Participants at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress (WCC) discussed the connections between spirituality and conservation and opportunities for empowering future generations during high-level events at the Congress, which is taking place in Honolulu, Hawai'i, the US.
6 September 2016: Participants at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress (WCC) discussed the connections between spirituality and conservation and opportunities for empowering future generations during high-level events at the Congress, which is taking place in Honolulu, Hawai’i, the US.
A high-level dialogue, titled ‘Connections: Spirituality and Conservation,’ brought together religious leaders from around the world to share their thoughts on how to forge a spiritual path to a sustainable future. Father Robert Stark, Hawai’i, shared a video from the Vatican calling for “a change to unite,” to free us from the slavery of consumerism and to care for our common home. Rabbi Sergio Bergman, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Argentina, called on participants to seek enlightenment, without imposing views on others, and forge ahead with an agenda of sustainability that values all life forms. Masami Saionji, The Goi Peace Foundation, spoke of connection through love and gratitude, urging all to shift from a culture of materialism to one of spirituality. Imam Muhammad Sirajuddin Syamsuddin, State Islamic University, Jakarta, called for overcoming the “moral crisis” of consumerism by collaborating across all sectors, improving education and moving from conservative theology to a progressive view. The dialogue represented the culmination of a series of workshops, knowledge cafes, pavilions and other gatherings focused on spirituality and conservation.
‘Conservation 2.0: Empowering Next Generations’ explored youth engagement, empowerment and intergenerational collaboration as an effective path for advancing conservation. A high-level dialogue focused on professional empowerment and engagement of the next generation of conservation leaders and showcased examples of youth who are making a difference for sustainable development and nature conservation. In a panel on integrated approaches to empowerment, Jane Goodall, UN Messenger of Peace, spoke of her movement, Roots & Shoots, which aims to overcome apathy and depression by encouraging each person in the 150,000 participating groups to know that their choice has an impact. Anne Walton, International Marine Protected Area Management Capacity Building Program, shared vertical and horizontal approaches to institutionalizing capacity building for leadership. Jon Jarvis, Director, National Park Service, US, reported positive results from strategies to engage millennials and build a generation of advocates for conservation.
A number of other events on the role of youth in conservation are taking place throughout the WCC. [Spirituality and Conservation Event Description] [Conservation 2.o Event Description] [WCC Website] [IISD RS Coverage of the WCC] [IISD RS IUCN Congress Bulletin, 5 September] [IISD RS IUCN Congress Bulletin, 2 September]