Press Conference Microphones

Take action today for people and planet

 Seven Key Areas 

5. Media and advocacy

How do faiths communicate their message? There are many methods, but the secular media are often a useful partner. There is often a ready audience to hear positive news on faiths which are advancing the environmental agenda – but how can that audience be engaged?

Our world  is irreplaceable. Let’s save it.

Some areas to consider as you develop your Faith Plan

A. ENGAGING THE MEDIA – AND YOUR OWN PEOPLE

  1. To what extent are your media outlets engaging in environmental issues?

  2. Have you thought about both internal and external advocacy within and outside of your faith community?

  3. Do your newsletters, radios, newspapers, TV stations, websites and social media outlets have sections on ecology? Are they using their editorial authority to promote simpler living, and looking after the natural environment with more care?

  4. Could your website have a special section, blog, or picture gallery on the development of your Faith Plan?

  5. If you do not have access to digital media platforms, how will you creatively go about sharing your work and progress? Is there a way to access partnerships with local radio stations or newspapers, for example?

  6. Are your faith values clear in what you publicly advocate?

  7. Have you thought about the audience you wish to reach and inspire?

Conference Event

B. INFLUENCE

  1. How do you influence your government on its environmental priorities? What extra influence could you wield?

  2. Do you have any level of media access to national broadcasting networks where you could raise these issues in, for example, a weekly religious affairs programme?

  3. Is there capacity for a specific influencer role within your plan, someone who can concentrate on working with national/local authorities on environmental action?

  1. This initiative is guided by a Confucian saying: “First practise what you want to preach; then preach about what you already practise.” Now that you are active, you are in a position to ask others to be active as well and take these issues as seriously as you do. Could you lobby your politicians – whether local, national or regional – as well as your directors, head teachers, and religious leaders to help stop climate change and the destruction of the natural environment?

  2. How will you make your environmental theology and work understandable to those of non-faith backgrounds, so they can engage?

  3. Will the advocacy work you engage with involve extra funding? If so, where will this be sourced?

Folded Newspapers

C. ADVOCACY

  1. This initiative is guided by a Confucian saying: “First practise what you want to preach; then preach about what you already practise.” Now that you are active, you are in a position to ask others to be active as well and take these issues as seriously as you do. Could you lobby your politicians – whether local, national or regional – as well as your directors, head teachers, and religious leaders to help stop climate change and the destruction of the natural environment?

  2. How will you make your environmental theology and work understandable to those of non-faith backgrounds, so they can engage?

  3. Will the advocacy work you engage with involve extra funding? If so, where will this be sourced?

On Air Sign

D. GUIDES and HANDBOOKS

  1. Could you draw together, from your audits and educational materials, guides or handbooks (on paper, on the web, on mobile phones or on audio or video) for the faithful on how to live more simply and environmentally – with practical suggestions drawn from your experience?

  2. How could guides and handbooks be developed through your publishing houses or through your websites?

  3. Have you considered the geographical extent of your faith community or organisations you engage with? Have you considered producing content in several languages to be inclusive of a wider group of people?

Holy Bible

E. MATERIALS

  1. What more could your media – your newspapers, newsletters, radio stations, websites and social media output, and the printers of your holy books, pamphlets and brochures – do to protect the natural environment in terms of the materials they use? There are, for example, some 125 million New Testaments and 72 million Bibles printed every year, so an environmental strategy in printing and distribution would have a powerful impact. If you have publishing houses have you examined their impact on the environment?

  2. Do you know the science of the materials you use and their impacts on the environment?

  3. How might changing materials impact your finances?

  4. Have you carried out an assessment of where your materials are coming from? Could they be sourced more locally?

Bahá’ís explain how they make use of the media for the good of wider humanity

 CASE STUDY 

 THE BAHA'I' COMMUNITY 

The Bahá’í community is very dispersed, reaching out to around five million people in 100,000 places globally. So how it communicates with its members is critical in building a sense of community. 

 

Bahá’ís are sophisticated users of all forms of media, from newsletters, publications and websites to radio stations and even film. But disseminating information to their own community is not the only – or even the main – reason why Bahá’í's use different forms of media, both internally and externally.

 

Their overarching goal is to advance human progress, and they believe the media is a critical part of this process. ‘The starting framing for all the activities of the Bahá’í community is based on an orientation of service,’ explains Daniel Perell, the Bahá’í International Community's representative to the United Nations. 'In this regard, the media is another way of advancing the development efforts of our community.’ 

And several Bahá’í writings support the use of media to contribute to societal harmony and to stimulate discussion.

Spreading the word: An experimental agricultural plot at the University Center for Rural Well-Being in Jamundi-Robles, Colombia. News of activities such as this, which benefit the community as well as advancing Bahá’ís' environmental goals, is spread on the faith's network of radio stations 

Read the full story
Cambodia tree defender 4998521808_08ffa2

CASE STUDY
Cambodian Buddhists
see their tree defence strategy go viral

Read more

CASE STUDY
Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus produce guides for greener practices 

Read more
River

CASE STUDY
Changing mindsets
in the community –
an Armenian story

Click here

Indonesian Muslims achieve global acclaim for fatwa on illegal wildlife trade

 CASE STUDY 

 Indonesian Ulema Council 

The global decline in endangered species has preoccupied wildlife groups for decades. With growing awareness of the crisis facing our climate and biodiversity, religions are increasingly concerned to do what they can to limit the harm human beings are doing to the planet.

 

Hence the move by Muslims in Indonesia, one of the nations with the richest diversity of wildlife on the planet, to take a stand against the exploitation of rare species.

The story began in 2013, when a university – Universitas Nasional Indonesia (UNAS) – as well as two environmental groups, and representatives from Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry asked Indonesia’s top Muslim clerical body, the Indonesian Ulema Council, to issue a fatwa on how Muslims should protect wildlife. 

‘'A fatwa provides certainty on how Islamic teaching can guide you on a particular subject,’ explains Dr Fachruddin Majeri Mangunjaya, chairman of the Centre for Islamic Studies and lecturer at UNAS. 

 

The Fatwa for the Conservation of Endangered Animals for the Balance of Ecosystems was published in 2014 and forbids (under Islamic law) the hunting, killing, or harming of endangered species, except in self defence. It was a global first and attracted enormous international press coverage.

Protected: A Sunda tiger, one of only 400 or so remaining on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

The Indonesian government supported Dr Fachruddin and his team took part in regular press events, and made use of social media to reach as many people as possible.

 

But how did they ensure the message filtered down to their own communities in Indonesia?

Interested in finding out more?

If your organisation is interested in learning more about the Faith Plans programme, please contact us. And don't forget to sign up to our newsletters to be notified of new resources and webinars.

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