RCBWG Best Practices Survey Closing Soon!

BEST PRACTICES SURVEY CLOSES SEPTEMBER 10: Contribute NOW to Positive Ways of Engaging Religious-Spiritual Communities in Conserving Biological Diversity

If you have worked on a project with a leader or group affiliated with a religious or spiritual community, share your experience by September 10 through SCB’s Best Practices Survey. Your input will help other SCB members who need and want the support of religious-spiritual communities for their efforts.   

The Religion and Conservation Biology (RCB) Working Group of SCB is seeking the input of all members on successful practices for relating to and working with religious-spiritual leaders and communities on local to global projects. To identify these best practices, a survey was initiated on May 31 to collect data on experiences (positive and negative). This short survey is the first step toward creating guidelines for interacting constructively with religious-spiritual leaders and communities when researching and practicing biological conservation.

After these data are collected, SCB members who have participated in the survey will be selected to share their best practices during a symposium at the 2017 ICCB in Cartagena, Colombia. All members will have an opportunity after the symposium to participate in a workshop during which guidelines for establishing a working relationship with religious-spiritual leaders and communities will be drafted. The results of this workshop will be formatted and submitted to the SCB Board of Governors by January 2018 for consideration and action. If approved, the guidelines will be circulated to all SCB members.

Plans after the ICCB in Cartagena include focus groups at regional meetings during the summer of 2018, a symposium at the 2019 ICCB to highlight successful collaborations using the guidelines, presentations at the American Academy of Religion and other academic groups, and networking with environmental organizations. Identification of network possibilities is underway to discover guidelines and codes that other professional organizations have established. Among them are the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Alliance for Religions and Conservation, Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas, International Union for Conservation of Nature, Delos Initiative, International Society of Ethnobiology, Sacred Natural Sites Initiative, and World Wildlife Fund.

Please enter the Best Practices Survey by September 10, tell us about your experiences, and recommend positive ways of conducting research and/or practicing conservation strategies in areas where the support and involvement of religious leaders and communities are desirable. Your input is vital toward establishing a set of guidelines aimed at achieving successful research and practice outcomes that are sensitive to religious traditions.

For further information, contact Jame Schaefer and Sue Higgins who are co-leading this project for the RCB Working Group.