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Chartered Institution of Water and
Environmental Management (CIWEM)

106-109 Saffron Hill, London, EC1N 8QS  
Tel: 020 7831 3110   Fax: 020 7405 4967

Faith & The Environment

Engaging with faith groups was number 2 in the mix of political, technological, philosophical, social and domestic " Top 50 ways to save the planet" compiled by the Environment Agency in 2008. CIWEM's Faith and Environment Network (FEN) was set up in early 2009 to put belief systems at the heart of environmental policy and action.

The FEN has a Steering Group which directs its outputs. The steering group is representative of the major world faiths and denominations. The steering group is chaired by Geoff Bateman, a Past-President of CIWEM who works for the Environment Agency.

The steering group meets several times a year and the wider network corresponds by email. The wider network is open to all suitably interested individuals. For more information on joining the network or to apply to join the steering group please contact Alastair Chisholm.


Role and purpose of the FEN

a) Help CIWEM realise and communicate its Vision of putting faith(s) and belief sytems at the heart of environmental policy and practice for the public benefit.

b) Advise the Institution on appropriate policies, strategies and plans that will integrate faiths and belief systems into the activities of the Institution and the wider environmental community.

c) Support and advise on the development and implementation of a CIWEM faiths and environment programme.


FEN News

In June 2012, leading UK Jewish, Christian and Muslim environmentalists came together to launch Sharing Eden - a unique handbook that uses the teachings of the Abrahamic faiths to encourage a greener lifestyle for all.  The book is published jointly by The Conservation Foundation and Kube Publishing and is available to buy from,, and (RRP: £4.99).  For further information, please visit

Mary Colwell and David Shreeve have produced the first two films of a series aimed at helping clergy and congregations to understand practical steps that they can take - and the theological reasons why they should  - to be good environmental managers of their buildings and land are now available here.

Watch a review of some of the environment projects undertaken by faith groups in UK, presented by David Shreeve from the FEN steering group.

On 9th May 2011, the Diocese of London held an update on their Route 2050 Climate Action Programme and Prospectus. Attendees were treated to a performance by a local school on their hopes for the future and a Diptych specially composed for the occasion. The keynote speech was delivered by Dr Richard Chartres, Lord Bishop of London in which he highlighted the decline in public opinion on climate change since the Climate Change Act and the Church's role in re-stimulating debate. Route 2050 supports the Church of England's 7 year plan as the Diocese's long term vision and road map to reduce carbon emissions. The event produced some very helpful information sheets for those wishing to improve the efficiency of their places of worship - these can be downloaded from the documents side tab under 'Route 2050'.

The World Council of Churches is calling governments for implementation of water as human right.

In March 2011 Shrinking the Footprint and the London School of Jewish Studies organised an Interfaith Seminar on Environment and Sustainability alongside the British Council and DECC. The supporting report contains chapters on energy conservation and places of worship, the theological basis of environmental stewardship, using green spaces to enhance faith and community and education for all ages including faith leaders. You can also watch a video on the event featuring the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams.

CIWEM has published a Faith and the Environment Digest has been published which features statements on the scriptures, teachings, and traditions on the views of nature from each of the major faiths. The digest is an interesting resource to help those from outside the faiths (and those from different faiths) understand the differences and similarities on their links with the environment. The digest features the faiths of Baha'i, Buddhism, Christianity, Daoism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, and Sikhism.

Hear Mary Colwell's views on the Pope's Westminster Hall lecture (17th September 2010) on her short videoblog.

Mo Khan from the FEN steering group welcomed Rt Honourable Greg Barker, MP for Battle & Bexhill and Climate Change Secretary to join in with his community's Eid ul Fitr celebration at the Bexhill Youth Centre. The Muslim community of Bexhill do not have a permanent place for their Jumuah and Taraweeh prayers and Eid celebration but they have recently found a property for a proposed mosque and Islamic Centre and are in the process of raising funds to purchase the property. Mr Barker has kindly volunteered to support their our appeal for funds when he visits UAE.

On 15th September Joanna Cooper and Laura Grant represented CIWEM at the Wyndham Place Charlemagne Trust conference on "Religion and Politics - Friends or Foes?"  The Keynote lecture was on Religion in Today's political world and given by Dr Scott M Thomas from the University of Bath.

CIWEM supported the 2010 Shrinking the Footprint conference at Lambeth Palace on the 30th June. Shrinking the footprint is the Church of England's national environmental campaign aimed at resourcing the Church's 44 dioceses (including the Diocese in Europe) and 16,000 churches to reduce their carbon footprint. The Church is committed to a Carbon reduction target of 80% by 2050, with an interim target of 42% by 2020. Shrinking the Footprint shares the good practice established in the many churches around the country.

CIWEM Director of International Development Paul Horton, and Policy Advisers Laura Grant and Joanna Cooper attended the Interfaith Declaration on Climate Change at COP15 in Copenhagen on the 9th of December. The press conference aimed to present a unified urgent message to the world on climate change. Sister Joan Brown, Imam Abdul Wahid Pederson, Dr. Stephen Shneider (IPCC author) and the Venerable Chang Ji all spoke of the crossroads between spirit and science. They encouraged all those present to go home and support their faith leaders to speak to their congregations on the ethics of climate change and raise the voice of human kind. "As concerned citizens we need to reclaim the planet, regardless of which religion we profess, it is our right to have a say in what is going on". Where media messages may only last for a day, messages from faith leaders can be embedded for years to come.

CIWEM Executive Director and member of the FEN steering group Nick Reeves attended the Faith and Environment seminar at Lambeth Palace on 29th October 2009.  The event was hosted by The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams and included addresses by  the Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, the Archbishop of Westminster Most Rev Vincent Nichols and Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks. Attendees of the seminar signed a statement which commits them to action in advance of, and beyond, the Copenhagen Climate Change summit, showing the common commitment of faith groups towards tackling climate change.

The 2009 CIWEM Dinner Debate was on the theme of faith and the environment. The event was hosted by CIWEM President, Ken Shapland and guest speaker Rt. Reverend Dr James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool led the discussion on whether the political leadership is in place to achieve the enormous social, cultural and environmental change required to avoid climate catastrophe.  The debate finished with a call for cooperation between all faiths to provide an ethical and environmental framework that will inspire urgent action on climate change.


FEN Resources

The December / January 2013 issue of WEM featured an article by Joanna Rowe discussing the role and importance of faith groups in the environment movement. 

CIWEM has produced a "Faiths and the Environment Digest" which provides a brief introduction to the views of faith groups on the environment and references some of their environmental teachings. It has been compiled with the help of the FEN and is also based on the work of WWF and ARC (Alliance of Religions and Conservation) that asked the major faith groupsi to provide a statement on their scriptures, teachings, and traditions on their views of nature.

View Nurture in His Name The first two films of a series aimed at helping clergy and congregations to understand practical steps that they can take - and the theological reasons why they should  - to be good environmental managers of their buildings and land.  The film is produced by Mary Colwell and David Shreeve of the FEN steering group.

View Faith and the Environment a compelling and beautiful short film on how an alliance between faith communities and science can be a powerful tool in saving wildlife, wild places and deal with climate change. The film was produced by Mary Colwell of the CIWEM FEN steering group and features commentary and views from among others Professor E O Wilson, Jonathan Porritt, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Tony Juniper.

Beyond the Tipping Point? is a film about climate change and the ways we respond to it. This is a resource for groups to use as discussions including faith groups.

Be inspired by a film of some of the environment projects undertaken by faith groups in UK, presented by David Shreeve from the FEN steering group.

See the documents side tab for a series of articles on Faith and the Environment that have featured in WEM Magazine.



FEN Links

  • The Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC) is a secular body that helps the major religions of the world to develop their own environmental programmes, based on their own core teachings, beliefs and practices.
  • Multi Faith Book is an excellent resource for sharing faith based events.
  • The Inter Faith Network for the UK promotes good relations between people of different faiths.
  • The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion is an academic research enterprise based at St Edmund's College, Cambridge. It organises seminars, short courses and scholarly research publications on science and religion and seeks to provide accurate information on science and religion for the international media and wider public.
  • Operation Noah is a Christian organisation informed by the science of climate change, motivated by our faith to care for creation and driven by the hope that our society can be transformed and enriched through radical change in lifestyles and patterns of consumption
  • The Catholic Coalition on Climate Change supports the US bishops' environmental justice program, opens dialogue about global warming and calls for protection of creation.
  • The Big Green Jewish Website is a resource for Jewish people and the on-line meeting point between Jewish and environmental ethics.
  • The World Council of Churches environmental programme on climate change and water.
  • The Quaker Council for European Affairs works to express a Quaker vision in matters of peace, human rights and economic justice in the European political context.
  • A Rocha is an international Christian nature conservation organisation with many resources such as Planetwise.
  • Eco-Congregation is an ecumenical programme helping churches make the link between environmental issues and Christian faith, and respond in practical action in the church, in the lives of individuals, and in the local and global community. The website has some extensive resources.
  • The Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences (IFEES) is a UK-based multi-dimensional organisation that produces educational materials, training and disseminates research to articulate the Islamic position on the environment.
  • The John Ray Initiative promotes environmental stewardship in accordance with Christian principles and wise use of science and technology.
  • Christian Ecology Link is an organisation for Christians concerned about care of the environment.
  • Catholic Earthcare Australia is an ecological agency established by the Australian Catholic Bishops's Conference.
  • Shrinking the Footprint is the Church of England's national environmental campaign.
  • The Faith based Regeneration Network is a multi-faith network for community development, community regeneration and social action.




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Chartered Institution of Water and
Environmental Management (CIWEM)

106-109 Saffron Hill, London, EC1N 8QS  
Tel: 020 7831 3110   Fax: 020 7405 4967