Nature has a spiritual value for many people, whether they belong to an organised religion or not. For those who are members of religions, a love of nature is often central to their faith.
In November 2015 Mary Colwell-Hector, an award winning radio, TV and internet producer, radio presenter and writer for The Tablet, gave a talk at the New Networks for Nature conference on how important world religions are for conservation. Here is a an extract of her talk:
Curlew (Copyright Andreas Trepte)
It actually turns out that Numenius is in fact related to the new moon, a reference to the shape of the curlew’s bill, and arquata means shaped like a bow. So the Latin name for curlew is defined by its beautifully curved bill. But I was happy to go with the philosopher because he makes an important point.
For much of the world religion plays a very important role in people’s lives. It is only in western Europe that we feel faith is personal and not to be talked about in public. For the rest of the world religion defines individuals and communities, even whole countries. This is a pie chart showing the percentage of different religions worldwide.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings