Green Acre Bahá'í School, Eliot, Maine, August 21 to 23
I had a refreshing visit to Green Acre Bahá'í School in Eliot, Maine.
The program I attended was Alternative Energy - Material and Spiritual, led by Larry Staudt, director of the Center for Renewable Energy at Dundalk Institute of Technology, Ireland.
I am very interested in the connection between environmental protection and faith because I think the change in behavior required to protect our environment is motivated by a fundamental change in values: religious, spiritual, and secular. I am encouraged by the number of faith communities working for environmental sustainability.
Larry drew many parallels between the spiritual and material worlds as levels of one creation. Baha'is view their collective purpose as carrying forward an ever advancing civilization, and in order to do that, of course, we must sustain and protect our environment for future generations and all of the world's cultures. We also talked about the independent investigation of truth and the importance of scientific investigation and study.
In addition to spending time discussing the spiritual realm, we also talked about sustainable energy technology. Larry was instrumental in installing the world's first large commercial wind turbine located on a college campus at Dundalk Institute of Technology, which provides half the electricity for the campus. We also talked about the particulars of a passive solar home, using Larry and Dawn's home as an example.
I met many new friends at Green Acre, we formed instant connections because of our common values and our interest in protecting the environment. We shared a lot of discussion and a lot of laughter. I had a wonderful time learning, discussing, meditating, and absorbing the spiritual energies of Green Acre.
The Sarah Farmer Inn where I stayed. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá visited Green Acre in 1912. Bahá'ís pray and meditate in the room where he stayed and are inspired by the spiritual energy of his presence.
Interestingly, Swami Vivekananda, credited with bringing Hinduism and Yoga to America, visited Green Acre in 1894. The Boston Vedanta Society, followers of Vivekananda, also had a retreat at Green Acre this weekend. We had several wonderful discussions over meals.
Porch overlooking the Piscataqua River. Sarah Farmer's vision for Green Acre was to focus on "world peace, the equality of women and men, racial unity, and spiritual transformation" (see History of Green Acre). One can only imagine all the discussions held here.
A place to relax