Saturday, May 8, 2010

MFC Spirit of Sustainability Session 3

MultiFaith Council of N.W. Ohio

This is the final of 3 presentations on the MultiFaith Council of N.W. Ohio’s “Spirit of Sustainability” series. This 3rd program was conceived around the 3rd Earth Charter Principle “Respect and Care for the Community of Life”. Tonight, we featured 2 video presentations about the general concept of Sustainability. The first video was produced by DEFRA- Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs located in Great Britain. DEFRA introduces a definition of sustainable from a broad spectrum involving business, economics, agriculture and housing.

Sustainable Development – The Bigger Picture

The second video featured Dr. John Ikerd, Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Economics, University of Missouri speaking about Ethics, Responsibility and Purpose. Dr. Ikerd relates that sustainability is all about individual choices made everyday…an individual moral crusade for what is right, moral and ethical. Ikerd’s style of presentation takes on the flavor of a charismatic preacher that some may find inspiring.

John Ikerd on Ethics, Responsibility and Purpose

Our live presentation featured Dr. Munir Ahmad, M.D. and Jessica Weinberg from the Dosti Foundation . Dr. Ahmad related the stories of his life growing up in his native country, Pakistan and the poverty still existent there. Dosti Foundation raises funds to fund and maintain educational and vocational schools in Pakistan. Munir also stated that his motivating factors for his involvement in this organization involved a sense of wanting to make a difference, a giving back to those less fortunate that him. Jessica Weinberg is the Public Relations Coordinator for Dosti Foundation and related how individuals interested in supporting Dosti Foundation can contribute.

Dosti Foundation Audio Presentation

Dosti Foundation PowerPoint Presentation

Program Attendee Task Responses

The following are the program participant’s answers to the 3 group discussion questions that followed the presentations.

1.) What things or issues about today’s presentations were most memorable / eye-opening / inspirational?

How one individual can affect things around the world from a local level. Liked the idea of empowerment of local people eliminating the need for persons to actually travel to other countries to make positive change. Liked the idea of the Dosti Foundation emphasis on educating women. Liked the idea that Dosti was not a “top-down” organization but came from the “grass-roots” of the Toledo Area. A clear definition of Sustainability and placing this definition in a “spiritual” perspective was insightful. As demonstrated with the Dosti Foundation, small donations can go very far.

2.) Looking at today’s topic, what do you consider to be the opportunities for our N.W.Ohio locality?

If individuals see a need, to take the step to actually do something – this might involving researching what is presently organized and joining their efforts with your talent. Dosti is a great example of “Thinking Globally – Acting Locally”. Difficulties lay in our present culture that involves finding the time to act. If we provide services, then we avoid problems and when we provide services, we learn about other cultures, people. Organizations could be established to prepare incarcerated persons for life outside prisons. Helping communities one school at a time.

3.) What are the programs you would like to see to address those opportunities?

Possibilities could include contacting political representatives to change our present policies in various countries and support organizations like Dosti. To provide for local school needs, theatre groups, arts groups in the Toledo Area could help provide programs and opportunities to area schools – especially if levies are not passing. Opportunities exist within the capacities of other Communities of Faith to find, reach out and act on local challenges. Older adults could be organized as mentors to area youth. It seems that people are less willing to become involved and therefore a need may be to actively encourage volunteerism. Toledo Grows exists and may be an avenue for personal activism. Support Pen Pals program for Dosti. Local Toledo Area schools could be recruited as “sister schools” with Dosti schools promoting international educational programs using the Internet. Get area schools involved such as the “pajama project”, Perrysburg Festival and other programs to get youth involved. MultiFaith Council members as well as other Communities of Faith could play instrumental roles affecting local, national and international needs.

MultiFaith Council of N.W. Ohio