Indonesia’s religions meet for first time since
24 December 2002:
BOGOR, INDONESIA. January 2003 – Faith is vital to
the majority of people in the world – for some of
the poorest it may be all they have. Surveys
conducted by the World Bank in Indonesia have
revealed that religious leaders are among the most
trusted members of society, and that these might
be the leaders who can help people remember to
care for their environment.
At a meeting in Bogor, funded partly by the World
Bank and by the Alliance of Religions and
Conservation, representatives from Muslim,
Protestant, Catholic, Hindu, Buddhist and
Confucian faiths, as well as NGOs will talk about
how to heal the problems of the environment.
This is the first meeting of people from all of
Indonesia’s major faith groups since the Bali
The attendees will be discussing subjects that
include the faiths’ different views on
environmental destruction as well as looking at
practical projects for the future.
In Islam for example there is the concept of
khalifa, and a story in the Qur’an of how Mohammed
was bathing in a river with a small bowl. Why did
he use the bowl, his followers asked, if he could
use the whole river. “But I only need a little
water,” the Prophet pointed out. In Christianity
there is a concept that “God so loved the world
that he gave his only son.” And it is the world –
in all its manifestations and wonders – that God
loved, not just humanity.
The aim of this meeting is to create an
environment in which people from different faiths
can share their experiences, and get a sense that
everyone, whatever their religous background is
working together for the same aim – to care for
the environment that everyone has to share.
Indonesia, like so many countries, is facing some
potential environmental crises in the near future
– stemming from rapid loss of forest, serious
pollution of water through pesticide and sewage,
coastal degradation and the quality of air in
large cities including Jakarta, Yogyakarta and
Surabaya. These problems can only be arrested with
some serious actions by the people of Indonesia as
well as by their government and by NGOs.
The Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC)
was set up by Prince Philip, the Duke of
Edinburgh, in 1995. It works with faith groups on
environmental projects in 68 countries, providing
seed money, experience, ideas and an active
network of expertise from around the world.
Link to Islam and Ecology page