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ARC Home > Projects > Sacred Gifts :
Sacred Gifts

What is a Sacred Gift?

Banners represent 26 Sacred Gifts celebrated at the 2000 ARC celebrations in Kathmandu


Every religion believes that the gift of life itself is sacred: we do not own it, but we have responsibility to care for it. It was this shared understanding that led WWF and ARC to create a special term of praise and recognition for major significant new projects launched by the World’s religions at a meeting in Kathmandu in 2000.

“Sacred Gifts for a Living Planet” highlights both the theology and the practice of caring for the environment which every single major religion now advocates and undertakes. The first 26 gifts were recognised internationally in November 2000 and a further 14 in November 2002.

'Sacred Gifts are catalysts for action. They are conservation templates for religious followers around the world'
Dr Claude Martin, Director-General of WWF International
The recognition of these gifts by a major international environmental foundation – WWF International – and by ARC signals the full acceptance of the religious participation in the environment by the secular world – and the religions’ own recognition of the concept of “Sacred Gifts” reflects their commitment the urgency of the situation.

The following – which address a wide range of issues from climate change to marine conservation, from sustainable forest management to environmental advocacy – are some examples of these exemplary and highly committed projects.

CANADA AND USA: Catholic Leaders speak out for Columbia River Conservation
CAMBODIA: Pagodas become eco-campaigners
CHINA: Daoists support alternatives to endangered species used in traditional Chinese medicine
EGYPT: Cairo rubbish dump converted into public park
EUROPE: Union of Liberal and Progressive Synagogues conduct environmental audit
INDIA: Hindus restore sacred forests in Orissa
INDIA: Jains build a sustainable community in earthquake village
INDIA: Parsis recycle tonnes of flower offerings from Zoroastrian Fire Temples
INDIA: Rural women trained in literacy, health and conservation
INDIA: Sikhs promote sustainable energy in Gurdwara temples
INDIA: Zoroastrians Establish Sacred Baval Tree Groves
INDONESIA: Indigenous Batak Christians fight back against lake pollution
JAPAN: Shintos commit to sustainable management of sacred forests
LEBANON: Church protects one of the Mediterranean’s top 10 “Forest Hot Spots”
MEXICO: Huichol people take responsibility to protect ancient pilgrimage route
MONGOLIA: Buddhists reintroduce traditional hunting and logging bans
NEPAL: Hindus pledge to clean up sacred Bagmati River
SAUDI ARABIA: Rare species protected in first national biosphere reserve
SWEDEN: FSC Certification for Church Forests
TANZANIA: Fishermen say no to dynamite - using Islamic environmental principles
UK: Christian Environmental Network promotes eco-awareness
UK: Major Jewish groups unite to protect the environment
UK: Manchester’s Gorton Monastery of St Francis is reborn as a “living centre”
UK: World’s first Centre for Islam and Ecology announced for Welsh University
USA: Benedictines engage students in civic eco-action
USA: United Methodists commit $40 billion to ethical investments
USA: United Methodists Say “No” to dioxins
USA: The Episcopal Power and Light Ministry promotes renewable energy

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Related information

Sacred Gifts found on other ARC project pages:

Cambodian pagodas
Daoist medicines
Synagogues audit
Sikh sustainable energy
City monastery reborn
Church climate action
Power & Light ministry

December 2, 2009:
Copenhagen: ARC Statement of Faith
Governments gather in Copenhagen this month to negotiate a new climate treaty to protect the living planet. On behalf of the world's major faiths, which presented their own long-term action plans on the environment at the Windsor Celebration last month, ARC invites the governments to join the faiths on the journey towards a more sustainable and just future.
ARC at a glance
ARC is a secular body that helps the major religions of the world to develop their own environmental programmes, based on their own core teachings, beliefs and practices.