Duke salutes 30 years of faith and conservation

20 November 2015

Katia Marsh/ARC

Inspiration: Prince Philip telling the conference at Lambeth Palace how he founded the Alliance of Religions and Conservation

Inspiration: Prince Philip telling the conference at Lambeth Palace how he founded the Alliance of Religions and Conservation

THE Duke of Edinburgh has said that a “flash of inspiration in the middle of the night” led to the creation of the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC). He was speaking at a conference to celebrate 30 years of the movement.

Prince Philip explained how the ARC had been set up after he realised that religious groups could help to persuade people to care for creation. “I had this flash of inspiration, I don’t know when . . . in the middle of the night,” he said at the conference in Lambeth Palace on Tuesday. “If we can persuade religious leaders that . . . they have to look after the natural environment, then we can be more effective.”

The conference heard how conservationists in Ohio had partnered with Native American tribes to designate spiritually significant areas as nationally protected “wildernesses”.

One delegate said that, for six months, they had fruitlessly tried to get Algerians to separate their waste into recycling, before enlisting local imams to help. “We found some passages in the Qur’an [supporting this], they preached on it that Friday, and then it just worked,” he said.

Another delegate, from China, said that, by encouraging people at Taoist temples to grow their own herbs to sell as traditional medicines, they had successfully deterred people from using remedies made from ivory or other endangered-animal products.

One delegate from the World Evangelical Alliance, however, warned that, in his tradition, some Christian leaders could actually be counter-productive rather than allies, as they believed that God would soon return to destroy the earth; so there was little point in conserving it.

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