BIC New York: Recasting humanity’s relationship with natural world
BIC NEW YORK — “Will humanity act on the truth that its own destiny and that of the planet are irrevocably intertwined? Or will still greater calamities be required to move it to action?” asks the Bahá’í International Community (BIC) in a statement it recently released on the occasion of Stockholm+50.
“Climate change and other major crises in the world are compelling humanity to recognize its singular existence as a species, and therefore, its need for new patterns of organization that are commensurate with today's needs,” said Daniel Perell, a representative of the BIC, at a discussion forum held at the Swedish Parliament and co-hosted by the BIC with two Swedish MPs, and other civil society organizations.
The statement presents a thought-provoking reading of the root causes of escalating environmental breakdown and highlights principles and proposals for action that draw on experiences over many decades “where the international community not only imagined a better world, but attempted action along paths previously untraveled.”
At its heart, the statement underlines the gap between intention and action as one of the central challenges facing humanity. This gap, says the BIC, can be bridged by efforts of individuals, communities, and nations who are contributing their share toward this goal every day. However, the pace of transformation has not yet risen to the demands of the moment.
“For action to rise to the scales required, far stronger consensus and collective will among the nations is needed around the values demanded by the current stage of humanity’s development,” reads the statement.
Some of the themes explored by the BIC in One Planet, One Habitation include: the essential principle of humanity’s oneness as the only foundation on which sustainable societies can be raised; justice as process and outcome; consultation and fostering consensus in action; and redefining notions of progress and development.
Among the proposals offered in the statement are some concerning the important role of government in building a more sustainable world. For example, the BIC suggests that a mechanism to ensure global tax coordination and a framework for regulating illicit financial flows could reduce the disparities of wealth between nations, allowing them to raise resources to address pressing and future requirements.
Maria Fernanda Espinosa, former President of the United Nations General Assembly, expressed her appreciation for these ideas, stating that “a new pact for the future requires a values-based multilateral system.”
She added: “This is not an abstract statement. It requires the redistribution of wealth and power and a transition from greed to solidarity, from prejudice to empathy and kindness, from indifference and hate to radical love for humankind and nature.”
One Planet, One Habitation is among the latest of the BIC’s ongoing contribution to the discourse on the environment. Other significant statements include those submitted to the 21st meeting of the UNFCCC Conference of Parties in Paris in 2015, to the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development or “Earth Summit”, and to the original 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment.