Newsletter of the
INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENT FORUM
Volume 24, Number 12 --- 15 December 2022
Article submission: firstname.lastname@example.org Deadline next issue 10 January 2023
Secretariat Email: email@example.com Christine Muller General Secretary
Postal address: 12B Chemin de Maisonneuve, CH-1219 Chatelaine, Geneva, Switzerland
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From the Editor, Request for information for upcoming newsletters
This newsletter is an opportunity for IEF members to share their experiences, activities, and initiatives that are taking place at the community level on environment, climate change and sustainability. All members are welcome to contribute information about related activities, upcoming conferences, news from like-minded organizations, recommended websites, book reviews, etc. Please send information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please share the Leaves newsletter and IEF membership information with family, friends and associates, and encourage interested persons to consider becoming a member of the IEF.
16th IEF Webinar
Saturday, 7 January, 2023
10am PST California, 1pm EST New York, 6pm GMT, 7pm CET Central Europe, 11:30pm IST India
The International Adoption of a Right to a Clean, Healthy, and Sustainable Environment: What Next? Speaker: Maja Groff
Register here: https://tinyurl.com/MajaGroff
On 28 July 2022, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) voted to recognize the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment as a human right. The vote passed with 161 nations in favor, none against, and eight abstentions. This resolution of the UNGA echoes a previous text adopted in October 2021 by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), which similarly saw no opposing votes. Some of those initiating these developments suggested that the global recognition of this right could catalyze powerful, effective and transformative change in confronting current, interdependent ecological crises. This seminar will explore the genesis and nature of this newly-recognized international human right and interrogate the possible consequences flowing from this recognition, in the light of the intensifying "triple planetary threat" of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.
Maja Groff, Esq., is an international lawyer based in The Hague, and is Convenor of the Climate Governance Commission, which seeks to propose high impact global governance innovations adequate to meet the climate challenge. She serves as Co-Chair of the Coordinating Committee for the International Anti-Corruption Court (IACC), as well as on The Canadian Task Force Against Global Corruption. As a Principal Legal Officer, she has previously worked on the development and administration of multiple multilateral treaties. She was a co-winner of the 2018 global governance innovation “New Shape Prize” and is a co-author of the 2020 book, Global Governance and the Emergence of Global Institutions for the 21st Century. She also serves on the Advisory Boards of BCorp Europe and ebbf, organizations devoted to ethical business, and is a NOW Partner.
17th IEF Webinar
Saturday, 4 February, 2023
"Book Club" Webinar: Council of Pecans, from Braiding Sweetgrass
We will listen to Robin Kimmerer read the chapter "Council of Pecans" from her book "Braiding Sweetgrass." This chapter discusses how pecan trees use the principle of unity and collective action as a strategy to thrive and reproduce. You do not need to read ahead, as we will listen to the audiobook chapter together, but for your reference, this is the link to the book.
Thank you, Cynthia Diessner!
The IEF board warmly thanks Cindy for many years of dedicated and skilled service for the IEF newsletter. We wish her well for her many other areas of service she is engaged in.
Call for Volunteers
Help With IEF Video Content
The IEF is looking for a volunteer to do simple video editing of webinar recordings and our yearly conference recordings, and to manage the IEF YouTube profile. Editing skills needed are minimal, so interest more than skill is what we are looking for here!
Service Opportunities with the IEF Newsletter
The newsletter offers several volunteer opportunities for service:
- Manager/coordinator (requires overall understanding of environmental sustainability and the Baha’i-approach to social action as well as excellent English writing skills)
- Volunteer who finds and collects articles
- Volunteer who does the layout of the pdf version of the newsletter
- Volunteer who creates the html version for the Drupal website
- Two or three volunteers who could occasionally write summaries, reviews, and commentaries
Email email@example.com to volunteer!
IEF member profile
Long-time IEF member Austin Bowden-Kerby PhD in Fiji has provided a recent update on his activities. As one of the pioneers of coral reef restoration by replanting corals on damaged reefs, he runs Corals for Conservation. You can watch Austin present a 22 minute summary of climate change adaptation strategies and a TEDx talk. His latest project is an emergency response to massive coral bleaching.
He also runs the Teitei Livelihoods Centre in Fiji including permaculture training, a happy chickens for food security project, and other activities to provide sustainable environmental livelihoods for local people (http://permacultureglobal.com/projects/1759-sustainable-environmental-l…). He has been training local people and assisting with similar projects in other island countries including Kiribati, Tuvalu, Samoa, Vanuatu and French Polynesia. Some videos on his work will be released next year.
He gave a long presentation on Island Communities, Coral Reefs, and Climate Change at the ABS Agriculture working Group and they have posted it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJ0dJhUDPX4. His many years of persistence across the Pacific and even in the Caribbean are now producing results of direct benefit to local communities.
Lectures and TV interview in India
News from IEF President Arthur Dahl
IEF President Arthur Dahl went to India 14-24 November with Augusto Lopez-Claros and Joshua Lincoln for the Global Governance Forum to speak on global environmental governance, climate change and sustainability (see report on his personal website) with 15 presentations in Lucknow to 2,800 high school students, several universities and a conference of chief justices of the world, and 7 talks in New Delhi, mostly at universities. Arthur Dahl was interviewed by famous Indian TV journalist, Vikram Bahl, for his programme Global View. His interview, titled by the journalist “Are humans also an endangered species?”, was broadcast nationally and can be viewed on YouTube and followed as a podcast on Spotify, Apple podcasts and Google Podcasts.
Addressing climate change from a spiritual perspective
IEF member Christine Muller spoke about Addressing climate change from a spiritual perspective at the Baha’i Faith Modern Perspectives Fireside on 12 November. The recording is available here.
BIC COP27 report: Consensus on guiding principles essential to climate action
SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt, 24 November 2022, (BWNS)
In their contributions to discussions at the COP27 climate summit, … the delegates from the Bahá’í International Community (BIC) have emphasized a pivotal idea—if humanity is to address the myriad of climate issues it is facing, the nations of the world need to reach consensus on the essential guiding principles that recast the relationship between society and the natural world.
“The natural world offers profound insight into the essence of coexistence and interdependence,” said Hatem El-Hady, a representative of the Cairo Office of the BIC, at an event titled “Coexistence between peoples and the earth.”
Mr. El-Hady explained that the nations of the world must develop their capacity to work together in order to protect the environment and that the animating force behind this advance must be the recognition of humanity’s inherent oneness.
Saphira Rameshfar, a representative of the New York Office of the BIC, elaborated on this idea, stating: “We cannot talk about coexistence and living in harmony with the planet unless we are able to consult together and understand one another deeply. We have to learn to see reality from many different perspectives and be open to our own thinking being enhanced by the perceptions and experiences of others.”
Ms. Rameshfar highlighted that consultation, when approached as a means for investigating truth, can enable people from diverse backgrounds to avoid adversarial tendencies, transcend differences, and harmonize perspectives.
“The ability to consult in this way,” she said, “and really understand where humanity is at present, is essential to moving toward a mature society that is at peace with itself and with the environment.”
The two-week UN conference brought together more than 100 heads of state and government, as well as over 35,000 other attendees, including numerous civil society organizations, journalists, media outlets, businesses, climate activists, and members of the public, to examine global efforts addressing climate change.
Mr. El-Hady and Ms. Rameshfar were joined in the BIC delegation to the conference by Bani Dugal and Daniel Perell from the BIC New York Office, Peter Aburi and Laura Musonye from Kenya, and Ian Hamilton from the United States.
Visit news.bahai.org to see glimpses of BIC’s participation in COP27.
Delegates explore needed solidarity and justice dimensions
at COP 27
News from the Bahá'í International Community
Egypt - 9 November 2022
Principles of solidarity and justice—outlined in a statement titled One Planet, One Habitation, re-released this month by the Baha’i International Community (BIC), on humanity’s relationship with the natural world—were explored by government officials, civil society actors, and other leaders of thought, at a press conference hosted by the BIC together with the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation at this year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 27) in Sharm el-Sheikh.
“Humanity has tremendous potential, ingenuity, creativity, and capacity to solve the myriad problems before it,” said BIC Representative Daniel Perell, who moderated the press conference. “These must now be harnessed through determined, collective volition—a resource which, in turn, rests on confidence in humanity's capacity and hope for a better future.”
Also released by the BIC was a companion website to its statement, exploring ways these foundational principles are being translated into reality by communities worldwide, as well as a film, titled Tanna: A Study in Leadership and Action, illustrating the experience of one such community in Vanuatu.
“Our new film is just one of many hopeful anecdotes about youth applying foundational principles such as unity, solidarity, and a desire to create new patterns of relationships within their communities and with their environment,” Mr. Perell observed.
Co-hosting the press conference with the BIC was the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, which emphasizes the need to address climate issues in holistic ways and to examine the values that are at the heart of climate commitments. In prepared remarks, Debra Boudreaux, CEO of the Foundation, noted the role of factors such as interconnection and resilience, along with the need to learn systematically and refine efforts over time. “A goal can be perfect or imperfect,” she said. “The key point is learning from its lessons.”
Speaking from the perspective of a small island developing state, His Excellency Bakoa Kaltongga, Special Envoy on Climate Change in Vanuatu, emphasized the need to transform structures of global governance. In this light, he related his country’s initiative to seek an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice, clarifying state responsibility for acting on climate change.
“It will provide us a common ground with the greater industrial North and the small island and developing states to … unite together in addressing these climate change challenges,” Mr. Kaltongga said, of the requested opinion.
Payam Akhavan, Professor of International Law at the University of Toronto and counsel to the Commission of Small Island States on Climate Change and International Law, noted the importance of a rules-based international order and values of justice and equity, saying, “The principle that a state should not do harm to other states must become part of the conversation at COP.” Kehkashan Basu, Founder-President of Green Hope Foundation, stressed the importance of grassroots action based on principles of empathy and compassion.
Finally, Bani Dugal, Principal Representative of the BIC, highlighted principles central to the One Planet, One Habitation statement, including the need to redefine notions of progress, to align action with higher principles, and to refashion relationships between individuals, communities, and institutions of governance.
“The world that beckons is one of integration and balance, beauty, and maturity,” Ms. Dugal said. “It is a world increasingly relieved of the destructive moral compromises—social, economic, and environmental—that have so often been asserted as necessary to progress. Movement toward this vision has begun. its momentum is gathering.”
COP 27 brought together over 44,000 registered attendees, including world leaders, civil society and climate activists, as well as journalists and business leaders, to discuss the implementation of the UN’s climate change framework. One of the largest conferences of its kind, the scale represents unprecedented consensus around the concern for climate change as well as a recognition of the power that deliberative settings can serve to stimulate the needed action to maintain the healthy functioning of our global system.
Film about coral reef restoration project screened at COP27
Bahá'í World News Service
18 November 2022
A short film produced by the Bahá’í International Community (BIC) explores how constructive relationships between individuals, the community, and institutions paved the path for a youth-led social action initiative to revitalize and protect a coral reef ecosystem off the shores of Tanna, Vanuatu.
The 13-minute film, titled “Tanna: A Study in Leadership and Action,” is part of the BIC’s contribution to the discourse on climate change and was screened at the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as COP27. Among the attendees of the screening were government officials from Vanuatu. The film examines a youth-led environmental protection effort to create no-fishing zones to allow the coral reef to recover.
“The coral restoration project emerged from the efforts of youth participating in Bahá’í moral education programs,” said Willy Missack, a member of the Bahá’í community, IEF member, and coordinator of Vanuatu Climate Action Network, in his remarks at the screening. Willy, who is from Tanna, also narrated the film.
Saphira Rameshfar, representative of the BIC, added that these educational programs enable young people to explore the application of spiritual principles, such as the oneness of humanity, in their efforts to address social issues.
“This film provides an example of how Bahá’í community-building efforts foster unity among individuals, communities, and institutions as they work together to contribute to the material and spiritual progress of their society,” she said.
Over the two weeks of COP27, representatives of the BIC participated in numerous discussions in both formal and informal settings, and have highlighted the critically urgent need for rethinking the relationship between society and the natural world. A complete report on Bahá'í International Community activities at COP27 is available here.
Source: https://news.bahai.org/story/1626/ with some editing
Ethical responses to climate change
BIC COP 27 event features Al-Azhar, Religions for Peace and Vanuatu
Egypt, 10 November 2022
Holistic means of addressing climate challenges, and particularly the role of religious communities and spiritual principles, were central to a Baha’i International Community (BIC) event hosted yesterday, organized in collaboration with Religions for Peace, the Anglican Communion, and the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation.
“Materialist development views … are incapable of achieving their main goal, namely, restoring development-related values in human consciousness and changing the daily attitudes of individuals and their life pattern through … compassion and shared social responsibility,” said Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam, Senior Representative of His Eminence Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Elders, in recorded remarks.
Titled “Realizing Ambition through Ethical, Intergenerational and Multisectoral Responses to Climate Crises,” the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 27) event featured nine speakers from a variety of geographic, sectoral, and religious backgrounds. Notable were ties that several speakers had to the Egyptian national context.
“I appreciated Judge Abdelsalam’s remarks about the significance of this conference being held in Egypt, which is at the heart of the Arab and Islamic world,” said Hatem El-Hady, Representative of the Baha’i International Community’s Cairo Office, in reflections after the event.
“All the speakers agreed that humanity can no longer afford to be held back by the shackles of history that divided us in the past,” El-Hady continued. “The urgent climate crisis has made it clear that the time has come for humanity to transcend all types of prejudices, especially religious prejudices, and to collectively learn to apply the values of coexistence, tolerance, and unity necessary for the common aim of protecting our environment.”
Many speakers emphasized the need for ecological interdependence to be reflected in political cooperation and collaboration. “Working together is critical, working together as one human family in a just and equitable world,” said Malcolm Dalesa, newly appointed Climate Attaché from Vanuatu to the United Nations Mission in New York.
“The fundamental thing we need is that critical and vital spirit of unity and a consultative manner, to ensure that there is long and sustained change,” Mr. Dalesa added.
The significant power of religious institutions to influence human behavior, and how that power is most constructively leveraged, was a central theme highlighted by Azza Karam, Secretary General of Religions for Peace. “The issue here, centrally, is: are religious actors of diverse kinds ready, willing, and able to work together,” Ms. Karam asked, “to actually pool their resources on concrete initiatives?”
The “Realizing Ambition” event joined a variety of other initiatives that BIC delegates, both international and drawn from the national Egyptian context, are undertaking at COP 27. In recent days, the BIC released an online resource entitled Working Toward One Planet and One Habitation: Sustainability and Environmental Efforts by Bahá’í Communities Around the World, as well as a 13-minute sustainability-themed documentary, entitled Tanna: A Study in Leadership and Action.
Copyright BIC 2022
Putting Values to Work in an Age of Climate Change
By Daniel Perell,
Representative of the Bahá’í International Community to the United Nations, and IEF Member
NEW YORK—23 Nov 2022
“What ethical values do you center in your climate work?”
The Baha’i International Community United Nations Office posed this question to hundreds of participants at the COP27 climate change conference earlier this month. We hoped for reflections not just on technical approaches and policy positions, but on the ideals and vision of the future that sustain us in committed action over time. And the results were telling.
Over 340 hand-written messages and sticky-note drawings, posted to our “Values Wall”, spoke to some of the deepest aspirations of those involved in climate action. The posts uncover a wide diversity of animating values but also a striking coherence and convergence around key themes.
The way our societies are organized, for example, as reflected through values such as justice, equity, and equality, was mentioned in 14% of the responses. And the way human beings relate to one another, through qualities such as honesty, integrity, and respect, was mentioned in 14% of the notes. Our feelings toward one another, meanwhile, as articulated through values such as love, empathy, kindness, and solidarity, was mentioned in 17% of the responses.
Those who left their values on the wall came from many walks of life, ages, geographic backgrounds, and roles and functions at COP. But the language that emerged was shared. The value of this common resource should not be overlooked, particularly as COP 27 once again raised all-too-familiar questions—Are these gatherings worthwhile? What do they have to show? Where is the political will?
COP 21 in Paris was seen by many as a success in part because of the landmark political agreement it produced. Equally significant, though, was the consensus and commitment it built around an enduring set of values shared by the generality of participants, rooted in justice, unity, solidarity, and common cause.
Looking ahead to COP 28 in Dubai, negotiations on funding mechanisms, stocktaking, and similar arrangements will remain central to the work. But if these are negotiated absent the deeper values that need to underlie any true and lasting progress, I fear that disappointment will once again be the result.
Values left unapplied are like a map left unopened—helpful in theory but unfulfilled in practice. We all hold this map of higher moral aspirations and commitments; the wall of values demonstrated this. The question is how these values become embedded deeply enough in our collective consciousness to shape the choices and behaviors of decisionmakers; how these, and others, take hold as the accepted foundations for collective global action. Once we settle on these values—just as when we unfold our map and decide on our destination—it is merely a matter of charting a shared path ahead.
Starting with the values that guide us would yield radically different outcomes from present practices rooted in assumptions of competition and difference. Consensus on matters of principle paves the way for greater willingness to explore hard truths, to see diverse perspectives, and to identify solutions that can gain a wide degree of support and ownership, bridging the gap between words and deeds. Over the coming months, ahead of COP 28 next year, we will return to the values wall from Sharm El Sheikh and explore how to reshape not just our approach to mitigating climate change but to our shared planetary life.
This is far easier said than done, of course; even moving in that direction would require an entirely new approach to negotiation. Yet with every international conference, it is becoming increasingly clear that a global order in which nations, entities, and individuals find common purpose and motivation to move toward a more just and sustainable world can only rest on a foundation explicitly based in the values we cherish. Let us then give this vital consideration the practical and sustained attention it deserves.
Source: Bahá’í International Community Perspectives https://www.bic.org/perspectives/putting-values-work-age-climate-change
Earth for All: A survival guide for humanity
review by Arthur Lyon Dahl
and extracts from https://www.earth4all.life/
This review is shortened for this newsletter. The full text is available on the IEF website here: https://www.iefworld.org/node/1343
Fifty years after the report to the Club of Rome on The Limits to Growth, which I reviewed in 1972, the Club of Rome has assembled the leading creative thinkers on complex systems science, social justice and alternative economics to propose a new vision of the way forward out of our multiple crises. Their new book Earth for All: A survival guide for humanity, by Sandrine Dixson-Declève, Owen Gaffney, Jayati Ghosh, Jørgen Randers, Johan Rockström, and Per Espen Stocknes, a Report to the Club of Rome, was published in September 2022. Executive summaries are available in English and several other languages. There is also a website, https://www.earth4all.life/ from which much of this review is derived.
Earth4All builds on the legacies of The Limits to Growth and the Planetary Boundaries frameworks. Science is at the heart of this work. It rethinks capitalism and moves beyond GDP for a safe, secure and prosperous future in the Anthropocene. It this way, it goes in the same direction as the IEF/ebbf discussion of Global Solidarity Accounting and Community Conversations for Global Solidarity.
The Earth4All analysis focuses on three deeply intertwined systems: economy, society and ecology, or more explicitly: 10 regional economies, 10 regional societies and Earth’s nine life supporting systems. It is grounded in systems thinking, a branch of science that has exploded in the last five decades and whose tools help to understand complexity, feedback loops, tipping points and exponential impacts.
The economic system keeps crashing. It's time to install a new operating system
Earth For All is both an antidote to despair and a road map to a better future. Using powerful state-of-the-art computer modeling to explore policies likely to deliver the most good for the majority of people, a leading group of scientists and economists from around the world present five extraordinary turnarounds to achieve prosperity for all within planetary limits in a single generation.
• Results of new global modeling that indicates falling well-being and rising social tensions heighten risk of regional societal collapses
• Two alternative scenarios - Too-Little-Too-Late vs The Giant Leap - and what they mean for our collective future
• Five system-shifting steps that can upend poverty and inequality, lift up marginalized people, and transform our food and energy systems by 2050
• A clear pathway to reboot our global economic system so it works for all people and the planet.
Written in an open, accessible, and inspirational style using clear language and high impact visuals, Earth For All is a profound vision for uncertain times and a map to a better future.
Widespread literature demonstrates our current economic systems create ever more inequalities and fail the planet.
What if the economic system changed its priorities, to work towards wellbeing of all instead of working towards maximising GDP at the expense of ecosystems, climate and societal trust? What if focus shifted to long-term prosperity for all instead of short-term profits for the few? The economy could be a tool at the service of humanity, rather than an end in itself. New economic ideas on how to achieve this are gaining ground. Members of the Earth4All Transformational Economics Commission developed new paradigms for our economic and societal operating system.
The Earth4All Model
The modelling looks at the quantitative and causal interactions between environmental variables and socio-economic variables, such as investments, energy use, taxes, savings, education, inequality and social trust. Building on the legacy of The Limits to Growth and the planetary boundaries framework, the new Earth4All model can calculate different consistent scenarios to illustrate how economic policies are likely to affect human wellbeing, societies and ecosystems in the short and long-term future. Humanity has already crossed five out of nine planetary boundaries and experts are exploring if a sixth has been transgressed.
Five system-shifting steps
The five extraordinary turnarounds presented by Earth4All are the minimum requirements that support wellbeing for all, whilst protecting the planet:
- Eliminate poverty
- Reduce inequality
- Empower women
- Transform food systems
- The energy turnaround
Upgrading the economic system
It is feasible to redesign economic and social policies to put our societies on a pathway towards wellbeing for all within planetary boundaries.
There is no “one size fits all” for economic systems change. There are different ways to reach the five extraordinary turnarounds depending on different social and political contexts. Actions to drive these turnarounds in the United States and Canada are likely to be very different to actions in Africa, Europe or Asia for example.
Academia is alive with fiery debates about economic growth. Is green growth possible? Is degrowth desirable? What about steady-state economies? Let’s go beyond growth. People should be agnostic about economic growth. It really depends on what is growing. Consumption of many materials cannot keep growing, and greenhouse gas emissions need to be halted. But revolutions in energy and food will drive economic growth. And low-income countries need to grow their economies.
Instead of a myopic focus on economic growth, political leaders should instead ask: is the economy optimised for resilience? Is it improving the lives of the majority? Is it perceived as reasonably fair? Does it protect our planet and the wellbeing of future generations? Does it help deliver the prime goal of a state - to keep citizens safe and secure over the long term? Are we measuring and valuing the right things? This means re-defining what really matters in economic policies. To accelerate change, governments should upgrade our economic system and redefine what really matters in economic policies: wellbeing.
A wellbeing economy is one that serves people and the planet, rather than people and planet serving the economy. Earth4All has developed a wellbeing index as an alternative to GDP that is built on the wellbeing framework. The index quantifies wellbeing based on:
- Dignity: worker disposable income after tax
- Nature: climate change (global surface average temperature)
- Connection: government services indicated by spending per person, i.e., to institutions that serve common good
- Fairness: the ratio of owner income after tax to worker income after tax
- Participation: people’s observed progress (how wellbeing has improved or declined in the previous five years) and labor participation
Such new economic and wellbeing indicators would deliver better outcomes for people and planet and place them at the centre of policymaking. This would support a shift away from unsustainable consumption as a key driver of GDP growth in high-income countries.
What the book proposes is by no means a complete blueprint for economic systems change, but an opening for discussion. Economic systems change will require support of the majority of citizens, but there are deep divisions within many societies. So, a starting point to drive systems change is to bring citizens together around a common agenda, for example through citizens assemblies to help overcome division and polarisation.
It seems daunting, but it is possible
If governments make progress on these extraordinary turnarounds and transform our economic system, if enough political support is created by citizens, we will make wellbeing for all on our planet possible.
Principal source: https://www.earth4all.life/
New Materials for Education
Brilliant Star: Harmony with Nature, Vol. 52, No. 2.
In this issue, children can explore humanity’s relationship with Earth and what they can do to protect our amazing home:
- Discover how Bahá’u’lláh transformed ‘Akká and Shoghi Effendi beautified Bahjí;
- Exercise your creativity to craft a floating sailboat;
- Quiz yourself on your planet-saving skills;
- Learn how Ojibwe leader Nick Hockings shared respect for nature;
- Follow Maya’s lead and take an Earth-friendly challenge;
- Draw your vision for the future inspired by Bahá’í environmentalist Richard St. Barbe Baker;
- Explore the wonders of nature with fun puzzles and activities;
- Check out ideas and actions from kids around the world who are helping Earth;
- Learn about climate change’s impact from our STEM Education Advisor, Dr. Steve Scotti;
- Get to know Dr. Gary Reusche, who empowers kids at his camp in Ukraine. (Gary is also an IEF member.)
Sustainable Development (SDG) Activities Guides for the Classroom
The Global Schools Program just released excellent resources for teachers.
One of them is the Activities Guide: Responsible Consumption. This guide is meant to support teachers or facilitators in carrying out activities on SDG 12 in school communities with lower and upper secondary students. The Activities can be carried out in the classroom or within the wider school community. Educators can select activities, videos, articles, or worksheets to use in a lesson plan. Additionally, facilitators can use all of the activities in a step-by-step process to develop an entire unit and actionable student projects on Responsible Consumption.
Items of Interest
COP27 closes with deal on loss and damage: ‘A step towards justice’, says UN chief
UN News provides an excellent summary of the international climate conference COP27.
COP27: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
A 1-minute summary of COP27
Live from #COP27: Inger Andersen, Executive Director UNEP | UN Climate Change
a 14min. interview
COP27 climate talks: what succeeded, what failed and what’s next
Researchers are frustrated at the glacial pace of decarbonization — but cheered the commitment to create a ‘loss and damage’ fund.
Brief report of COP 27 by Nature News
Post COP27 climate change education: Where do we go from here?
This eighth edition closed the first season of the UNESCO-UNFCCC webinars series on climate change education for social transformation. It addressed the following questions:
• What are the main achievements and takeaways on climate change education from COP27?
• What are the next steps to translate these commitments into action?
You can watch the webinar in English, French, and Spanish.
Climate Trace – an important new tool to trace carbon emissions
For decades, humans could measure how much carbon dioxide is in the Earth’s atmosphere. And that their rise has been the result of our use of fossil fuels. The new tool Climate TRACE provides insights about exactly where and when greenhouse gas emissions are occurring covering all countries, major emitting industries, and major individual sources of emissions. This opens an new era of unprecedented transparency that will help facilitate concrete climate action.
Pathogen spillover driven by rapid changes in bat ecology
This recent scientific study is a perfect example of the interconnectedness in nature. The Hendra virus seems to multiply in bats called black flying foxes that are hungry. While the bats are not much affected by the virus, they can transmit it to horses which show a very high mortality rate when infected. The virus can also jump to humans when they take care of the horses. The researchers found that when the bats were well-fed on nectar, they had low levels of Hendra. But when they were hungry and emaciated, they were full of the virus. They don't have enough energy to maintain a healthy immune response to keep these viruses in check. Historically, bats have been able to manage brief absences of food. But because of climate change and habitat loss in Australia, there are not as many of the flowering trees and plants that black flying foxes once relied on. So, they look for food in trees people planted where they keep their horses. An effective way to stop deadly Hendra virus infections from bats to horses is to take care of the local forests that are degraded by planting native trees the bats can feed on.
Source and Reference:
NPR Broadcast and transcript
Scientific paper: Eby, P., Peel, A.J., Hoegh, A. et al. Pathogen spillover driven by rapid changes in bat ecology. Nature (2022).
Where Walruses Go When Sea Ice Is Gone
The short, deeply impressive documentary “Haulout” follows a scientist on a remote Arctic beach who witnesses the chaotic effects of climate change on Pacific walruses. Film by Evgenia Arbugaeva and Maxim Arbugaev.
New Film “The Letter”
“The Letter” tells the story of a journey to Rome of frontline leaders to discuss the encyclical letter Laudato Si’ with Pope Francis. It documents the truth that “The way we treat the Earth, our common home, is a reflection of how we treat each other. Caring for each other means caring for the home we share.”
Film website: https://www.theletterfilm.org
Direct link to film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rps9bs85BII
Updated 15 December 2022