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Climate Change, Global Pollution, Biodiversity: Can We Turn the Corner?

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To overcome our environmental crises, we need to rethink our human purpose, our economy and our systems of governance, with young people in the lead.

Find out more about this important topic during a talk by Dr Arthur Dahl, who studied at Stanford University, worked as a senior official of UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme), was involved in drafting Agenda 21 for the Rio Earth Summit and coordinated UN Earthwatch. He is also president of the Bahá’í-inspired International Environment Forum.

Our multiple environmental crises including climate change, biodiversity loss and global pollution are all driven by the failing economic and governance systems of our materialistic consumer society. In a world of extreme inequality, it is the affluent who are most responsible. Only a transformation in values redefining our higher human purpose can set us individually and collectively on the path to building a more just and sustainable society.

From the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment, where he represented the Baha’i International Community, to Stockholm+50 in 2022, environmental scientist Dr. Arthur Lyon Dahl ( has devoted his life to the scientific, institutional and spiritual changes that are needed. Inspired by coral reef ecology and a decade advising remote Pacific Island countries, he helped to draft Agenda 21 for the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, became a senior official of the United Nations Environment Programme, coordinated the UN System-wide Earthwatch, and won the prestigious New Shape Prize in 2018 for proposals on global governance.

As president of the International Environment Forum ( and advisor to the Global Governance Forum (, he is working on the positive transformations that can give hope in the future. His books include “The Eco Principle: Ecology and Economics in Symbiosis”, “In Pursuit of Hope: A Guide for the Seeker” and most recently, co-authored with Augusto Lopez-Claros and Maja Groff, “Global Governance and the Emergence of Global Institutions for the 21st Century”, Cambridge University Press (2020).

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This talk is part of the Cambridge University Bahá'í Society series.

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