Religion and Conservation Research Collaborative


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Faith and fisheries in Fiji

It’s heartening to see more grassroots initiatives to bring conservation messages in channels which are familiar to local communities. This article highlights the troubling fact that fisheries are being depleted by local communities as people see their resources as ‘abundant’ and have a perception that these resources will be ‘provided by God’. Such perceptions give people the idea that their continued ways are justified and they see little need to change their practices and be instead stewards of the resources they have been provided.

It is also great to see how both pastors and scientists in this context are crossing over to different sides – the pastor is pursuing a PhD in natural resource management, and the scientist is using local community faith systems to convey conservation messages – to help support these fishing communities in being better managers of local fisheries.

See the entire report here

http://news.mongabay.com/2014/1125-west-sri-religious-messages-fisheries.html#sthash.sba1ro6X.dpbs

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Indonesia issues first fatwa against wildlife trafficking

Indonesia’s top Muslim clerical body, the Indonesian Council of Ulama, has issued a fatwa against illegal hunting and trading of endangered species. A fatwa is an Islamic legal pronouncement, issued by an expert or council on Islamic religious law. This is really good news, considering large areas of Indonesia’s rural population are Muslim and are now encouraged by their religious authorities to protect and conserve endangered species such as the tiger, elephant, orangutan, and rhinos.

For more information as well as a pdf of the fatwa issued, please see National Geographic’s article here.


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Farming God’s Way

Firstly, warm wishes for the new year of 2014! The last few months have been very busy for me personally, making the transition from a PhD to an independent researcher. As such, the RCRC blog has been somewhat neglected.

In line with the work I do on smallholder agriculture and addressing the challenges of sustainable agriculture, I came across this initiative called Farming God’s Way, where a Christian group has taken up the initiative of moving farmers out of poverty by improving their management practices in their farmlands. This is the first example I have encountered of a religious group providing aid through managing farmlands and promoting sustainability in agricultural systems. Quite an interesting initiative. To me it seems like the faith aspect draws people together as a farming community, while the aid or development aspect of this group (or ‘ministry’ as commonly used in Christianity) helps propagate good standards of agricultural production within the community.

For more updated information on this group, do like their Facebook page here.


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Religion and conservation themes at the ICCB 2013, July 21-25, Baltimore, MD, USA

I just came back from the 26th International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB) under the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB). The Religion and Conservation Working Group and Religion and Conservation Research Collaborative belong under the SCB and this year we had two great symposiums and several very interesting talks relevant to the theme on religion and conservation.

ICCB 2013

ICCB 2013

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Eco-Islam to save Sumatra’s forests

I have worked in Sumatra for my PhD project and visited many villages in the provinces of Riau, West Sumatra and South Sumatra. Islam plays a central role in the community activities of many of these villages. I certainly believe that community-based management of natural resource has an untapped potential in the religious communities and am very glad to see the Darwin Initiative promoting environmental awareness and understanding through mosques and the leaders of the Muslim community. More so that they conducted this project in a systematic manner and planned surveys to evaluate the impact of their initiative. I did conduct surveys with a handful of religious leaders from the mosques in the villages I stayed in but have yet to analyze the data collected (no excuses now!).

Re-posted here from Alliance of Religions and Conservation

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Christianity influences biodiversity in the Amazon

A very interesting study by Jeffrey Luzar & Jose Fragoso which examines hunting practices of the indigenous people in the Guyananese Amazon.

Luzar J., Fragoso J.V. (2013) Shamanism, Christianity and Culture Change in Amazonia. Hum Ecol 41, 299-311.

Re-posted here from the  Stanford News Service.

“The introduction of Christianity has changed the hunting habits of indigenous people in the Amazon. While some new practices could benefit animals, others could put populations at risk.”

BY BJORN CAREY

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