What is the Baha’i perspective on the environment?

The Founder of the Baha’i Faith loved the countryside. He wrote, “The country is the world of the soul, the city is the world of the bodies.” (Baha’u’llah, BSN). Baha’is believe that God created everything in heaven and on earth for our education and development. Therefore, nature is a gift to humanity that should be cherished and appreciated. The protection of humanity from environmental degradation is a critical goal of the Baha’i Faith. The fostering of respect and appreciation for God’s Creation, and the showing of reverence for the natural world are all inherent parts of Baha’i life.

Clearly, Baha’is teach the interconnectedness of all things so that humanity may be encouraged to think about the consequence of its actions. As Baha’u’llah wrote, “Be ye as the fingers of one hand, the members of one body. (GWB, p. 140). Baha’is then learn to see all of humanity as brothers and sisters that we should look out for. And they teach the purpose of life as being primarily for spiritual development and growth, so that humanity preserves the natural resources of our planet for future generations to have their chance at a spiritual life.

As an important Baha’i institution wrote, “Indeed, if the whole of humanity is one interconnected body, then an injury to any member is an injury to the body as a whole.” (Baha’i International Community, 1993 Dec 03, Right and Responsibility to Promote Human Rights).

Clearly, for such systemic problems, solutions cannot come from the top down. That is why Baha’is work at the grassroots levels to address problems holistically. As the same institution wrote, “In the field of environmental protection, Bahá’í projects generally take a community-based approach. An example is a program being offered in the Talamanca and Caribbean regions of Costa Rica among the Bribri and Cabecar indigenous peoples. ‘Community learning groups’ study modules on environmental and moral leadership with the aid of a local tutor and initiate projects such as school and family gardens, fish farms, and poultry raising. Through their participation in the program, over 200 individuals, many associated with local organizations engaged in the conservation of natural resources, have been able to enhance their ability to contribute to the sustainable development of their communities.

“Besides such community-based initiatives, the International Environmental Forum operating in Europe links environmental professionals and activists worldwide. The Forum, whose membership is drawn from 50 countries, hosts an annual conference, promotes networking, publishes monographs, sponsors online courses on sustainable development, and provides mentoring to students and young professionals.”(The Bahá’í International Community, For the Betterment of the World).

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