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Religions and Conservation – resources for teachers and students

April 17, 2012:

Religious leaders from around the world return to Assisi in 2011 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Assisi Declarations.

“If you believe in God … then you should feel a responsibility to care for his creation” - HRH Prince Philip, founder of the Alliance of Religions and Conservation

The relationship between religions and a responsibility to care for nature has become increasingly clear. It is fundamental to the work that ARC has been supporting for over 25 years.

To help teachers and students learn more about the ways different religious traditions understand this responsibility and turn it into direct action, ARC has prepared a number of study resources. Drawing on both theological statements and examples of project work worldwide, these resources illustrate how religions have become an increasingly powerful force for positive environmental change.

For teachers delivering AQA GCSE Religious Studies (Specification B) Unit 3: Religion and Life/Topic 2: Religion & Planet Earth, the teachers’ resources below provide lesson plans and pupils’ notes that specifically address the syllabus.

Tree planting in Tanzania - millions of trees have been planted by religious groups worldwide.
The 1986 Assisi Declarations

All religions have an understanding of humankind’s sacred duty to take good care of the natural world. In 1986 HRH Prince Philip (then International President of the World Wildlife Fund) invited five leaders of the world’s religions to a meeting in Assisi, Italy.

In the course of a week each leader drew together the different teachings and traditions of their faith into a statement that would make the sacred duty clear to believers. These ‘Assisi Declarations’ were to be the first step in one of the most powerful worldwide environmental movements of the 20th century and beyond.


Use the links below to download documents telling you more about the history of these declarations and the ongoing and powerful impact they have had, including many examples of direct action to address the needs of the environment around the world.

History: How the World Wildlife Fund and the Alliance of Religions and Conservation developed in the context of 20th century environmental thinking and activism. Click
here to download.

The Connections: Why it makes sense to bring religions and conservation together. Click here to download.

Achievements & Actions: Examples of real environmental actions undertaken around the world by religions following the 1986 Assisi Declarations. Click here to download.

Case Studies: More detailed stories of ways in which religions have worked within their traditions to improve the care of creation. Click here to download.

Theology: Comparative examples of different faith statements about the environment. Click here to download.

What ARC has been doing: Since it was established in 1995 to further the bringing together of religions and conservation ARC has been involved in some major programmes of environmental work. Click here to download.

Further resources: Useful website links and bibliographies for further study. Click here to download.

Teachers’ notes: Sample lesson plans & worksheets for GCSE Religious Studies. Click here to download.

'Hearing The Voices of Creation' Teachers pack for multimedia resource on understanding faiths and the environment. Click here for more information and download links.

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October 13, 2010 - update:
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