I did not have the opportunity to tell you about the Spirituality and Conservation Dialogues we had in Barcelona. I was held on Thursday morning and I spoke along with 6 other panelists about the importance of integrating the religious perspective in dealing with conservation issues. I spoke on global environmental leadership and the spiritual deficit , with emphasis on Islamic perspectives.Human excesses greed and a totally materialistic approach to life has perpetuated an aggression against nature in addition to the wars waged against humans. I spoke of Quranic perspectives that see the earth as a cradle and human beings as caretakers or viceroys of God on earth. Concerning Islamic views on the value of natural resources I mentioned the importance attached to water as the source of life and to the tree as the connection between the heavens as the earth. A major cause of the ongoing destructive policies , I stressed was the lack of integrity and sound leadership. The global leaders, I noted, are deprived of inner peace and therefore make decisions based on aggression, control and dominion . You can see the brochure http://cmsdata.iucn.org/downloads/sd_spirituality.pdf and the panel here http://www.iucn.org/news_events/events/congress/live/streaming_sessions.cfm?uNewsID=1874 . We had some slides from Iran as well as Iranian music in the background before the session started. Professors Grim and Tucker also did a great job. We had a press conference and a session in the Futures Pavilion after the panel.
I think it was a positive start for IUCN dealing with religion and conservation. I hope they will continue to work on this important issue. Abrahamic religions have an immense wealth of wisdom on our relations with creation and nature, they might help humanity out of the quagmire it is currently stuck in.
There is an important international meeting underway in Tehran now. I will come back on that shortly.