Mind, Heart, and Soul in the Fight against Poverty

By Katherine Marshall; Lucy Keough | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 16
“Mountains Have Deities
and Water a Spirit”
The Mongolian Sacred Sites
Initiative—A Partnership
Linking Faith and Forests

Until recently, the world’s major religions have been relatively voiceless in the environmental debate and marginalized in the decisionmaking process concerning the impacts of development on the environment. However, faith groups can represent a powerful voice for environmental stewardship, given that veneration of nature and the earth are woven throughout scriptures. The moral concerns central to faiths, and the extensive networks of constituents within their reach, also provide a unique vehicle for conveying the importance of protecting forests and other aspects of biodiversity, and their links to alleviating poverty. Faith leaders have a singular opportunity to encourage people to support conservation actively as an expression of their faith.

Recognizing this important and underused resource, the World Bank,1 in partnership with the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), agreed in 1999 to support the Religions in Biodiversity project—formally titled Incorporation of Faiths

This case study is based on inputs from Anthony Whitten and was drafted by Kelli
Mullen.

-195-

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