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ARC has closed after 23 years

June 27, 2019:

ARC CLOSED at the end of June, 2019 after 23 exciting years brokering links and projects and programmes between the world's major faiths and international organisations and NGOs working on environment programmes.

We closed for the best of possible reasons. We have done what we initially set out to do.

"In the past 23 years we have seen an incredible rise in the global perception (by governments, NGOs, religious leaders, religious followers and members of the general public) of the importance of religions in environment and conservation programmes," said ARC's secretary general Martin Palmer.

ARC's founder HRH Prince Philip, ARC's secretary general Martin Palmer and ARC's board of trustees agreed in 1996 that ARC would exist only for as long as it took to put religion on the agenda of major secular environment groups, and environment on the agenda of major world religions.
"There is work to be done, but there are now many organisations and bodies around to do that work, in both the religious and the secular worlds."

"We were founded in 1995 in order to help the religions work on conservation, and for conservation organisations to work with religions. When we started many people – on all sides – thought there was little connection between religions and the environment. Now it is rare to find anyone in a key decision-making role who is sceptical."

"It is unusual for a charity, or any organisation, to close at the height of its success, but it is also important for all charities and organisations to close when they have done the work they have set themselves. Prince Philip and I have always agreed that ARC is an idea. And that when that idea is taken up it will be time to close. This is that time.

We are grateful for all the partnerships and friendships and projects and positive changes, and sometimes wonderful things we have seen and helped achieve."

Thank you to all those who have walked beside us, and beside whom we have walked.

The Future

Many initiatives and programmes and organisations are continuing after ARC. Among them are:

  • FaithInvest
  • Wildlife and Forests initiative with WWF-UK and WWF-Netherlands
  • Daoist Ecological Temple Network
  • EcoSikh.
  • The Bhumi Project, through the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies


    In 1985 HRH Prince Philip asked Martin Palmer to create an event where, for the first time ever, representatives of the major religions of the world would meet the major conservation and environmental organisations and leaders.

    At the time HRH the Prince Philip was the International President of WWF, and WWF was planning its 25th anniversary celebration. It was Prince Philip's perception that to move people deeply, and encourage them to take real action to protect the planet, you don't just need data and information, you need to touch people's hearts and minds.

    There have only ever been two key forces that have touched people's hearts and minds, he said at the time: the arts and religion. Prince Philip's proposal was that the 25th anniversary should focus on creating partnerships between the faiths and the key conservation and environmental organisations.

    ARC was the result of those discussions and initial partnerships, and its work has led to many more partnerships and initiatives – and protections and positive changes – over the years.

    ARC's archive has been given to the University of Bath. Some of our books have gone to the library at Lambeth Palace.

    ARC site map
    Related pages

    How does ARC work with the faiths?
    We list some of the far-reaching ways that faiths can affect their environment
    Interview with Prince Philip
    “If you believe in God, which is what Christians are supposed to do, then you should feel a responsibility to care for His Creation.” ARC's founder, the Duke of Edinburgh gives a rare interview about his beliefs in conservation.
    February 12, 2019:
    Martin Palmer profiled in Emergence Magazine
    The roots of religious belief and the sacredness of nature were once closely entwined: Chelsea Steinauer-Scudder profiles ARC's Martin Palmer for Emergence Magazine (the Faith edition).