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Faith, finance and ecology

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There was a seminar in Zug the other day organised by ARC**, the Alliance of Religions and Conservation; sadly, I wasn't invited.  It was a meeting of the great, the good, and the ugly.  The Economist reported it: Green investors and right-wing sceptics clash on the meaning of scripture – faith and investment seek a new partnership

The article began:

"In the Swiss town of Zug, a high-powered gathering of faith leaders, investment gurus and environmentalists met to consider how bodies with ample funds at their disposal, including religious organisations, could use that wealth for the benefit of life on earth. One of the star speakers was Cardinal Peter Turkson, a Ghanaian who was recently put in charge of a powerful new Vatican agency (an amalgamation of four others) that is charged with “promoting integral human development".  The agency's job, he explained, covers human rights, development, the environment and the economy. It aims to put into practice the social teachings of the last three popes."

The cardinal insisted that businessmen who were believers could not fence off their faith from their professional activities, and Gunnela Hahn, head of “responsible investment” at the Swedish Lutheran Church, agreed.  It seems that there was much concord on all this.

A counter point was put by Scott Pruitt, head of the USA's the Environment Protection Agency which now (I had missed this) declines to take advice from anyone who has received funding from the EPA.  You'll not be the first to note that this gives undue influence to outfits that the EPA is supposed to regulate.  Pruitt cited a passage from the Book of Joshua, in which pagans were instructed to “choose this day whom you will serve”: the old deities or the new one.  Indeed; a choice we all make every morning.

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**ARC is a secular body founded by Prince Philip.  It helps the major religions of the world to develop their own environmental programmes, based on their own core teachings, beliefs and practices. It is the main partner for the UN in working with faith outfits on the SDGs.

 

 

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