A Cry From My Heart

Tardigrades are also known as ‘water bears’ or ‘moss piglets’ - Wikipedia

Scientists have succeeded in bringing a frozen animal back to life after 30 years, it has been reported.© Wikipedia

Japan’s National Institute of Polar Research says that their scientists have succeeded in reviving the ‘tardigrade’ animal which they had collected in Antarctica.

The creatures, which are known as 'water bears' or 'moss piglets' are miniscule, water dwelling “extremophiles” measuring less than 1mm in length and dwelling in extreme and hostile conditions.

They are capable of slowing down or shutting down their metabolic activities for considerable periods of time.

Gallery: The longest-living animals on the planet (Espresso)

1 of 21 Photos in Gallery©Wikimedia Commons

The longest-living animals on the planet

When it comes to animal longevity we often think of the turtle, but did you know that sharks and mollusks, for example, can live for hundreds of years? Here are 20 record-breaking, death-defying animals.

According to the research, which was published in Cryobiology magazine, the tardigrades were found among moss plants in the Antarctica in 1983. They were removed and stored at minus 20 degrees Celsius. They were successfully unfrozen in May 2014.

An egg and a living animal were revived. The latter began moving and consuming food after a fortnight. The egg laid a total of 19 eggs, of which 14 successfully hatched. No defects or anomalies were reported amongst the hatched newborns.

Previously, tardigrades had been successfully revived after nine years, but this is thought to be the first ever instance of successful revival after 30 years.

Writing in the research publication, the authors noted: “The present study extends the known length of long-term survival in tardigrade species considerably… Further more detailed studies using quantitative analysis with greater replication under a range of controlled conditions will improve understanding of mechanisms and conditions underlying the long-term preservation and survival of animals.”

Nature Breifings

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My Organic Farm

Advertisements Support My Organic Farm Tuesday 03 November 2020, getting a little help from our friends Ian and Rosabeth Breuser Due to the effect COVID 19 is having on the hospitality industry, the KHATTS team has been unemployed since March 2020, times are very challenging for us, presently we are in survival mode trying to […]

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Unity

Advertisements The Vision Of Race Unity America’s Most Challenging Issue A Statement by the National Spiritual Assembly ofthe Bahá’ís of the United States. To learn more about the Baha’i Faith please visit http://www.bahai.org/ Racism is the most challenging issue confronting America. A nation whose ancestry includes every people on earth, whose motto is E pluribus unum, […]

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“A significant experience in our country”: Faith leaders in the UAE foster coexistence, build unified vision

To read the story online or view more photos, visit news.bahai.org.

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, 22 July 2021 , (BWNS) — A unique forum initiated by the Bahá’ís of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is allowing religious leaders of the country to go beyond building mutual respect to fostering coexistence and unity of vision on questions of common concern.

The forum was established at the outset of the pandemic as a space for representatives of the diverse religious communities of the UAE to pray for the well-being of the people of their country, but quickly evolved to become a means for religious leaders to explore the role of religion in contributing to the material and spiritual progress of society in tangible terms.

“What has made these gatherings remarkable is that participants consult together about how they can stimulate further discussions within their faith communities to build unity of thought and to support collective endeavors that contribute to the betterment of our society,” says Roeia Thabet, representative of the Bahá’ís of the country.

She continues: “We also explore profound concepts and themes related to social transformation and reflect on how religion can inspire action among larger groups of people.”

At a recent gathering focused on the Bahá’í principle of the equality of women and men, a participant stated: “All of us, as religious leaders, have a significant role in shaping the culture of true understanding of equality between men and women.”

In a paper prepared for the discussion and distributed to participants, the Bahá’ís of the UAE highlighted that equality between women and men is an aspect of human reality and not just a condition to be achieved for the common good.

The paper reads in part: “The search for meaning, for purpose, for community; the capacity to love, to create, to persevere, has no gender. Such an assertion has profound implications for the organization of every aspect of human society. That which makes human beings human—their inherent dignity and nobility—is neither male nor female.”

This and other themes examined over the past year are part of an overarching conversation on coexistence in Emirati society, a discourse that has gained significant prominence in recent years not only in the UAE but in the whole Arab region.

“This group has raised the bar on coexistence and tolerance by bringing everyone of different religions together and commencing valuable discussions,” says Ashis Barua, representative of the country’s Buddhist community. Referring to the unified spirit of the gatherings, Mr. Barua continues: “It is truly rare… in our lifetime.”

Dr. Thabet of the Bahá’í community describes the strong bonds of friendship that have been fostered among the participants: “We have become much closer through these gatherings, sitting together for hours with real focus on how to foster greater coexistence in society and promote the welfare of communities. This kind of dialogue among leaders of different faiths is a significant experience in our country.”


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New Canadian parliamentary caucus looks at religion’s role in society

To read the story online or view more photos, visit news.bahai.org.

OTTAWA, Canada, 29 June 2021, (BWNS) — In a rare dialogue about the role of faith in governance, Canadian parliamentarians and representatives of the country’s religious communities recently held the inaugural meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Interfaith Caucus—a new space to explore how principles and insights from religion can contribute to thinking about the challenges facing the country.

“I believe that religion defines who we are and what we value, and that democracy, which is a vehicle by which we inform change, is often guided by these values,” said Mobina Jaffer, a member of the Canadian Senate.

The recently formed all-party caucus is open to members of Canada’s elected House of Commons and appointed Senate and is organized with the support of the Canadian Interfaith Conversation (CIC), of which the Bahá’í Community of Canada is a member.

“The pandemic has produced new kinds of dialogue between government and religious communities,” said Geoffrey Cameron of the Canadian Bahá’í Office of Public Affairs. “It has made leaders more conscious of the important role religion continues to play in inspiring people to serve their society.”

Stockwell Day, former MP and cabinet minister, spoke about the power of religion to bring comfort and hope, especially in times of crisis. “The very notion of religion in our society gives us a sense that there is restraint on a leader, and that there should be some sense of humility at the possibility that there is a bigger force out there than himself or herself, or the group to which they associate.”

He continued: “If individuals have a sense of religion—that there is something greater than ourselves—that brings a sense of solace.

“And so we imagine this spread over millions of citizens within a political setting, a significant portion of whom believe there is actually a power of God out there, [who] are living with a greater sense of respect and, we would hope, love for one another.”

Participants emphasized that beyond personal inspiration, religion can make important contributions to the policymaking process. 

Member of Parliament Garnett Genuis said, “There are two concepts that are of supreme importance in religion: one is love and another is truth. And those two concepts have to go together. If you have love but no sense of truth, then … you’re not understanding what is really going on or what someone’s real needs are. And if you have a sense of the pursuit of truth, but no love in the process, that’s also clearly deficient… Love means being willing to confront serious injustice.”

Speaking with the News Service about the future of the all-party interfaith caucus, Dr. Cameron of the Bahá’í Office of Public Affairs states: “There is a need to foster new relationships among policymakers and faith communities and to frame conversations such that people can collectively advance in their thinking by exploring productive lines of inquiry, rather than framing every issue as a binary choice.”“Underlying the contributions of the Office to the discourse on the role of religion in society,” he continued, “is the Bahá’í principle of the essential oneness of humanity. This caucus, although in its very early stages, is an expression of that principle and an example of greater societal unity.”

A path toward a unified America

June 16, 2021 Share

Podcast: A path toward a unified America

The centenary of the first race amity conference held by the American Bahá’í community was marked by a three-day symposium exploring racial unity and social change.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — One hundred years ago, in May, the first race amity conference in the United States was held in Washington, D.C., by the American Bahá’í community, a defining moment on the path toward racial unity in the country.

The description on the program read, in part: “Half a century ago in America slavery was abolished. Now there has arisen need for another great effort in order that prejudice may be overcome. Correction of the present wrong requires no army, for the field of action is the hearts of our citizens.”

To mark the centenary of that historic gathering, the U.S. Bahá’í Office of Public Affairs brought together academics, civil society leaders, and other social actors for a three-day online symposium titled Advancing Together: Forging a Path Toward a Just, Inclusive and Unified Society.

SLIDESHOW
6 imagesPanelists of a three-day online symposium held by the U.S. Bahá’í Office of Public Affairs titled Advancing Together: Forging a Path Toward a Just, Inclusive and Unified Society.

“For those of us gathered here today, we are conscious that we are engaged in a process aimed at profound organic change in the very structure of society,” said P.J. Andrews of the Office at the gathering.

“The change required to create justice in the country,” he continued, “is not only social and economic but moral and spiritual.”

The latest episode of the Bahá’í World News Service podcast provides highlights from the symposium at which panelists discussed topics including the role of language in fostering a sense of shared identity, the relationship between truth and justice, and the need to address systemic changes in efforts toward social justice.

SLIDESHOW

6 images The discussions at the symposium looked at experiences of the U.S. Bahá’í community in fostering collaboration and strong bonds of friendship among people of diverse backgrounds in neighborhoods across the country. Some of these efforts are pictured here.

Woven throughout the conversations at the gathering was the spiritual principle of the essential oneness of humanity. Drawing on the Bahá’í teachings, May Lample, also of the Bahá’í Office of Public Affairs, stated: “Any movement that seeks to eradicate all forms of racism from our society has to be predicated on a notion that all human beings are in their essence the same, that they are deserving of dignity, that they possess unique skills and abilities, and that they are worthy of safety and security.

“And without an understanding of our oneness and interconnectedness our differences appear too vast, rather than adding necessary and valuable complexity and beauty to our lives.”

This symposium was part of an ongoing contribution of the Bahá’í Office of Public Affairs in the United States to the discourse on race unity. Recordings of discussions at the symposium can be viewed here.

Shift in agricultural systems necessary for sustainability, says BIC

June 8, 2021Share

BIC BRUSSELS — Each year, tens of thousands of people from Africa travel to Europe to work alongside a declining national agricultural workforce on farms in EU member states in an industry that is increasingly becoming dependent on migrant seasonal workers.

When the pandemic disrupted international travel in April 2020, the spring harvest throughout Europe was thrown into jeopardy, revealing the extent of the EU’s reliance on seasonal workers and their difficult living conditions. Additionally, the pandemic has brought renewed attention to economic crises, the loss of land by farmers, and other factors that are driving people to leave rural areas in Africa.

“The way that agricultural affairs are organized is not sustainable or equitable, be it in Europe, Africa, or anywhere else in the world. There are fundamental questions that need to be closely examined in the light of principles such as the oneness of humanity,” said Rachel Bayani of the Brussels Office of the Bahá’í International Community (BIC) at an online seminar held by the Office last Wednesday.

The gathering is part of a seminar series, co-hosted by the Brussels Office and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), which brings together policymakers, academics, and civil society organizations from Europe and Africa to explore the relationship between agriculture, rural sustainability, and migration, particularly in the context of partnerships between the two regions.

SLIDESHOW
4 imagesPanelists of the most recent seminar in a series held by BIC Brussels and the FAO. The seminar focused on the viability of the EU’s agricultural sector and the need for rethinking production systems.

Rodrigo de Lapuerta, Director at the Liaison Office in Brussels of the FAO, spoke about the novel approach of the seminars: “FAO estimates that 80% of all moves involve rural areas. Migration and rural transformation, with the sustainability of agri-food systems, are totally interrelated. However, I do not think these two issues have often been treated jointly.”

Attendees at the gatherings have highlighted different aspects of the links between migration and agriculture. “Many factors influence why and how people migrate from rural areas... [but] it is essential that this migration is done out of choice, rather than necessity,” said Mr. Ola Henrickson, Regional Director at the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

A particular focus of the most recent seminar was on the viability of EU’s agricultural sector and the need for rethinking production systems. 

“We have to remember that our food security depends on the respect of our agri-food workers’ rights,” said Maximo Torero Cullen, the FAO’s Chief Economist, at a recent gathering. “The pandemic has shown us how indispensable migrants are… but it has also rightfully put the spotlight on the poor working and living conditions in the [agricultural] sector and the invisibility of these workers.”

SLIDESHOW
4 images

Dr. Torero Cullen and other participants emphasized that policies of African and European states and regional bodies aimed at building sustainable food and agriculture systems need to put at the center the interests, safety, and well-being of agricultural workers.

“Many EU Member States frame their seasonal worker schemes primarily in terms of meeting labor-market needs at home,” said Camille Le Coz of the Migration Policy Institute of Europe. But she highlighted that some countries are looking at other approaches, including framing migration policies around “co-development”—creating arrangements that are beneficial to the sending and receiving countries as well as the workers themselves.

Reflecting on the gathering, Mrs. Bayani states: “Our current economic and agricultural systems and their implications for migration, the environment, nutrition, and livelihoods need to be closely examined. The Bahá’í teachings offer insights that can be helpful in this conversation: that the question of economics should begin with the farmer, because the farmer ‘is the first active agent in human society.’ This idea can allow us to explore possibilities for different ways to look at production systems.”

SLIDESHOW
4 imagesImages of agricultural initiatives of the Bahá’í community in (clockwise from left) Colombia, Uganda, and Nepal to strengthen local agriculture.

She continues: “The issues discussed at these seminars reflect only some of the profound questions before humanity. The Bahá’í teachings envisage that every element of society, including economic relations, will have to undergo a profound transformation in the light of the essential principle of the oneness of humanity.”

Future seminars over the coming months will continue to look at agriculture and migration, focusing on topics such as education and the future of villages.

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Earth Woman

As often as I am reaped of, so often I am replenished
I am drilled, tilled and husbanded
Seeds are placed and nurtured in my bowels
And ………..I give life

I live not for the life I give – Yet I give
And become stronger.
I give not for the love I get – But get and become richer
And I give love

I am virgin, Maiden, mother and mistress of man
I am the unfathomable, indestructible, indispensable
Earth Woman.

Written by Mona George 1980


"O contending peoples and kindreds of the earth! Set your faces towards unity, and let the radiance of its light shine upon you. Gather ye together, and for the sake of God resolve to root out whatever is the source of contention amongst you. There can be no doubt whatever that the peoples of the world, of whatever race or religion, derive their inspiration from one heavenly Source, and are the subjects of one God.

The difference between the ordinances under which they abide should be attributed to the varying requirements and exigencies of the age in which they were revealed. Arise and, armed with the power of faith, shatter to pieces the gods of your vain imaginings, the sowers of dissension amongst you. Cleave unto that which draweth you together and uniteth you.

This, verily, is the most exalted Word which the Mother Book hath sent down and revealed unto you. To this beareth witness the Tongue of Grandeur from His habitation of glory.

Bahá’u’lláh / Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh

"The diversity in the human family should be the cause of love and harmony, as it is in music where many different notes blend together in the making of a perfect chord. If you meet those of different race and color from yourself, do not mistrust them and withdraw yourself into your shell of conventionality, but rather be glad and show them kindness. Think of them as different colored roses growing in the beautiful garden of humanity, and rejoice to be among them.

Likewise, when you meet those whose opinions differ from your own, do not turn away your face from them. All are seeking truth, and there are many roads leading thereto. Truth has many aspects, but it remains always and forever one.Do not allow difference of opinion, or diversity of thought to separate you from your fellowmen, or to be the cause of dispute, hatred and strife in your hearts.Rather, search diligently for the truth and make all your friends. Every edifice is made of many different stones, yet each depends on the other to such an extent that if one were displaced the whole building would suffer; if one is faulty the structure is imperfect"

"What profit is there in agreeing that universal friendship is good, and talking of the solidarity of the human race as a grand ideal? Unless these thoughts are translated into the world of action, they are useless.The wrong in the world continues to exist just because people talk only of their ideals, and do not strive to put them into practice. If actions took the place of words, the world’s misery would very soon be changed into comfort. One who does great good, and talks not of it, is on the way to perfection. One who has accomplished a small good and magnifies it in his speech is worth very little"

Central African republic

BANGUI, Central African Republic, 1 June 2021, (BWNS) — A years-long armed conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR) has disrupted life across the country and displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

In the midst of this crisis, the Bahá’í National Spiritual Assembly has guided the Bahá’ís of the country in their efforts to contribute to social progress, most recently drawing on a network of people engaged in community-building activities to channel assistance where it is most needed.

Speaking with the News Service, Hélène Pathé, member of the National Spiritual Assembly, describes the context in which such initiatives are under way in parts of the country: “The country has faced serious challenges. There are places where people have been severely affected and have had to flee, abandoning their homes and losing their means of making a living. This is the condition in many regions.”

Despite these conditions, the Bahá’ís in these areas have helped to foster resilience and a vibrant community life that has endured through cycles of war. For decades, regular gatherings for prayer have been strengthening bonds of friendship, and Bahá’í educational programs have been developing in children and youth a deep appreciation for the unity of all peoples, races, and religions.

During times of intense conflict, when entire populations have had to abandon their villages, teachers from community schools established with the support of a Bahá’í-inspired organization have sought ways to re-establish programs in temporary locations, explains Mrs. Pathé.

As part of its efforts to further enhance its capacity for responding to crises, the National Spiritual Assembly formed an emergency committee in March. The members of the committee, including Mrs. Pathé, quickly got to work. Within a few weeks they had assembled a team and headed to identified areas to help in person.

Over three days, they drove hundreds of kilometers from Bangui, the capital, to the town of Bambari, stopping in four other towns along the way to provide essentials, such as medicine for water-borne illness, to people who had returned from taking refuge in forest areas. Travel to these communities has been permitted under government health restrictions owing to exceptions for humanitarian efforts.

The emergency committee has worked closely with Bahá’í Local Spiritual Assemblies in coordinating the distribution of relief packages among village residents. “We had prepared as well as we could ahead of time with the information we could get,” says Mrs. Pathé, “but as soon as we arrived in a town, we sat down with the members of the Local Assembly, prayed together, and consulted about the needs, which they knew intimately.”

Young people have been at the forefront of these efforts, says Mrs. Pathé. “The youth were ready to spring into action as soon as the committee called on the community for support. They view this work as an extension of serving their neighborhoods: a contribution to the material and spiritual progress of society.

“They could see how this act of travelling for days to deliver a few necessities to people by hand was not just about addressing an immediate need. Meeting and speaking with people who had been cut off for so long also brought encouragement and helped build ties of unity as all saw that they are not alone in their challenges—like one family, there are others across the country who care for them and  walk with them.”

Two months since its formation, the committee is already thinking about how to address long-term needs, including through projects for local food production.

With the experience it has gained, the committee is now expanding its efforts by contacting many more Bahá’í Local Assemblies throughout the country.“In these relief efforts, we often call to mind ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Who was always attentive to those in need and ever ready to respond,” says Mrs. Pathé. “He never hesitated to offer help. The National Spiritual Assembly hopes and wishes to do the same for the people of our country. What grieves us as a national body is that we can’t cover the whole country. Our efforts so far are only a small start, and we are learning little by little how to reach everyone.”


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