Why Borders Don’t Help Us Protect the Environment
It’s hard to grasp the largeness of environmentalism. Does a man buying an engagement ring in New York think about the environmental effects of gold mines in Peru or diamond mines in Africa? Does a woman applying lip balm in Texas consider species lost to palm oil farms in Indonesia?
To see real environmental change, we need to start thinking of environmental protection as a value that transcends borders. And to do that, this month the Baha’is of Manhattan Beach, California hosted two presentations by Dr. Hamid Rastegar addressing the global scope of environmentalism.
Environmentalism Is a Spiritual Value to Baha’is
Baha’is see the presence of order in the world as an integrating/uniting principal. The ordering of objects helps to establish their purpose, and shows every object on this Earth its relation to every other object. This not only promotes environmentalism through a sense that everything on Earth has a purpose or order, but also celebrates the beauty of the Creator’s natural order. By introducing order into our planet, the Creator allowed that rotating sphere to contain many beautiful locations.
When something is taken out of the order, its more than just a destruction of that one thing — it’s a destruction of the whole and of the Creator’s Creation. This is why the global challenges to environmentalism are so important to Baha’is. The protection of nature must extend outside borders.
The Case For Global Environmental Protection
As the President and CEO of the Aspen Environmental Group, a company concerned with environmental compliance, impact assessment, and mitigation services for development projects, Dr. Rastegar knows a good deal about the challenges to the environment. He has more than 30 years of experience in management of multi-disciplinary projects involving the infrastructure, energy, and petroleum industries. He also holds a Doctorate degree from UCLA and an MS degree from the Florida Institute of Technology both in Environmental Science and Engineering, and a BS degree in Civil Engineering.
During the presentations he explained the two required functions of any effort that hopes to protect the environment: (1) ensuring continuation of life support systems, and (2) guaranteeing maintenance of diversity.
Yes, there are simple solutions we should all be doing to protect the environment: plant a tree; ride your bike; save electricity; save water; and reduce, reuse, and recycle. But only a global call to action will save the planet, according to Dr. Rastegar. This may seem daunting, but the world has acted to defeat oppression and immorality in the past.
Dr. Rastegar indicated that such a restructuring must create a system with new values, ones in which people are not influenced by their interest in material possessions. He explained that development of such a system could only succeed if people began to recognize the transcendent purpose to life on earth. The development of human potential was a key to progress. Society must learn to pay more attention to the development of such potential, as opposed to focusing on the growth of national income.
His concluding remarks displayed Dr. Rastegar‘s strong desire to see society travel along a path to unity — a realization that humans are part of all of the forces within nature. Let’s hope that with leaders like Dr. Rastegar, our global community will face our many environmental challenges.
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