Editors' Blog

Green Living editors dish on the latest trends and happenings in sustainability.

This month, we heard, that O Magazine was writing a story on the religious environmentalist, naturally we were curious and wanted to get the inside scoop, so we have a preview of the article to share with you!

The article is by Meredith Bryan with photos by Ben Baker.

Enjoy the preview!

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Windsor Castle, the bucolic weekend retreat of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and her pack of corgis, has witnessed the plague, beheadings, and centuries of state dinners, but it’s surely never seen this: a procession of bearded Sikhs in orange turbans, bald Buddhist
monks in habits, Jews in top hats and prayer shawls, Japanese Shintos in white jôes—even a Greek Orthodox archbishop in a black kamilafki hat and floor-length cassock.

On an unseasonably warm day last November, a group of British schoolchildren led this diverse troop from the small town of Windsor through the castle’s Hogwart’s-worthy gate for a vegan feast of stuffed mushrooms and parsnips. It was all part of “Many Heavens, One Earth,” an event organized by the United Nations and the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC), designed to promote environmental evangelism among people of faith—the largest international gathering of its kind.

To some, the term religious environmentalist might sound curiously newfangled. Yet most global faiths preach that the planet was divinely created, even if few have been at the vanguard of the movement to protect it from unholy exploitation. Given the politi- cally charged UN climate talks in December, gatherings like this one are likely to become even more important—possibly the basis for a new grassroots environmental movement.

Among the initiatives announced at the event: Chinese Taoists pledged to reduce their use of incense, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Ghana hopes to plant 200,000 seedlings, Muslims aim to print the Qur’an on sustainable materials, and the Jewish Climate Change Campaign wants to halve collective meat con- sumption in five years. By the time a Baptist choir from Baltimore took the stage for a rousing rendition of “All Creatures of Our God and King,” prompting the multilingual congregation to leap to its feet and cry out for an encore, all things seemed possible.

As UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reminded the crowd of 200, faith leaders have the ear—and the hearts—of billions (85 percent of the Earth’s population identifies with a religion). “You can, and do, inspire people to change,” he said.

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To read about Rev. Canon Sally Bingham (the Climate Cleric), Bishop Walter Thomas (The Witness), Buddist Dekila Chungyalpa, (The Animal Activist) and Devout Jew Nigel Savage (the Compassionate Foodie) check out O Magazine on sale June 15th!