How we work with the faiths
How do we work with the faiths to make a difference?
Around the world religions have responsibility for an enormous amount of resources. They own land and buildings where they worship and work, they are caretakers of special places sacred to their tradition, and they hold substantial funds and portfolios.
At ARC, we help and encourage faiths to use their far-reaching influence and resources for the widest possible environmental benefit, specifically in six key areas: Land and Assets, Education, Media, Health, Lifestyle and Advocacy.
No matter how small the amount of land owned, how it is used can be a model of a faith’s relationship with creation. For example, the land surrounding a place of worship can be managed to provide a habitat for birds, bats, insects and plants. On a grander scale, ownership of forests or watershed areas calls for sustainable use and development.
Throughout the world faiths are strong supporters of education, both within their faith communities and through their wider role in State or religious schools. Environment is an important aspect of education.
Some educational Sacred Gifts for a Living Planet do not appear at first sight to be dealing with environmental issues, yet they may be crucial. For example, Adult Female Literacy is a concern of many faiths and has been shown to be one of the most effective ways of dealing with overpopulation.
Every faith has a significant investment in mass media whether it is through their own magazines, newspapers, newsletters, websites or through TV and radio exposure. These often unrecognised religious networks reach untold millions of people with an authority and an outreach that few other organisations can match.
All religious traditions recognise that spiritual development goes hand in hand with human well-being and that the most important aspect of that is often health. Many of the great hospitals of the world were founded by religions and in some cases whole health traditions are based on religious belief.
It is increasingly recognised that a poor environment e.g. air pollution, water pollution, poverty, overcrowding, destruction of woodland, soil and marine resources can create or exacerbate problems of ill health.
Religious communities have enormous consumer power which often goes unrecognised. Through the goods or services communities and individuals use daily decisions are made which affect our environment.
The faiths possess a prestige and authority in many parts of the world where few others are heard. Through advocacy, the faiths can play a unique role in the creation of better environmental practice and policy. In recent years, religious leaders from various faiths have worked with international leaders to improve the environmental aspect of significant new treaties, agreements and policies.
What makes a successful ARC project?
Why work with the faiths?