Sustainable Development and the Prosperity of Humankind Course Adds to Decades-Long Commitment to Addressing Environmental Problems

Sherna Deamer, an environmental writer living in San Rafael, California, connects her professional and personal life with guidance from the Universal House of Justice about the future prosperity of humankind in the Wilmette Institute’s Sustainable Development course.

Sherna DeamerI published my first article about the pollution of the oceans in 1970. In the seventies I worked for Jacques Cousteau for five years as editor of his environmental newsletter, The Calypso Log. I pretty quickly learned that “environmental problems” were not technical problems. We had the knowledge to solve all of the problems humans were causing. The real problem was/is will.

Investigating this need for “will” ultimately led me to the Baha’i Faith. I realized in 1978 that Baha’u’llah’s teachings had the solutions to all of the world’s problems. All the rest is commentary, as they say.

In re-reading The Prosperity of Humankind for this course I was very struck by the list of “human rights” presented in Part II of the booklet. The new insight I gained was that as a Baha’i, I should consider access to clean air and clean water as fundamental human rights. To me this is higher moral ground than “if humans dirty the water, they’re going to make themselves sick.”

Also, what jelled in my mind was the oneness of all of creation: not just of humankind, but of all kind–minerals, plants, animals, humans. . . . We are one. As we cannot say, “I’m doing fine,” if there is a child in Somalia dying needlessly, we cannot say, “I’m doing fine,” if there is a whale in the ocean dying needlessly. We are One.

I will also continue to try to work in our neighborhood on environmental issues. Unfortunately, we have no park we can clean up or community hall where we can hold lectures. However, my husband and I turned our rose garden into a vegetable garden, and people noticed. We’re also gradually replacing the ornamental plants that were around the house when we got here with native species, and we talk to our neighbors about that. I run my car on biofuel, which people know.

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