Entitled “Caring for the Earth, Transforming Lives: Linking Faith & Natural Regeneration,” the event will be held at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva as well as online.
Participants will explore the ways in which nature has a remarkable regenerative, self-healing capacity. Then they will consider questions such as: How do we encourage our societies to work with, rather than against nature? What practical examples can we learn from, encourage, and amplify?
The workshop will begin with reflections and devotions from several faith traditions. After that, the stage will be set for input from initiatives that foster natural regeneration in various forms—sustainable food systems, reforestation, and other land-related actions that improve livelihoods, promote climate mitigation, and adaptation resilience, soil erosion prevention, conservation agriculture, and safeguarding biodiversity.
Among the speakers is Australian agronomist Tony Rinaudo, who received the 2018 Right Livelihood Award for developing a technique that helps regrow trees in places where forests had been chopped down. He pioneered a technique called Farmer Managed Natural, (FMNR) a low-cost land restoration technique used to combat poverty and hunger amongst poor subsistence farmers by increasing food and timber production and resilience to climate extremes. He has inspired farmers to carry on this work and the method has been adopted in several countries around the world, including in West Africa, where Rinaudo worked for almost two decades as a missionary. Today, 18 million hectares of dry land have been restored using Rinaudo’s or a related method.
Rev. Dr Kenneth Mtata, WCC program director for Public Witness and Diakonia, said that WCC member churches stand to gain groundbreaking knowledge and creative insights by participating in the seminar. In such initiatives, the church is participating in the God’s continuing creative work.
“This collaborative discussion, which will couple cutting edge information about regeneration techniques with deeper theological reflection, could have a positive ripple effect in local churches and communities,” he said. “We look forward to opening our hearts and minds to the science, the testimonies, and the prayers of those who are regenerating the earth in many ways, from agriculture to food systems to biodiversity.”
The meeting is being co-organised by the World Council of Churches, Right Livelihood, Global EverGreening Alliance, Earth Trusteeship Working Group, Health of Mother Earth Foundation, World Vision International, and OikoDiplomatique.
Interpretation to Spanish, Portuguese and French will be provided.