From Field to Plate...


Sunday, December 21, 2014 @ 11:12 AM
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The lessons learned in my 75 years boil down to two quotations. The first, I think, is credited to Winston Churchill as the shortest graduation speech in history:

“Never, ever, ever, ever, ever give up.”

The second quotation I learned when I attended the Fifth International Symposium on Spirituality & Business: Transforming Business & Uplifting the Human Spirit: Leadership in Challenging Times, March 20-22, 2002, Hosted by Babson College, Wellesley, Massachusetts.

Concerning all acts of initiative and creation,
there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which
kills countless ideas and splendid plans;
that the moment one definitely commits oneself,
Providence moves, too.

All sorts of things occur to help one,
that would otherwise never have occurred.
A whole stream of events issue from the decision,
raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and
meetings and material assistance, which no person could
have dreamed would have come his or her way.

Are you in earnest?
Seize this very minute!
Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it!
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.

Wolfgang Goethe

In practical terms we must never, ever, ever, ever, ever give up trying to live according to the Golden Rule – to treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves. Every religion has its own version of the Golden Rule which is thus the silver thread connecting all religions. We also need to refer back to the Stanford Research Institute presentation of Seven Tomorrows, mentioned in the Overview. We are now well and truly in the age of misery, where the handful of powerful and influential are amassing tremendous wealth at the expense of those without the basic requirements for life. The root cause is the world’s financial system whereby the banks create money out of nothing and lend it to the masses at interest, creating great wealth for the banks and outrageous bonuses for their employees while those outside the system face ever increasing prices without a corresponding increase in income. The solution is to live within our means and extricate ourselves from the power the banks have over us. It seems that we have not moved forward since the time of Charles Dickens: “Annual income 20 pounds; annual expenses 19 pounds 19 shillings and sixpence – happiness; annual expenses 20 pounds and sixpence – unhappiness.”

To save ourselves everyone has to change direction instantaneously like a flock of birds. Whether we are Christian, Moslem, Hindu, Buddhist, Jew, Bahá’í, or agnostic, most of would agree there is only one God. Most of us would accept the Golden Rule as a sound basis for conducting ourselves in a sustainable manner. The moment we definitely commit ourselves to the Golden Rule as individuals, as businesses, and as nations, then Providence will move, too.

We also have to take account of the fact that the Brookings Institute tells us that world population might reach 10 billion as early as 2030, of whom half are likely to be middle class – an increase of 3 billion middle class in 20 years – putting tremendous pressure on all resources. We have two choices: business as usual which will result in resource wars or to adopt a radically new level of thinking as proposed by Bahá’u’lláh, founder of the Bahá’í Faith:

“Blessed and happy is he that ariseth to promote the best interests of the peoples and kindreds of the earth. It is not for him to pride himself who loveth his own country, but rather for him who loveth the whole world. The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens.”


Saturday, December 20, 2014 @ 08:12 PM
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Only justice, fairness, consideration and cooperation can finally lead men to the dawn of eternal peace.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
“Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in, and center your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements.”
Shoghi Effendi

“O Ye rich ones on Earth! The poor in your midst are My trust; guard ye My trust, and be not intent only on your own ease.”

I am trying to be a Bahá’í because:
I now understand that I have been created to know God and to worship God.
I now understand that my mission in life is to contribute to an ever-advancing civilization.
I now understand that the trials I have experienced in my life have been for my spiritual growth.
To create an ever-advancing civilization requires knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.
The sources of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom are science and religion.
Up till now humanity has used either religion or science.
From now on humanity has to use both science and religion working harmoniously together.
The trials that humanity has suffered during its long history and especially during the 20th century have been for its spiritual growth.
The mission of the Bahá’í Faith is the spiritual conquest of the entire planet.
The mission of the Bahá’í Faith is also to have religions agree and to make the nations one so that all may see each other as one family and the whole earth as one home in which we all live together in perfect harmony.
When I left university in 1961 I wanted to leave the world a better place by following the conventional path but found, on retirement, that all I had done was make the rich richer and the poor poorer.
In retirement my goal is still to leave the world a better place but as I cannot do it on my own I have chosen to work with the Bahá’ís as they are at the forefront of building a new civilization that has the potential to last longer than any prior civilization.
The Bahá’í Faith has absorbed the lessons of history and the weaknesses within past civilizations and within humans and has provided very clear guidelines how to overcome those weaknesses as the basis for the new civilization.
The Bahá’í system of management is equal to or better than the best of global corporations in its vision of a civilization that will allow heaven to be built on earth, its mission of spiritualizing the planet through service to humanity, its planning, its organization, its outstanding leadership, its philosophy of participatory management through consultation while retaining firm central control, and its updated strategic plan every few years.
To establish the Kingdom of God in the world, it must first be established in the hearts of men. To be a Bahá’í means to love all the world, to love humanity and try to serve it; to work for universal peace and universal brotherhood, and to struggle to be as perfect as possible.
The Bahá’í worships not the human personality of Bahá’u’lláh, but the glory of God manifest through that personality. He reverences Christ and Muhammad and all God’s former Messengers to mankind, but he recognizes Bahá’u’lláh as the bearer of God’s Message for the new age in which we live, as the Great World teacher who has come to carry on and consummate the work of His predecessors.
The Bahá’í will on no account force his ideas on those who do not wish to hear them. He will attract people to the Kingdom of God, not try to drive them into it.
The fundamental principle enunciated by Bahá’u’lláh is that Religious truth is not absolute but relative, that Divine Revelation is a continuous and progressive process, that all the great religions of the world are divine in origin, that their basic principles are in complete harmony, that their aims and purposes are one and the same, that their teachings are but facets of one truth, that their functions are complementary, that they differ only in the non-essential aspects of their doctrines and that their missions represent successive stages in the spiritual evolution of human society.
The Bahá’ís with whom I have worked in Greece, especially the youth, are full of joy and radiance and optimistic about the long-term future, although they know that we will pass through hard times in the near-future. They are deadly serious in their mission of spiritualizing their local community through service but are also fun to be with.


Friday, December 19, 2014 @ 07:12 AM
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A statement in the Technological Museum of Thessaloniki
I have been haunted by a statement in the Technological Museum of Thessaloniki quoted from the report by the United Nations Economic and Social Council 5th meeting of the Africa Committee on Sustainable Development held in Addis Ababa 22-25 October 2007: “If land degradation continues at the current pace, it is projected that more than a half of cultivated area in Africa could be unusable by the year 2050 and the region may be able to feed just 25% of its population by 2025.” “In the two northern regions of Ghana severely hit by soil degradation, it is estimated that malnutrition among children increased from 50% in 1986 to 70% in 1990.” Land degradation has continued since that report was issued as each year when there is a strong wind from the south Greece is covered with sand blown up from Africa.

I have a dream #1
I have a dream that Ghana initially, and then every country in Africa, should have a Bahá’í-inspired agricultural-industrial school along the lines of the American Farm School in Thessaloniki in which students would be taught all the skills to ensure that land degradation ceases and all the skills required for agricultural sustainability and self-sufficiency in good, nutritious food. The industrial curriculum would incorporate all the skills required to make a community of the 21st century self-sustaining, including energy independence from fossil fuel sources.

I have a dream #2
President Roosevelt’s four essential freedoms We have been given guidance by President Roosevelt in his four essential freedoms on which the New World must be founded: the first is freedom of speech and expression – everywhere in the world. The second is freedom of every person to worship his Creator in his own way, everywhere in the world. The third is freedom from want of the basic essentials of life. The fourth is freedom from care – meaning a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against a neighbor or another country, anywhere in the world. But that is not enough. I also dream that the continent of Africa will be united under one moral code, that the chasm between the rich and the poor will be closed, that religious strife will cease, that prejudice will be eliminated, and that spiritual values will play an equal role in society to material/technological values.

I have a dream #3
I have a dream that the continent of Africa embraces the Buddha’s ideology of making it obligatory for every able-bodied person to plant and see to the establishment of one tree a year, five years running and extending this to include the reclamation of the Sahara Desert as described by Richard St. Barbe Baker in his book My Life My Trees.

Then I will have made a contribution to leaving the world a better place
If I live long enough to see these three dreams on the way to fulfillment, I can take my leave feeling that I have made a contribution to leaving the world a better place.

Nelson Mandela
The continent of Africa has been given a fabulous start by South Africa’s example through Nelson Mandela’s outstanding leadership in practicing what Jesus taught, most notably by forgiving his enemies and building the new country using their education, talents, expertise and experience. What better up-to-date example could we ask for that there is great wisdom in the foundational beliefs of all religions wherever and whenever they happen to have arisen. Religion works and is highly relevant to our world today.


Thursday, December 18, 2014 @ 06:12 AM
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My fifth resolution
To accept the fact that global warming, climate change, and weather extremes are the greatest threat to humanity’s future well-being and to work towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions and climate stabilization.

My sixth resolution
To accept the fact that there are three kinds of people in the world: those propping up the old world order because it has been extremely profitable to the few; those who are active in building a new civilization; and those who do not know what to do. I will join the ranks of those building an ever-advancing civilization.

My seventh resolution
To live within my means, to be as self-reliant as possible and to divorce myself to the greatest extent possible from the gamblers handling the world’s money.

My eighth resolution
To do everything in my power to assist the implementation of the plan to get all the world’s energy from wind, water and solar power by 2030.

My ninth resolution
Whenever possible to buy food and other products from those who have adopted the philosophy of localized, biodiverse ecological agriculture that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, improves biodiversity, soil, and water, so that I help improve the security of the livelihood of my community.

My tenth resolution
To work for the peace and unity of the world

My eleventh resolution
To accept the fact that the ethical standard of my conduct can be improved and to try to incorporate the golden rule into all my thoughts, words and deeds.

My twelveth resolution
I resolved to assign to prayer the same priority in good times as I had in my bad time in hospital. I have found that prayer is my best avenue to working smart. Without a connection to the Divine I had been using only half of the equipment I was endowed with. It had been as though I was going through life with one hand tied behind my back.

My thirteenth resolution
As I grasped the big picture regarding the ills of this world and their solution, I realized that all the great religions have been given the task of educating humanity how to live successfully and sustainably on Planet Earth. I resolved to continue my education until the day I die, to teach the Bahá’í Writings, to incorporate into my life their wisdom and follow the guidance of the Universal House of Justice – the supreme governing body of the Bahá’ís.
My fourteenth resolution
I resolved to live my life in such a manner that I would be a good role model for my children and others with whom I came in contact.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014 @ 12:12 PM
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Key requirements
Ian Chambers and John Humble in Developing A Plan for the Planet: A Business Plan for Sustainable Living, published in 2011, continue with: “To build this plan, there are a number of key requirements:
An understanding of the global challenges and solutions
An understanding of the interconnectivity of the challenges – and both the threats and the opportunities that these interconnectivities provide
An understanding of the key global management practices which can be used to develop and successfully implement a plan of this scope and scale
And finally the involvement, cooperation, commitment and sense of urgency and drive from all stakeholders – international and national governments, business and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), communities and every individual in the community – to drive forward the necessary changes required to deliver our Plan for the Planet and build a sustainable world.”

The five key themes that run through this book
“We are greatly assisted by an understanding of the five key themes that run through this book: Interconnectivity; The stakes are high; A focus on business; Urgency; ‘Together we can’. You are invited to visit the website where you can download the Plan for the Planet Templates to adapt to your own organization, business community and household, keep up to date with developments and access the management effectiveness checklists. These are all located at:” The chapter A Sustainable Civilization summarizes this book and other plans for reaching our goal of creating a sustainable civilization.

My reason for writing this book
Dr Bronowski was a mathematician who was asked to measure the brain size of of the skull of early man. This led to his interest in how man has progressed and created today’s civilization as recorded in The Ascent of Man. There can be valuable cross pollination between disciplines in our over-specialized world. My life transforming experiences led me to review how I have been living my life. This in turn led me to educate myself in new areas, leading me to the same conclusion as reached by Albert Schweitzer before the first world war – that our civilization was in decline and had only a limited life unless it changes its ways. This led to my independent search for the truth and the preparation of a strategic plan for the rest of my life. I offer this manuscript as a starting point for others who may wish to conduct their own independent search for the truth.
My resolutions
Each chapter of the book contributes details of how I arrived at my resolutions about how I will live the rest of my life to fulfill my goal of leaving the world a better place.

My first four resolutions
To no longer be a passive bystander indifferent to the sufferings of others. Indifference is indeed one of the greatest evils that one human can bestow on another. Jesus warned us about the dangers of indifference in his parable of the Good Samaritan.
To judge people, corporations and nations by their deeds and not by their words. For too long I have been fobbed off by people who say one thing but whose hidden agenda is entirely different.
To conduct my own independent search for the truth. Our leaders have become masters of the half-truth or not giving voice to alternative views. The only way to counter this problem is to seek out the real truth that is readily available from a variety of sources.
To be very cautious about those in whom I place my trust. I can manage my life perfectly well dealing only with those who have built up a good, trustworthy reputation over many years.