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PRESS RELEASE: One Year On From Windsor: an important new report

November 6, 2010:


A year ago this week, ARC and UNDP joined together to create an extraordinary event. The celebration, which we called Many Heavens, One Earth at Windsor Castle in November 2009 launched 31 long-term commitments to environmental action by nine major faiths worldwide.

These faith commitments were made in the presence of HRH Prince Philip, and HE Ban Ki-moon, secretary general of the United Nations.

A further 18 commitments were made by major secular groups to work with the faiths on the environment, while other faiths, including the Mongolian Buddhists, started the journey of creating their own long-term commitments, some of which are almost starting.

The Celebration was also an occasion for consolidation of two major programmes - Religious Forestry and Water Schools – as well as marking the birth of two other important new project areas: Faith in Food and a Green Pilgrim City Network were both brought into being at Windsor.

"The potential revealed by the Windsor Process for faith groups to lead civil society in tackling our environmental crisis has been widely recognised - especially in the light of the collapse of the 15th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen in December 2009. Given that organised religions make up the largest group in civil society - 80 percent of the world’s population ascribe to a faith - that pivotal role is now being acknowledged by major environmental organisations and secular institutions worldwide who are keen to engage with the faiths in this innovative and vital work," ARC's director Martin Palmer said.

Building on the programmes, ideas and energy

Funded by the Norwegian Government, the World Bank, British Council, MOA and others, ARC began in February 2010 to build seriously on some of the programmes, ideas, energy and projects that emerged from Windsor.

Windsor inspired a DVD Teacher's pack
And at the Windsor event itself the vast Waterloo Chamber was transformed for the day into a theatre, with performances from great artistes and singers from within the faiths. We have made part of the film footage into a DVD teachers' pack on Environment and Religion (funded by the Ashden Trust), launched last month, which is already getting some wonderful feedback from teachers.

To celebrate the extraordinary things that have been happening in our world in the past year, we have created a formal document of events and goals and achievements. How each of the 31 faith commitments, 18 secular commitments, two expanded and two new programme areas is doing, and what it will achieve in the near future.

The Hindu delegation at Windsor
We hope, soon, to create a less formal document, full of photos and anecdotes, which will tell readers more about things like:

* the astonishing logistics of planting millions of trees

* the challenges and rewards of helping Pilgrim Cities around the world turn themselves green

* the moving and inspiring stories of how faiths are increasingly realising that what they eat should be kind to the earth, not destroy it

But meanwhile please read our report here. It is one of the most important documents we have ever produced, as it shows how, just in the past few years, an area of engagement that was seen by so many as marginal is in fact one of the best hopes that this planet has for being populated by people who care for it and look after it.

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November 5, 2010:
Faith in Food: Press Release
ARC today launches a major new initiative to inspire faith communities to honour their values in the food they eat. Launched at the Sacred Soil Festival of Faiths in Louisville, Kentucky, the aim is to create a fairer, healthier and more sustainable food and farming system - and transform the world one meal at a time.
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