Robert A. Rees & Martin Palmer
TUES, JULY 19, 2022 | 7:30-9:00 pm MST
Explore a bold new initiative that seeks to unify people of all faiths in a program of fasting and acting to save the planet.
IN-PERSON GATHERING AND VIA ZOOM:
Aimee & Bryant McConkie.
3373 S Oakwood St
Salt Lake City, Utah 84109
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Thanks to Jim and Judy and Bryant and Aimee McConkie for sharing their lovely McCompound home with us. And thanks to Jana Spangler for continuing to host us via Zoom—even when she can’t attend. Below is some helpful info for being part of a Zoom convo. I will also note below the Zoom address so that you can connect. If you are not on my email list then either join at the bottom of this site’s home page or text or call me at 801-695-5036.
From time immemorial, people of faith have turned to fasting as a means of gaining clarity, seeking divine help, and finding inner resources to address critical challenges. In addition, modern medical science has identified many salutary benefits of fasting. A new initiative, FastForward for the Future of the Planet, seeks to unite people of all faiths as well as the unaffiliated, in a practice of monthly fasting on behalf of the earth and all living things affected by global warming. Fasting and paying the equivalent cost of meals fasted into a global fund could produce substantial financial resources that could be used to address critical environmental issues, from clean air and water to droughts and food scarcity, to animal, insect, and forest disappearance.
At present, the world’s faiths, which together constitute 80% of the world’s population, is the largest Civil Society group addressing environmental issues worldwide. Contrary to popular belief there is a resurgence of interest in religion and spirituality among younger age groups across the world. Uniting this enormous spiritual and practical resource for the benefit of the planet could lead to a revolutionary approach to climate issues that affect all of humanity. That is the vision of FastForward.
Join us in a discussion with the founders of FastForward for the Future of the Planet, Martin Palmer and Bob Rees, in exploring an imaginative new initiative that has the potential to unite humanity in the common cause of saving the planet.
ABOUT MARTIN AND BOB:
Martin was born in Bristol, UK, in 1953 a city where his forebears have lived for over 500 years. After school, he worked in Hong Kong in a children’s home. In 1973 he went to Cambridge University to study Theology and Religious Studies. From there he went to develop the world’s first multi-faith education center in inner-city Manchester and headed the World Council of Churches’ program on education in a multi-faith world.
In 1985 HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, then the President of WWF International asked him to co-create the first ever meeting between leaders of five of the world’s major faiths (Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, and Islam) and the leading international conservation and environmental organizations. This meeting was held in Assisi Italy in 1986 and lead to the launch of faith-based environmental projects around the world. Martin was HRH The Duke of Edinburgh’s Religious Advisor on the Environment right through to the death of Prince Philip in May 2021.
By 1993 the UN estimated that the ground-breaking Assisi event had launched up to 150,000 faith-based environmental projects. In 1995 HRH and Martin created a new organization, the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC) which eventually ended up helping twelve world religions and within these over 700 faith traditions in developing their own faith-based environmental programs. In 2009 the UN described the faiths’ environment programs as the “largest civil society movement on the environment in the world.”
So successful has this been that in June 2019 HRH and Martin closed ARC and new organizations emerged from ARC.
• FaithInvest is working with the major faith investment groups worldwide helping them shift into pro-active environmental and sustainable development investing. Martin is the CEO of FaithInvest and its President. www.faithinvest.org
• The creation within WWF International of a worldwide program called Beliefs and Values of which Martin is Senior Advisor.
He is also senior advisor to the Pope on multi-faith and economic work with the world of the faiths as well as being a member of the Pope’s Covid Commission. He co-directs with the UNDP Nature-Based Solutions program the faith components of MOOCS on Green Entrepreneurship. He has been instrumental in creating the Laudato Si Entrepreneurship Programme in association with the Global Catholic Climate Movement and the Dicastery on the Potential for the Integrity of Human Development. He is designing with the British Government and many other organizations a specific faith program of long-term plans by upwards of two hundred faith traditions on climate change and wider ecological and economic issues as preparations for COP 26 and beyond and is special advisor to the British Government on faiths and COP 26. He is also designing with the World Bank Climate Investment Fund a specific faiths program for investment in their program.
He is a regular broadcaster on the BBC for example on In Our Time. He is also the foremost translator of Classical Chinese texts for Penguin Classics having translated many of the key religious, philosophical and historical texts of China. He is Visiting Professor in Religion, History and Nature at the University of Winchester and a Fellow of the Club of Rome. He has written over twenty books on subjects ranging from Chinese history; landscape archaeology; mythology; religion and nature and on his own spiritual journey and beliefs. He has edited or co-written a further thirty plus books on a wide range of topics including creating the first ever State of Religion Atlas detailing the religious, social, economic, and political impact of faith on the contemporary world.
He is a lay preacher in the Church of England and advisor of faith and environment issues to over twenty major conservation and religion networks around the world including the Daoist Environmental Temple Network; Eco-Sikh and the Bhumi Global (Hindu) network.
Robert (Bob) Rees, Ph.D., has taught at UCLA, UC Santa Cruz, UC Berkeley, and Graduate Theological Union, where he served as Director of Mormon Studies. He also taught at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, Lithuania, (1993-96) where he was a Fulbright Professor of American Studies. In addition to teaching and scholarship, Rees has served as Assistant Dean of Fine Arts and Director of Continuing Education in the Arts and Humanities at UCLA, Director of Studies for the UCLA-Cambridge Program and the UCLA Royal College of Art and Royal College of Music Programs in London. Long active in Interfaith work, Rees served as President of the Religious Studies Conference at UC Santa Cruz and as a board member of the Santa Cruz and Marin Interfaith Councils. He is the co-founder and current Vice-President of the Bountiful children’s Foundation, a humanitarian organization that addresses children’s malnutrition in the developing world.
Rees has published widely on Mormon and Religious Studies as well as on politics, culture, Literature, Education, the Arts, LGBT Studies and the environment. His most recent publications on the later include “Earth Stewardship: Our Work for the Unborn,” Sunstone 189 (Spring 2022); and “The Least of These: Jesus and Earth Stewardship,” Earth Federation News & Views (March 2019).
Rees was awarded a Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship (1960); Danforth Fellowship finalist (1960); UCLA Faculty Fellowship (1966-67), and a University of California Humanities Institute Fellowship (1968-69). He is recipient of the Lowell Bennion Award for Best Article from Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought; Allies Award from Affirmation; and four awards for the personal essay by the Eugene England Foundation.
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