to give to all of his staff. That book was Eleven, by Paul Hanley.

Critically acclaimed as “the read of our times”, the author of Life of Pi Yann Martel said “Every concerned citizen of this planet needs to read this book.”.

Paul Hanley’s Eleven “…is an inspired map of the road ahead, drawn in lines of truth we turn our gaze away from every day. More than that, though, this sweeping book makes an audacious but coherent and thoroughly-researched case for the possibility that, by awakening to the reality of what we are doing to the earth and our own souls, we may already be getting ready to walk the road with our ‘better angels of our nature’ fully in charge.

I had the fortune of meeting Paul Hanley at the recent 2015 Association for Baha’i Studies Conference in Orange County, California, where he was the recipient of the 2015 Award for Distinguished Scholarship in the Book Category.

Paul Hanley agreed to do an interview with Baha’i Blog: Continue reading

The Power of a Community Garden

In a town called Ranson in West Virginia of the United States, the Baha’i community has teamed up with Jefferson County Community Ministries and the City to create a community garden in order to make healthy food affordable for those on limited budgets, and to also strengthen the social fabric of the community.

The short video above explains this wonderful grassroots initiative, and I recently had the pleasure of meeting Bill Gregg while I was visiting the United States. Bill is one of the main participants in this initiative and he’s featured in the video – so I asked Bill a few questions about the community garden and the effects it’s been having: Continue reading

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