Religion and Nature
Can the major religions of the world play a role in conserving the natural world? Monty Don explores how religious teachings might help people get more involved in conservation.
The world human population is increasing and although in some parts of the world increased secularism is reported, nevertheless more people on earth are affiliated to a religion than not. Can the major religions of the world play a role in conserving the natural world? Monty Don explores how religious teachings might help people get more involved in conservation. In southern India the city of Bangalore is the third most populous city in India and one of the fastest growing. As the city expands to accommodate new migrants from the surrounding countryside the nearby national park - Bannerghatta - is under pressure. People now live in the buffer zone that was designed to separate people and wildlife. Elephants now regularly damage crops and farmland as their traditional sites are settled by people. The Christian based conservation organisation A Rocha has established a programme in Bannerghatta to both help the people who are losing their livelihood and the elephants who are being poisoned and persecuted. Can this example be replicated around the world where wildlife and people come into conflict? Professor Mary Evelyn Tucker and Bishop James Jones join Monty to explore how religion and conservation fit together.
Bishop James Jones
In August 2013 James Jones retired having served for 15 years as the Bishop of Liverpool.
In 2009 he was appointed by the Home Secretary to Chair the Hillsborough Independent Panel which made its report in September 2012. He continues to advise the Home Secretary on Hillsborough matters.
He has received Honorary degrees from Hull University, the University of Lincoln, Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool John Moores University, the University of Exeter and is shortly to be honoured by Liverpool University and the University of Gloucester.
Mary Evelyn Tucker
Mary Evelyn Tucker is a Senior Lecturer and Senior Research Scholar at Yale University where she has appointments in the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies as well as the Divinity School. She is a co-founder and co-director with John Grim of the Forum on Religion and Ecology. Together they organized a series of ten conferences on World Religions and Ecology at the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard. They are series editors for the ten volumes from the conferences distributed by Harvard University Press. She co-edited the volumes on Confucianism and Ecology, Buddhism and Ecology, and Hinduism and Ecology.
In 2011 Tucker completed the Journey of the Universe with Brian Swimme, which includes a book from Yale University Press, an Emmy award winning film on PBS, and an educational series of 20 interviews. She is also the author of Worldly Wonder: Religions Enter Their Ecological Phase and with John Grim of a new book, Ecology and Religion. She is a member of the Interfaith Partnership for the Environment at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). She served on the International Earth Charter Drafting Committee from 1997-2000 and is a member of the Earth Charter International Council.
Fazlun Khalid has a world wide reputation as an indefatigable advocate of environmental protection rooted in religious traditions and is now recognised as one of fifteen leading eco theologians in the world. He appeared on the Independent on Sunday list of the top 100 environmentalists in the UK in 2008 and is also listed amongst the “500 Most Influential Muslims in the World” by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre of Jordan. He founded the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences which is now established as the world’s leading Islamic environmental NGO.
The Shared Planet Studio
From left to right, the picture shows Shared Planet correspondant Kelvin Boot, Bishop James Jones, Fazlun Khalid and presenter Monty Don.