LETTER: Faith and the environment

From Dr L. M. Singhvi

Sir: Richard D. North (Faith and Reason, 29 April) wrongly suggests that the Bible or, for that matter, any ancient scriptural text of any religious tradition cannot serve as a modern "management manual" for the environment problems of our planet Earth.

He is also wrong in suggesting that the Conference on Religion and Conservation being held in Windsor Castle can only be "an agreeable and meaningless freebie". He is wrong because religions of the world are not fossils, they are a living legacy. They have a hold on the minds and hearts and daily lives of millions of men, women and children.

Nor is the production of a "management manual" a litmus test of the efficacy of religions in the matter of humankind's ecological concerns. Religious traditions have the great potential to serve as sources of inspiration for a more responsible, compassionate and "faithful" approach to modern environment ethics.

Let us also not forget that environmental reason and environmental faith are two sides of the same coin, and faith communities can certainly help in many different ways to create a culture of environmental priorities without which no "management manual" can be produced. The Alliance of Religion and Conservation being formed at the Windsor summit might yet produce a modern management manual not only for the faithful but for all the peoples of the world.

Yours faithfully,


High Commissioner for India

London, W8

1 May