We need to consult, can we?

Jan 2012
719
China
#81
I’ve finished reading the thread, and I’ve posted my thoughts about what I’ve read. I don’t know what anyone thinks about my ideas for this discussion. I’ll try some things and see what happens. My idea was first to talk to each other about what we’re trying and. hoping to do for community building, social development and participation in tha discourse of society, to get some ideas, encouragement and support from each other. Then each explain our views about climate change and what to do about it. Then discuss safe and healthy ways for each of us to bring our ideas with us into that framework for action. I have another idea now, to educate ourselves about the views on all sides, and talk to each other about what we’ve learned.

Offline I’ve been trying to continually improve my personality, my character and the way I live my life, in ways that I think will help improve the world for people around me, in everything I do, everywhere all the time; to enlarge my circle of friends; to become a better friend to more people; and to help with the growth and spread of healthier, happier, more loving communities. One of my community service activities is doing origami outside where people walking by can see what I’m doing. My wife and I have started inviting friends over for snacks, conversations and looking at photos and videos. We’re doing that for its own sake, and to make it easier next fall to invite them to celebrate the bicentennial with us. We’re also mentoring some of my wife’s former university English students.

Online I’ve been practicing some ideas to help make Internet discussions more fruitful and beneficial, and to help bring the community building, the social development, and the participation in the discourse of society, into online community life.
 
Likes: PherJVv
Mar 2019
29
Senegal
#82
I would like for anyone in this discussion who is willing, to talk about what you've been trying and hoping to do in the framework for action that the House of Justice has been promoting: community building, social action, and involvement in the discourses of society. I will do that also if anyone would like me to.
Thanks for all your help facilitating the discussion, thorough responses and good ideas.

My community is rural Senegal, and all of Peace Corps work fits those goals ideally.

As my sector is agricultural, a lot of it is intended to create sustainable solutions to climate change. It's small scale, local, and low budget, but it involves the community and has the potential for sustainability in ways top down development usually cannot do. We live within a local community (just one American per community, unless there is a married couple, or in a big town/city there may be two from different sectors), learn the local language, and integrate with our host family and community for two years, after the initial 2.5 months of cultural, lingual, and sectoral training.

I've helped with an annual mangrove reforestation effort where 50+ of us PCVs partner with local women and volunteers to sail out to a reforestation site along the coast of the Saloum River (other years it's been different sites in Fatick, this was the spot for 2018 and will be this year as well) where we worked all morning before the tide came in, planting in grids to expand the existing forest farther into the water. This was after a training on what the mangrove ecosystem is and why it is important. The protective shallow roots are a nursery for life, and thus economic and nutritional benefit as women can collect clams and oysters to sell and eat, and a safe place for fish to lay eggs and thus keep fish populations stable. The expansive root system dissipates wave energy thus minimizing impacts from tsunamis. They prevent coastal erosion (huge issue that comes with our changing change), and many other benefits you can read about online. The women brought drums in their boats and there was much singing and dancing on land and in the boat after. We estimated that we planted 10,000 mangrove propagules. It is a diminishing ecosystem and I'm so grateful for the opportunity to learn about it and help restore it last year as well as this coming year before I finish my service here.

I've done other tree planting work since my job is agroforestry, mostly cashew, pigeon pea, and moringa, as well as thorny species for live fencing. Always working with community members, women in the gardens or men in the fields/orchards.

I recently participated in a mudstove training, and will be hosting one in my community to teach people how to build them and why. We'll make two for my family's kitchen. Most women here cook over open fires. Breathing in smoke is of course unhealthy, and the open fire leads to accidental burns. With a free mudstove, constructed from mixing termite mound clay (they're everywhere), manure (also everywhere), and some dry material like millet stalks, and water, we can make a small stove that traps heat, thus making a healthier and safer cooking environment as well as a more efficient way of cooking due to the higher heat. That means less firewood which means less deforestation. They last about 3 years before a new one would have to be built. The hope is that by training people who consider us fellow community members (albeit strange ones), in the local language, they will continue this and other practices and share them with others long after Peace Corps has left.

Involvement in the discourse of society... Again due to my unique position I get to do this every day just talking to people and breaking stereotypes they have about toubabs (White people/Westerners) as they mainly only have experience with less culturally sensitive seasonal tourists, mainly Europeans. Just greeting someone in their own language goes such a long way. It's a big responsibility sometimes when they ask about harder topics like America, how it's better there, there's money there and none here, what do I think of President Trump, etc...

Hopefully I'll have made some positive lasting impacts on people before my time here is up this November. I know my mere presence here and semi-decent language abilities is seen as a positive thing and often pleasantly surprises people and breaks down their immediate and understandable stereotyping of Westerners.

"On this journey the traveler abideth in every land and dwelleth in every region. In every face, he seeketh the beauty of the Friend; in every country he looketh for the Beloved. He joineth every company, and seeketh fellowship with every soul, that haply in some mind he may uncover the secret of the Friend, or in some face he may behold the beauty of the Loved One."
Baha'u'llah, The Valley of Search
 
Likes: jimhabegger
Jan 2012
719
China
#83
@PherJVv I'm just sitting here basking in the light of your post ... my head leaning on one hand, wondering how such a wonderful thing like this could be happening to me. I'll just be sitting here for a while, immersed in the peace and joy that I'm feeling.

(later) You gave me everything I was wishing for, and more ... I was wondering how to bring my heart to the right place for this, and you did that for me.
 
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Jan 2012
719
China
#84
@Pete in Panama I think now that I might have misunderstood what you wanted to do in this thread. I'll try to explain what I'm thinking of doing, to see if that's okay with you. I"m thinking of it now above all as a way for me to try to better understand and practice what Baha'u''llah, Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi mean by "consultation." My ideas about that have been rapidly evolving, and I'm still a little dizzy, but I'll post some of my thoughts about it now. As I'm seeing it now, the purpose of consultation would be to agree on some action or plan of action for some goal or vision, or to help solve some problem. That could be a plan of action for one, some or all of us; or for Baha'is; or for Baha'is with other people; or it could different plans of action for different people. There is already a plan of action, from the House of Justice, for Baha'is to work on together, which I see as the best of all ways for people to work together to address climate change and every other global issue, and I think that following that plan is the only sure way to address those issues with the least amount of adverse side effects. There was also a Seven Year Plan of Action from the Baha'i International Community, and there is a UN-sponsored Sustainable Development Agenda. Studying those might be a good starting point for a plan of action for Baha'is to work on with with other people. If we consult about a plan of action for Baha'is to work on together, or for us to work on with other people, it's possible that we might come up with some ideas for improving those plans, that we could submit to the House of Justice, the Baha'i International Community or the UN, but to practice consultation I would rather consult about a plan of action for one or more of us. For now I'll be thinking of it as consulting on a plan of action for me.

What I see our scriptures saying about consultation includes some conditions and requirements for the spirit and the qualities that we bring to it, for our personal relationships with each other and with God, and for the way that we're living our lives. I have no hope of ever living up to all that perfectly, myself. I can only hope that the more I try to live up to it, the better the results will be. I'll be praying, studying and meditating now, for that purpose.
 
Sep 2012
359
Panama
#85
@Pete in Panama I think now that I might have misunderstood what you wanted to do in this thread. I'll try to explain what I'm thinking of doing, to see if that's okay with you..
Last Tuesday I'd had the impression that nobody wanted to consult about anything so I just kind of faded away, but now checking in I noticed that a lot's changed as of yesterday. I'm now going to print out the last few pages and go over everything so I can get up to speed.

Everyone's got stories about all the hurt they've gotten from some other Baha'i, and a lot of us can go into super detail about why their hurt's so much more significant than ours. My thinking is that things are changing and that the professional victims are getting a lot less milage w/ their stories, that our world Baha'i community is not what we had in decades past. My thinking is that we're all a lot more careful about backbiting, about campaigning for administrative posts, which faction our ideology matches w/, --and my thinking is that at long last we can consult.

Help me out if I'm missing something but my understanding is that consulting is how we solve a problem, develop a plan, or answer a question as a group. It means

--we're searching for the truth,
--we're all looking at the facts for the first time,
--nobody has ideology or conclusions that their married to,
--every thought offered to the group becomes property of the group and together the group can love it or hate it and the idea giver is fine w/ that.

Years past these ideals were well know but practiced in the breach --but like I said, I honestly think things are different now. Pse give me a day to go over everyone's posts and then let's get our heads together.

--
 
Jan 2012
719
China
#86
Help me out if I'm missing something but my understanding is that consulting is how we solve a problem, develop a plan, or answer a question as a group. It means

--we're searching for the truth,
--we're all looking at the facts for the first time,
--nobody has ideology or conclusions that their married to,
--every thought offered to the group becomes property of the group and together the group can love it or hate it and the idea giver is fine w/ that.
It looks to me like you might be missing a lot, including a lot of what's most important to know about consulting. I'm only saying that because you asked.
 
Sep 2010
4,508
Normanton Far North Queensland
#87
- “Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá”, (Haifa: Bahá’í World Centre, 1982), sec. 39, p. 81

I'm not posting that to preach. I'm posting it because of the possibilities I see in it, and that others might see in it. I'm not claiming to be able to live up to that, myself, but I'm hoping that it isn't all or nothing. Maybe if some of us are able to live up to that to some degree some of the time, then this gathering might exert some influence on some part of the earth; and the nature of our little band, the words we speak, the deeds we do might unleash some of the bestowals of Heaven. I'll just keep praying and praying for it to happen, and remembering the verse from scripture that I want to keep in mind, and what I've been reading about consultation, and my list of ideas to practice in Internet discussions. For the emotions of the Kingdom I'll be reading "From the sweet-scented streams ..."
Wonderful quote. Shoghi Effendi said the same thing about when science will progress. It will need a unity of mind and purpose.

Regards Tony
 
May 2018
111
New Zealand
#88
Duane has provided an excellent summary of the events and scientific findings which lead up to the scientific consensus that human activity is contributing to climate change over on his new thread ..
 
Likes: jimhabegger
Jan 2012
719
China
#89
@PherJVv One of the prayers I’ve been saying is “O God! Refresh and gladden my spirit. Your post did that for me, so much that I was lying on my bed, sobbing, for a while.

@Pete in Panama I’m thinking that you and I might not even agree on the kind of consultation that we want to practice. If that’s true, it doesn’t mean to me that it won’t do any good, or that it will do harm. Just that there might be some differences between what you’re trying to do, and what I’m trying to do, in this discussion. I might be able to include what you’re trying to do in what I’m trying to do, following your lead, so I’d like to see how well I understand what you’re trying to do.
The discourse in which we're called to participate is all around us and can (and should) appear here also.
►describe the problem​
►get the facts​
►study the guidance​
►share thoughts with​
detachment​
►pray​
►act​
You also said that in your understanding consultation is a way for us to solve a problem, develop a plan, or answer a question as a group. To you that means:
--we're searching for the truth,
--we're all looking at the facts for the first time,
--nobody has ideology or conclusions that their married to,
--every thought offered to the group becomes property of the group and together the group can love it or hate it and the idea giver is fine w/ that.
It looks to me like you might be thinking of this discussion as a way of participating in the discourses of society. Is that right? It looks to me also like you’re hoping for some or all of us to reach a new agreement about something. Is there anything in particular that you would like that agreement to be about? For example, would you like to try to reach an agreement on something for some or all of us to say about climate change, in Internet discussions?

If your purpose is for all of us to agree on what the problem is and what other people need to do about it, I don’t see any possibility whatsoever for that to happen, even if we all lived up perfectly to the conditions and requirements for consultation in our scriptures. Even so, I’m willing to try whatever ideas you have, for that to happen.

(edit)Not only do I not see any possibility for us all to agree on what the problem is in relation to climate change, and what other people need to do about it, I would not want that to happen.(end edit)
 
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