This posting could also have gone under the Discussion Understanding and Action discussion.
Christian Ecology Link (CEL) has made a prayer and poster with three backgrounds (elephant, zebra or gannet) which it is encouraging people to display in their churches. We invite all to use it. If you download the poster from CEL's website there is useful background information on Nagoya to print on the back of, or underneath, the poster.
We hope this will add to people's awareness of the importance of the meeting at Nagoya.
Since we distributed this poster, Kew made the announcement this morning that one fifth, rather than one eighth of plants are under threat of extinction, but the prayer still holds.
The prayer says:
A quarter of the world's mammals, and one eighth of the world's plants are under threat of extinction.
Lord we thank you for this beautiful world with its amazing variety of animals and plants.
Be with those meeting at the Nagoya Conference in Japan, 18-29 October as they seek to find ways of preserving your world . . .
. . . ways of preventing the destruction of habitats and soil, and of saving species from extinction.
Please help us to understand your world more - to appreciate the beauty of nature.
Encourage us to make wildlife conservation areas in our churchyards, gardens, parks and farms and to take part in local nature surveys.
Help us to support wildlife conservation charities with our money and our words.
May we never forget that we are stewards of your creation and that we hold it in trust for future generations.
One of the ways to identify what the world needs to do to conserve biodiversity, is to identify those things we definitely should not be doing. This is perhaps 'defining by shadows' but in many conservation oriented processes, it has proved a useful technique. I do not wish to 'pick on' the actions of this (or indeed any) particular group, but what they have done in their blog provides a very nice 'by shadows' illustration of what those interested in conserving biodiversity should and should not be doing. We should NOT promote the idea (particularly to vulnerable people), that telepathic communication with an extra-terrestrial entity (i.e. prayer) will solve global losses of biodiversity and human well-being. I would die for their right to do this and believe it will work, but equally I hope they will respect alternative, evidence-based positions. We SHOULD be providing and facilitating human solutions involving local communities. These solutions must embody and employ local conditions and needs, but be supported by experiences gained from a wider context and evaluated by science. Providing access to successful processes would also be a major step forward. My own company is committed to facilitating this type of action. This is the 21st century, and I would beg faith groups to act far more responsibly in these critical times and sensitive issues.
Dr Mark O'Connell
That is the first time I have ever heard prayer described as "telepathic communication with an extra-terrestrial entity"! You can have no idea how ridiculous that sounds to anyone who knows the true and living God.
However, I do wonder to what extent churches should become involved in conservation. There is of course no excuse for being wantonly destructive of the environment; but we need to get our focus and our priorities right.
Mankind was originally supposed to be responsible for looking after his environment - the whole of the natural world. But we messed up and rebelled against our Creator a long time ago.
I don't know if you remember the old AA (Automobile Association) advert... "Can you fix it?"... "No, but I know a man who can!"
That is the message the Church should be preaching. Left to ourselves we can't really fix anything - not anything that really matters. We can't even fix ourselves, our own lives, our own tendency to go wrong - let alone the environment. BUT we know a Man who can - Jesus Christ!
However, it is impossible to pray effectively against the will of God, because He won't answer those prayers, except maybe to say "No". The Bible shows clearly that this world won't last forever, and one day (maybe soon) He will step in and end it and make a new creation much better than the old that has become spoiled and corrupted because of us.