Stephen A. Fuqua (SAF) is a Bahá'í, software developer, and conservation and interfaith advocate in the DFW area of Texas.

Sam Houston Trail Park - Shorebirds!

September 28, 2014

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Thanks to recent mowing, I was able to access the west-side of the pond at Sam Houston Trail Park in Irving, TX this morning. The pond is drying up – creating a wonderful concentration of aquatic creatures for the the shorebirds to eat. These photos are as good as I can do. Positively identified:

  • American Avocet
  • Snowy Egret
  • Least Sandpiper
  • Stilt Sandpiper (pretty sure, not absolutely sure)
  • Greater Yellowlegs
  • Northern Shoveler
  • Killdeer

I encountered a few more common birds, and just as I was leaving ran into a group of three Lark Sparrows to cap off the muddy morning.

Discourses of Society: Climate Change

September 27, 2014

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Aqueduct-as-garden outside the Mansion of Mazra'eh in Israel. November 2010.

A small group gathered at the Bahá'í Center of Irving last night in our second meeting on the discourses of society, reflecting on climate change. The first meeting in the series was too much of a slide-based lecture, so for this second one we chose two videos and facilitated an open discussion. The conversation was robust, heartfelt, and meaningful – yet in reflection, it raises some key questions about how to have a productive, spiritually-oriented conversation.

Contributing to the Discourses of Society

August 31, 2014

The Bahá'ís of Irving are trying out a concept: on the last Friday of each month, we'll talk about a theme related to the "discourses of society," motivated by passages such as this one, from the Universal House of Justice's 2010 Ridván Letter to the Bahá'ís of the world (p10):

"... involvement in public discourse can range from an act as simple as introducing Bahá'í ideas into everyday conversation to more formal activities such as the preparation of articles and attendance at gatherings, dedicated to themes of social concern - climate change and the environment, governance and human rights, to mention a few. It entails, as well, meaningful interactions with civic groups and local organizations in villages and neighbourhoods."

The August event was the first in the series, and the concept itself was the subject of the evening's presentation.

On Religious Leadership, and the GreenFaith Fellowship

June 15, 2014

An essay submitted as part of my application to the GreenFaith Fellowship Program. Hopefully I put my best foot forward ;-).

There are no clergy in the Bahá'í Faith. There is no seminary, and none can seek a position of leadership based on education, attainment, or station. Its governance is egalitarian and progressively inclusive. And yet it is inaccurate to say there are no leaders.

Summertime Goals: Building Relationships and Developing a Vision

May 25, 2014

Stirring up a grassroots movement is hard work.

Dallas Interfaith Power & Light's steering committee has been working together for about two years now. We've held a number of workshops and dialogues on diverse topics, including: forming a green team, energy efficiency, solar, health impacts of climate change, the value of our park systems, the science of climate change, and more. Perhaps 100-150 people have attended, although our actual signed-in attendance count is 84 across all events.

Continue reading at the Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy.

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"Learning to focus" © 2013, S. Fuqua / T. Homayoun.
Ovenbird at Paradise Pond in Port Aransas, Texas.

A Quick Lesson in Black-Chinned Hummingbird Identification

April 20, 2014

In the east, you have the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird. In the west, there's the Black-Chinned Hummingbird. As with many other east/west divisions in both the animal and plant kingdoms, the two hummers sometimes overlap right here in Dallas county – for example, you can find both of them at Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center at Cedar Hill. Living in northwestern Dallas County, we did not know which to expect when we set out our feeder a few weeks ago. Thus far, it is has been entirely Black-Chinned.

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Click for a larger image

Can We Talk About Climate Change? Pt 1

February 23, 2014

Last weekend, faith communities across the U.S. hosted more than two-hundred events aimed at expanding awareness of the reality of climate change. This was the National Preach-In on Climate Change, sponsored by Interfaith Power & Light. As Co-Chair of Dallas Interfaith Power & Light, I was excited and honored to be able to give a presentation to my own community (Bahá'ís of Irving) and to attend the innovative Preach-Off on Climate Change in Austin. The Bahá'í s of Austin also afforded me an opportunity to give my presentation on Moral Imperatives for Climate Action, from a Bahá'í Perspective, at their Sunday morning devotional program. Hopefully I was able to provide something useful to a few people; I certainly received much from my conversation and participation with people from many faith backgrounds. This will, God-willing, be the first of two blog posts reflecting on the conversations.

A Green Future for Valley Ranch?

February 8, 2014

We got up this morning with merely grudging acceptance of the breakfast we planned on attending – an introduction to the Valley Ranch home owners association and committees, for new home owners. We left the meeting feeling excited and optimistic. We already knew that it was a good, "master planned," neighborhood. Now we feel more confident that it has a bright future as well, one that includes serious water conservation measures, ecological aesthetics, and social opportunities.

It Was All About the Networking at IPL and Physicians for Social Responsibility Event

February 1, 2014

Climate change and air quality were the unifying concerns at this past week's Dallas Interfaith Power & Light (IPL) meeting, held at White Rock United Methodist Church in Dallas on January 9. Our guest speakers, from Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), attracted an eclectic group of people from many organizations - attended by active members of IPL itself, the Sierra Club, Downwinders at Risk, Frac Dallas, and Americans for Nonsmokers's Rights. Each of us, from slightly different perspectives, are concerned about the damage we are doing to our selves and each other from continued pollution of substances such as mercury, CO, organic compounds, and CO2.

Continue reading at dallasinterfaith.org

Urban Gardening and Agriculture - What Is It?

September 15, 2013

Urban gardening and agriculture in public spaces are becoming accepted as potent means for personal transformation, small-scale economic activity, and for larger-scale climate mitigation and adaptation. This week, Dallas Interfaith Power & Light will be touring the East Dallas Promise of Peace community garden at White Rock United Methodist Church – built, of all places, on top of an unused parking lot! Based on the early feedback, we expect this will be the first of many opportunities to tour community gardens in the ambit of sacred spaces. Likewise, this will be the first of several blog posts on the subject.

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