International Network for Conservation and Religion announced
June 25, 2019:
Media Information. June 24, 2019
The International Network for Conservation and Religion
A new International Network for Conservation and Religion is being created to provide information and consultancy support for faith-based environmental projects around the world.
The new organisation, which will be based within The Conservation Foundation’s offices at the Royal Geographical Society, and will launch formally in September 2019, will be supported by the WWF’s Beliefs and Values programme.
It will both continue the work of the Alliance for Religions and Conservation (ARC) and extend The Conservation Foundation’s Faith Works programme.
It will be used by religious leaders, secular environmental project workers, planners, lecturers, academics, students, researchers, politicians, and anybody who understands that there is a spiritual element to environmental protection – whether that is in the motivation to do it or in the means of planning it – and wants to learn more about it or be in contact with other people who feel the same way.
INCR will be managed by Alison Prout, who has dedicated her career to supporting faith-motivated projects and organisations. Alison has worked as a consultant, project manager and senior manager, most recently as the interim Executive Director of the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility.
Alison has a passion for bringing faith values and motivations to work productively in seemingly secular activities. As such she has worked extensively with INGOs, UN Agencies, multilateral institutions and governments. She worked as a partner with ARC on several occasions over the past two decades, including at the Windsor 2009 launch of long-term environment plans by the faiths.
The co-chairs Martin Palmer and David Shreeve have between them a unique knowledge of environmental initiatives undertaken by faith groups and individuals around the world over the past 30 years. They have also both helped guide many of those initiatives.
Martin Palmer co-founded ARC with HRH Prince Philip in 1995, following on from a less formal initiative that started in 1985 and David Shreeve co-founded The Conservation Foundation with David Bellamy in 1982.
Martin is a regular contributor to the BBC on religious, ethical and historical issues. He appears regularly on BBC contributing to programmes including In Our Time, Thought for the Day, Nightwaves, Beyond Belief, Good Morning Sunday (Radio 2) and Songs of Praise. He is co-chair of a joint ARC-UNDP programme on the faiths, climate change and the environment.
David is the environmental advisor to the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England and was awarded a Lambeth degree for his work in encouraging the Church to appreciate its environmental responsibilities.
“In the past 23 years we have seen an incredible rise in the global perception of the importance of religions in environment and conservation programmes,” said Martin Palmer. “That rise in perception has happened right across the board – in NGOs, religious leaders, religious followers, among members of the general public and in governments, which were, with exceptions, the last to get on board.”
“There is work to be done, and there are now many organisations and bodies to do that work. ARC was always going to be a relatively short-time project and we can look back at many highly successful programmes. INCR is an opportunity to use our experience to help with ever growing faith interest in the environment.
“There’s a growing awareness among many people – of faith and of no faith – that there’s a spiritual link between environmental awareness and wellbeing,” David Shreve said.
He said faith groups are making environmental issues much more mainstream in the way they run their buildings, land, schools and financial investments as well as in their teachings. Appreciating that environmental concern is ‘core business’ and fundamental to their beliefs is no longer unusual.
“Our two organisations have built up a unique list of contacts and so we hope we can combine these with our experience to help the faiths and those who they work with to maximise their environmental impact,” he added.
Both ARC and the Conservation Foundation are secular organisations who have worked extensively with faith organisations around the world for the past 30 years.
ARC closed in June 2019, after having fulfilled its initial aim of bringing religions and environmental organisations to the same tables. Its archive was divided between INCR and Bath University.
David Shreeve, Conservation Foundation
1 Kensington Gore
London, SW7 2AR
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Telephone: +44 20 7591 3111