It’s about time. That was my first thought when I heard, late last year, that the Bahá‘í International Community had endorsed the Interfaith Declaration on Climate Change. My next thought was: when will this trickle down to us, the people, as a meaningful directive to change our habits? A few weeks ago, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá‘ís of the United States sent a letter to all American believers, calling their attention to the Declaration, and to a Seven Year Plan of Action on Climate Change. They encouraged us to actively incorporate sustainable practices into our community life, in a manner more direct than ever before.
Again: it’s about time. But don’t think that’s a statement critical of Bahá‘í institutions. Rather, it’s a statement about the Bahá‘ís. Many of us individually have tried to move our lives closer to something sustainable (although as an American I’m still far from it). Our communities are small, and our members incredibly active in a diverse mixture of worship and service — particularly service in teaching all ages about spiritual values for this day and age, service in working towards racial and gender equality, service in direct action to help our neighbors and the broader commumnity.
As a community, I suspect we simply weren’t ready to take on this challenge. But now we are, and our institutions have recognized it. It’s about time we strengthened our communities enough to take on the challenge of making changes to address the imminent threat of climate change, and the suffering of humanity and bio-diversity that it will entail.