Posts Tagged ‘Francis of Assisi’

Christianity should do more for biodiversity!

September 5, 2013

I kid you not.

A new paper at Oryx – The International Journal of Conservation by Swedish and Australian researchers.

 ” … the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches appear to have the greatest per capita opportunity to influence discourse on biodiversity… “

Does this count as science? or advocacy? or is it theological economics?

What were they thinking?

Grzegorz Mikusiński, Hugh P. Possingham and Malgorzata Blicharska, Biodiversity priority areas and religions—a global analysis of spatial overlapOryx, available on CJO2013. doi:10.1017/S0030605312000993. 

Abstract:Numerous solutions have been proposed to slow the accelerating loss of biodiversity. Thinking about biodiversity conservation has not, however, been incorporated into the everyday activities of most individuals and nations. Conservation scientists need to refocus on strategies that reshape ethical attitudes to nature and encourage pro-environmental thinking and lifestyles. Religions are central to basic beliefs and ethics that influence people’s behaviour and should be considered more seriously in biodiversity discourse. Using data from the World Religion Database we conducted an analysis of the spatial overlap between major global religions and seven templates for prioritizing biodiversity action. Our analysis indicated that the majority of these focal areas are situated in countries dominated by Christianity, and particularly the Roman Catholic denomination. Moreover, the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches appear to have the greatest per capita opportunity to influence discourse on biodiversity, notwithstanding the role of other religious communities in some key biodiversity areas.

From EurekAlert:

A new study carried out by ecologists at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, among others, indicates that if the world’s religious leaders wished to bring about a change, they would be ideally positioned to do so

Leaders of the major world religions can play a key role in preserving biological diversity. A new study carried out by ecologists at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), among others, indicates that if the world’s religious leaders wished to bring about a change, they would be ideally positioned to do so. …. 

…. Religions strive to be morally good and for centuries have led people in terms of right and wrong. Therefore, says Grzegorz Mikusinski, they have the potential to guide them to “miracles” also when it comes to conservation in the places where the religion has a great influence on society.

– The results show that Roman Catholics, per capita, have the greatest potential to preserve biological diversity where they live, says Hugh Possingham, a researcher at University of Queensland, Australia, and a co-author of the study.

The Catholic Church has just elected a pope, Francis – a name associated with the Catholic Church’s “greenest” saint, Francis of Assisi, the special patron saint of ecology. Let us hope that he and other religious leaders seriously consider the possibility of becoming more involved in the conservation debate. But at the same time scientists need to more actively encourage religious leaders to take part in such a debate.

Many solutions have been proposed to halt the loss of biological diversity. But the notion of conservation has seldom become part of daily life, either among individuals or among nations.

– Conservation research needs to adjust its focus, toward strategies that can change people’s ethical attitudes toward nature and encourage modes of thinking and lifestyles that are good for the environment, says Malgorzata Blicharska, a researcher at SLU and a co-author of the study. Religions are central to fundamental beliefs and ethics that influence people, and they should be taken more seriously in the debate about biological diversity.

Or these religious leaders could just lead the prayers!


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