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THEY MUST HAVE FAITH: poem about faiths & forests conference

December 6, 2007:

"They have come here to help their trees,/Who could not attend the meeting." Drawing by Bosse Carlgren

This poem was inspired by the Visby conference on faiths and forests run by ARC, in conjunction with the Swedish Lutheran Diocese of Visby and the Shinto Association of Shrines. Link here for more details.

They must have faith.
Faith in a source of power I thought to be almost drained.
Faith in human beings.

All the major religions in the world.
Joining forces.
I thought they did not do that,
Strictly handling things by the Book – no, Books.
But they do.
They must have faith.

They have come here to help their trees,
Who could not attend the meeting.
The forests may provide material for conference tables
But they never get to sit around them.
They must have faith.

There are delegates here from countries at war with each other.
Their Books differ,
Politics tear them apart.
Still they try to work with the enemy,
That they might unite and grow
Like their forests do.
These people impress me.
They must have faith.

The forests are sacred to them.
Now this holy ground is threatened.
Who is the attacker?
Mammon probably,
Or some other demon who can blind short-sighted minds with the glow of Profit.
A real super-power.
Those who think they can fight it. Well,
They must have faith.

The forest is my brother, They taught me. And I didn’t have a brother before. Brothers cannot give up on each other, can they? They must have faith.

Copyright Bosse Carlgren, published with permission.


** Link here to read about the road to Ise 2013 where a strategy for religious forestry management will be announced by the faiths.

** Link here to read some prayers about forests collected from those who attended the Visby meeting.

** Link here to read more about ARC's forestry projects with the faiths.

** Link here to read a story from Friesch Dagbladet, a Dutch Christian newspaper, ARC's on the Gotland process.

** Link here for a keynote speech about faiths and forestry presented by ARC at a paper industry meeting about forests and the environment.

** Link here for details about Yews for the Millennium, launched by the Conservation Foundation to preserve ancient British yews.

** Link here for information about a community of Orthodox nuns based in France's Rhone Valley, who have undertaken to preserve their forest both as a properly managed commercial undertaking AND as a beautiful sacred place.

** Link here for the FSC website.

** Link here for the World Agroforestry Centre, which has invigorated the ancient practice of growing trees on farms, using innovative science to transform lives and landscapes.

** Link here for Skogforsk - the Forestry Research Institute of Sweden.

** Link here to view a video about forests - their history and their future from Skogforst.

** Link here for the Regional Forestry Commissions of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation.

** Link here for Forestry: An International Journal of Forest Research.

** Link here for the UK-based Royal Forestry Society.

** Link here for the Canadian Forestry Association.

** Link here for the Center for International Forestry Research.

** Link here for the Rainforest Alliance.

** Link here for the Commonwealth Forestry Association, linking foresters around the world.

** Link here for a list of frequently asked questions about the meeting, while a programme of events is available here.

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International Religious Forestry Standard
The inaugural Faiths and Forests meeting in Visby, Sweden culminated in August 2007 in a unanimous agreement to go forward and create a Religious Forestry Standard. It will include religious, ecological, social and economic criteria for forest management.
Initial Agreement on Religious Forestry Standards
April 29 2008:
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ARC's secretary general Martin Palmer is also on the panel for a debate at Bath Abbey tonight, titled: 'CLIMATE CHANGE: What is happening? What can we do? Can Bath become an eco city?'