This is a movement originally conceived in 1988 on
the Isle of Patmos, at a meeting of environmental and religious
leaders. It was established out of concern for the water
environment of the planet, which covers seven-tenths of the
earth's surface. This concern is both theological and scientific,
and one of the underlying purposes of the movement is to establish
common ground on the implications and imperatives of this
ecological crisis between representatives of faith communities,
professional scientists, and environmental NGOs. The leading
spirit of "Religion, Science and the Environment" is His
All Holiness Bartholomew, Ecumenical Patriarch of the Christian
Orthodox Church of Constantinople.
The organisation's mission
is to raise awareness of pressing environmental issues and create
a wider involvement in environmental matters by mobilising the
world's religious leaders, scientists and environmentalists.
movement operates through Symposium study voyages, with several
hundred participants. Their aim is to debate the plight of the
world's waters; to visit sites of special concern; to meet
officials and NGO representatives in the countries visited; to
propose solutions; and to initiate schemes or institutions for
environmental co-operation and education.
There have so
far been five symposium voyages . The first one was held in 1995,
and travelled from Istanbul to the Monastery of St John the Divine
on Patmos, to commemorate the 1900th anniversary of the text of
the Apocalypse of St John. The second sailed round the Black Sea
in 1997, the third down the Danube River in 1999, the fourth along
the Adriatic coast in 2002, where His Holiness Pope John Paul II
and the Ecumenical Patriarch issued a joint "Venice
Declaration" on the need to protect the environment..
Symposium V sailed round the Baltic Sea in June 2003.
VI will 'sail' the Caspian Sea in September 2005.
RSE's methods is a core belief that the analytical tools of
science and the spiritual messages of religion must work in
harmony if the earth's environment is to be safeguarded against
further degradation. Additionally, the RSE symposia have achieved
significant outcomes for the regions, including: financial
commitments from international institutions; greater regional
co-operation among governments and non-governmental organisations;
the establishment of the Halki Ecological Institute, an
educational initiative to increase awareness and co-operation on
environmental issues among the regional states; and environmental
training for regional clergy, journalists, educators and youth.
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