Korean edition of Faith in Conservation
November 10 2016:
ARC's surprise 2002 World Bank best-seller Faith In Conservation: New Approaches to Religions and the Environment has this autumn been translated into Korean, in order "to inspire Korean people to protect the environment through their faith."
It was launched at Mt Odae in South Korea last month (October 2016), at the International Symposium on the Conservation of Religious Forests, a major religious forest conference (the first of its kind in South Korea). The conference was led by the Research Institute for Spiritual Environment (RISE) whose work was partly inspired by ARC's example.
RISE was established last year at Korea University in Seoul by landscape architecture expert Professor Sim Woo-Kyung. In addition to training specialists from all over the world on the landscaping and conservation of spiritual environments, the intention is to work with major religions in South Korea and China on environmental projects related to wildlife, forest, sustainable development, values, and youth education.
The book, Faith in Conservation by
Martin Palmer and Victoria Finlay, shows how religions are increasingly
partnering with the environmental and development movements in order to make
this world a better place for all life. It also contains some marvellous and intriguing stories.
These include how the dynamite fishing in Kenya was finally stopped, the tale of the Prophet Muhammad and the river, and how a Hindu myth of Krishna and the serpent became the story that protected a huge modern river.
"Faiths are the oldest institutions in the world and possess wisdom about
how to live and how to keep hope alive, which we need to hear and respect," said then
World Bank President James D. Wolfensohn when the book was first launched . "So it is very natural for us to work
with religious institutions and leaders.
||Mount Odaesan National Park is home to more than 3,700 species
The engagement from all sides is one
charged with potential and also energized by differences. "These are ideas and
possibilities that may well be new to many in the world of development and
economics, but, as I know from personal experience, they do work."
BackgroundIn 1995, Prince Philip launched a new non-governmental organization, the
Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC), dedicated to assisting and
enlarging this work. When each of the participating faiths was asked which
contemporary secular phenomenon they felt could be most important in helping, or
hindering, the work of the faiths on the environment, two came out clearly: the
mass media, and modern economic thinking, embodied for many of the faiths in the
modus operandi of the World Bank. The World Bank was represented at that launch
and has been engaged with the ARC ever since.
The 11 faiths represented by the ARC range from Buddhism to Hinduism, from
Islam to Judaism, and from Shintoism to Sikhism. They own around 7 percent of
the habitable surface of the planet, they have a role in 54 percent of all
schools, and their institutional share of the investment market is in the range
of 6 to 8 percent.
The book"After a century of unprecedented persecutions, religions are returning to
the public arena in many countries. Where they have been deliberately
marginalized in the past they are getting back their schools, their farms, even
their political voice," emphasized Martin Palmer, Secretary General of ARC.
"Some of this return is happening in disturbing ways, in the form of
fundamentalism and even terrorism. But there is another story. This book,
Faith in Conservation, is an attempt to show how the vast majority of
religious movements are returning as potential forces for good. And to show how
religions and the secular society around them can and have to work together as
partners, to make the world a better place."
While the world's major religions have been, until recently, relatively
voiceless in the environmental debate, it is being shown that they can represent
a very powerful voice for environmental stewardship. As this book demonstrates,
the faiths can bring their many billions of investment dollars, as well as their
traditions of storytelling, celebration, practice, spiritual guidance, activism
and advocacy, in order to be powerful partners in a wide range of conservation
Read the book in EnglishDownload the shorter updated version in English.
Read the preface.
Download the full document as a 13MB pdf from the World Bank or as a text file (apologies for the poor reconstruction of the cover)
order a copy of the book