Press releases
News archive
Selected books
ARC Home > News and Resources > News archive:

Korean edition of Faith in Conservation

November 10 2016:

ARC's surprise 2002 World Bank best-seller Faith In Conservation: New Approaches to Religions and the Environment has this autumn been translated into Korean, in order "to inspire Korean people to protect the environment through their faith."

It was launched at Mt Odae in South Korea last month (October 2016), at the International Symposium on the Conservation of Religious Forests, a major religious forest conference (the first of its kind in South Korea). The conference was led by the Research Institute for Spiritual Environment (RISE) whose work was partly inspired by ARC's example.

RISE was established last year at Korea University in Seoul by landscape architecture expert Professor Sim Woo-Kyung. In addition to training specialists from all over the world on the landscaping and conservation of spiritual environments, the intention is to work with major religions in South Korea and China on environmental projects related to wildlife, forest, sustainable development, values, and youth education.

The book, Faith in Conservation by Martin Palmer and Victoria Finlay, shows how religions are increasingly partnering with the environmental and development movements in order to make this world a better place for all life. It also contains some marvellous and intriguing stories.

These include how the dynamite fishing in Kenya was finally stopped, the tale of the Prophet Muhammad and the river, and how a Hindu myth of Krishna and the serpent became the story that protected a huge modern river.

Mount Odaesan National Park is home to more than 3,700 species
"Faiths are the oldest institutions in the world and possess wisdom about how to live and how to keep hope alive, which we need to hear and respect," said then World Bank President James D. Wolfensohn when the book was first launched . "So it is very natural for us to work with religious institutions and leaders.

The engagement from all sides is one charged with potential and also energized by differences. "These are ideas and possibilities that may well be new to many in the world of development and economics, but, as I know from personal experience, they do work."


In 1995, Prince Philip launched a new non-governmental organization, the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC), dedicated to assisting and enlarging this work. When each of the participating faiths was asked which contemporary secular phenomenon they felt could be most important in helping, or hindering, the work of the faiths on the environment, two came out clearly: the mass media, and modern economic thinking, embodied for many of the faiths in the modus operandi of the World Bank. The World Bank was represented at that launch and has been engaged with the ARC ever since.

The 11 faiths represented by the ARC range from Buddhism to Hinduism, from Islam to Judaism, and from Shintoism to Sikhism. They own around 7 percent of the habitable surface of the planet, they have a role in 54 percent of all schools, and their institutional share of the investment market is in the range of 6 to 8 percent.

The book

"After a century of unprecedented persecutions, religions are returning to the public arena in many countries. Where they have been deliberately marginalized in the past they are getting back their schools, their farms, even their political voice," emphasized Martin Palmer, Secretary General of ARC. "Some of this return is happening in disturbing ways, in the form of fundamentalism and even terrorism. But there is another story. This book, Faith in Conservation, is an attempt to show how the vast majority of religious movements are returning as potential forces for good. And to show how religions and the secular society around them can and have to work together as partners, to make the world a better place." While the world's major religions have been, until recently, relatively voiceless in the environmental debate, it is being shown that they can represent a very powerful voice for environmental stewardship. As this book demonstrates, the faiths can bring their many billions of investment dollars, as well as their traditions of storytelling, celebration, practice, spiritual guidance, activism and advocacy, in order to be powerful partners in a wide range of conservation initiatives.

Read the book in English

Download the shorter updated version in English.

Read the preface.

Download the full document as a 13MB pdf from the World Bank or as a text file (apologies for the poor reconstruction of the cover)

order a copy of the book

< previous 
ARC site map
Related pages

ARC and World Bank book: Faith in Conservation
"Life without values is no life at all". World Bank President James Wolfensohn launches Faith in Conservation with ARC in a unique partnership.
November 20, 2012 :
New handbook on sustainable water and sanitation
ARC partners Aqua for All and EMF have produced a fact-packed handbook about water use and conservation, hygiene and sanitation.
October 31, 2016:
There is a mass extinction of animals. We caused it. We need to solve it.
A distressing WWF/Zoological Society of London report last week showed wildlife population declining at rates similar to mass extinction, by 58% between 1970 and 2012. But some faiths are trying to protect animal species. Also read our new faiths and wildlife leaflet.