Spiritual Conservation

10 October 2008 | News story

Spiritual and Religious leaders came together at the IUCN World Conservation Congress to explore how religious and spiritual traditions can support conservation.

Panelists, including Dr. Masoumeh Ebtekar, former Vice-President of Iran, and Bishop Geoffrey Davis, of South Africa, discussed how all religious and spiritual traditions have something significant to say about our relationship with nature.

However, in many cases this wisdom seems to have eroded over time. The spirituality of indigenous and traditional peoples has been vital in maintaining and supporting stewardship practices, but it is also affected by many factors – including religious intolerance.

Can faiths and spiritual traditions of the world engage more deeply in safeguarding life on Earth? Recent experiences seem to show a very positive development in this direction, with notable examples from many religious and spiritual traditions – but much remains to be done.

“IUCN wanted to offer the opportunity for dialogue between faith and spiritual traditions and the conservation community, and to promote greater engagement and collaboration for sustainable living on a sustainable planet,” said Gonzalo Oviedo, IUCN’s Senior Adviser on Social Policy.

Other panelists included Prof. Mary Evelyn Tucker, from the Forum on Religion and Ecology, Yale University, Jonathan Rose, from The Garrison Institute, and Satish Kumar, Editor of Resurgence Magazine. The session was moderated by Prof. John Grim, from the Forum on Religion and Ecology, Yale University.

For more information contact Gonzalo Oviedo, IUCN Senior Advisor, Social Policy