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ARC and WWF - the next 10 years

Dr Jill Bowling of WWF at Lambeth, 2005:

I have been asked to talk about sacred lands and it is very appropriate to do this in such a beautiful place, where there is such a sense of sacred history.

The ARC initiative on sacred lands has been a partnership with WWF from the very beginning, ten years ago. We have now celebrated 23 Sacred Gifts to the Earth. These range from protecting spiny forests in Madagascar to preserving the ancient pilgrimage trails of the Huitchela people in Mexico, to teaching people about the “living churchyards” of Britain where the dead seem to be among the last protectors of the habitats of meadow flowers and rare species of wildlife.

These gifts are remarkable successes and we can take great pride in them as we celebrate ARC’s 10th anniversary. These faith-owned lands are treasure-houses of biodiversity and in many places they are the last remnants of former times. They are the gene banks for the future.

"In its first ten years ARC showed itself to be a powerful group, with powerful ideas. Now in the next ten years let’s broaden out. Let’s develop new environmental policies that will reduce the footprint of all of us on the planet."
BUT, it is still not enough.

As we all know, the world’s environment is in worse shape than ever. Biodiversity is decreasing; consumption is increasing. And all the time we are using too much energy. We simply cannot keep doing this – it is not sustainable.

In its first ten years ARC showed itself to be a powerful group, with powerful ideas. Now in the next ten years let’s broaden out. Let’s develop new environmental policies that will reduce the footprint of all of us on the planet.

Recently some faith groups have contacted ARC and WWF and asked “how do we reduce the energy we use in our buildings?” or “how do we stop our forests being degraded?” Or how do we buy ethically sourced food and coffee? Finding the answers to these questions – together – will be an adventure and an exploration for all of us, whether we’re from secular or faith organizations.

But I believe these sorts of initiatives, taken together, have the potential to make an enormous contribution to reverse the problems that we are all facing. WWF has been involved with ARC right from the beginning. We are with you now and we are committed to being with you for the next 10 years.



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