Religion and Conservation Biology
The SCB Religion and Conservation Biology (RCB) Working Group unites academics, practitioners, and other professionals from around the world. It was established in 2007 by Tom Baugh with aims to strengthen the collaboration between faith traditions and conservation, and promote awareness of the importance of this collaboration within SCB and the conservation community, based on empirical evidence.
To join the Religion and Conservation Biology Working Group you must be an active member of the Society for Conservation Biology. If you are an SCB member, simply log into your member profile webpage and follow the “My Society Involvement” link on the right-hand-side of the page to add the RCB to your groups.
If you would like to formally join the Working Group and you are not a member, you can start here.
For any further questions, and if you would like to become more closely involved, do not hesitate to contact us.
RCBWG sessions at ICCB 23-27 July 2017 in Cartagena, Colombia
The RCBWG will contribute to an exciting line-up of events at the ICCB in Cartagena that focus on faith-conservation synergies. Come meet the enthusiastic members of our working group and celebrate the Assisi Award and SCB Distinguished Service Award recipients with us!
Sessions and events organized by the RCBWG or related to RCBWG projects:
Sunday, July 23rd
16:30-18:30 Opening Ceremony, Presentation of the first-ever Assisi Award
Monday, July 24th
10-11:30 a.m., Symposium #12, Engaging Members of Faith Communities in Conservation Research and Practice: Results of Phase #1 of the Best Practices Project
1:30-2:30 p.m., Workshop #11, Drafting Best Practice Guidelines for Engaging Faith Communities in Conservation Projects: Phase #2 of the Best Practices Project
Thursday, July 27th
1-2 p.m., RCB Meet-and-Greet in honor of Assisi Award announcement and SCB Distinguished Service Award recipients
Other sessions and events relevant to faith and conservation:
Tuesday, July 25th
1-2:30 p.m., Lunchtime Plenary, Religion & Conservation: A place for collaboration, organized by SCB’s Diversity Committee
Wednesday, July 26th
TBA, Symposium #191, Challenges and opportunities in using a biocultural diversity conservation framework
1:30-2:30 p.m., Workshop #248, Faith-based conservation 2.0: Exploring new directions in theory, policy and practice
Please note that times are subject to change as the conference schedule is finalized.
We'll also be Live Tweeting #ICCB2017 from @ReligionConBio!
March 14, 2017
An article by Jame Schaefer was published in Frontiers in Marine Science on the New Hope for the Oceans Forum at the International Marine Conservation Congress in Newfoundland/Labrador on 31 July 2016 featuring the Best Practices Project of the RCBWG.
Science alone cannot protect the oceans and their biological diversity. Whereas, scientists can identify problems and empirical steps toward their resolution, support for research, problem solving, and implementation of solutions must come from societal sources. Among the most promising are religious communities whose members are motivated by their faith to collaborate with marine scientists in achieving shared goals. Many reasons prevail for engaging faith communities in mitigating assaults on the oceans and protecting them from threats to their functioning. Participants in the open forum convened by the Religion and Conservation Biology Working Group of the Society for Conservation Biology during the 4th International Marine Conservation Congress shared their insights on (1) why and how marine researchers and conservation practitioners can best involve faith communities, (2) actions and attitudes that deter constructive engagement with faith communities, and (3) ways forward that the SCB should consider facilitating. Among ways forward identified are the Best Practices Project initiated recently by the RCBWG, adding cultural values and ethics as disciplines SCB members should probe when addressing conservation problems, regularly including cultural values and ethics in panels with other disciplines at international and regional SCB congresses, and appointing an associate editor of SCB publications who will assure the inclusion of articles in which religious and spiritual worldviews, values, and ethics are integrated with the conservation sciences.
Religion and Conservation Biology Working Group Releases Summation of Best Practices Survey on Engaging Faith Communities
December 16, 2016
A summation of the Religion and Conservation Biology Working Group's (RCBWG) Best Practices Survey of SCB members on engaging faith communities is now available. Conducted on behalf of RCBWG from May 31-September 10, the survey results underscore the benefits to conserving biological diversity when researchers and practitioners relate positively to faith leaders and communities.
Respondents to the survey also shared their approaches to engaging leaders and members of faith communities in ways that might be helpful to other SCB members. Societal support for conservation has become increasingly vital for approval, collaboration, and advocacy of scientific solutions aimed at mitigating threats to the loss of biological diversity on the land and in the water. Results of the survey point to religious and native faith communities as allies in this quest.
Prepared by Jame Schaefer (Marquette University) and Susan Higgins (Center for Large Landscape Conservation) who serve on the RCBWG Board, “Best Practices Survey—Promising First Step toward Developing Guidelines” provides an overview of the responses to ten questions submitted by thirty-nine SCB members who have engaged leaders and members of faith communities in conservation projects. The faith communities represent the major world religions--Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism--and a diversity of native spiritualities including Australian Aborigine and Native American.
The projects on which SCB members reported occurred on all continents except Antarctica. Among the foci are aging polar bears, bison, climate change, coral rehabilitation, fish, iguana, kangaroo, rattlesnakes, terrestrial vertebrates, wildlife used for bush meat, forest management and restoration, restoration of rivers, and protective management of shrines and sacred places.
The Best Practices Survey was launched by the RCBWG as the first step of the three-year Best Practices Project aimed at producing guidelines for SCB members to consider when planning and conducting conservation research and application. During the second step proposed for ICCB 2017, the successful practices of some SCB members who participated in the survey will be highlighted in a symposium followed by a workshop during which best practices guidelines will be drafted. They will be refined subsequently, processed through several iterations, and presented to the SCB Board of Governors for recommending to SCB members.
Contact Jame Schaefer and/or Sue Higgins for additional information about the Best Practices Project.
The RCB Board of Directors is excited to welcome four new board members!
Fabrizio Frascaroli (President)
Giulia Sajeva (Vice President)
Ashley Massey (Secretary)
Chantal Elkin (Treasurer)
New RCBWG President Fabrizio Frascaroli is excited to build on progress the Working Group has gained in recent years under the leadership of Stephen Awoyemi.
"I am truly honored to have been elected president of such an impressive board," Frascaroli said. "The atmosphere within the RCBWG has been one of increasing enthusiasm and motivation over the last few years. I am sure the new board members will be able to contribute new ideas and skills to further the group’s activities, while confirmed members will guarantee the needed continuity with the positive work done in past years."
"I can only express all of my gratitude to outgoing board member Allen Ottaro for his stimulating inputs, and especially to outgoing president Stephen Awoyemi who has spent so much energy for the RCBWG, making it an established reality within SCB,“ he said.
The Working Group is grateful for all candidates who participated in the election: Fabrizio Frascaroli, Aluri Jacob Solomon Raju, Giulia Sajeva, Ashley Massey, Vania Rebeca Olmos Lau, and Chantal Elkin. We greatly appreciate everyone's willingness to serve and we look forward to all candidates' continued participation in the RCB Working Group.
We thank everyone who cast votes in this election!
Finally, we'd also like to take this opportunity to thank all RCB members for being a part of our working group. Your support and participation is critical to our ability to strengthen the dialogue between faith traditions and conservation and to promote awareness of the importance of this dialogue within SCB and the conservation community.
Prayer Animal Release Can Embody Conservation Principles
Media and others seeking additional inforation may contact Stephen Awoyemi, president of the Society for Conservation Africa Section and SCB's Religion and Conservation Biology Working Group. Kit Magellan at the University of Hong Kong is available for media outlets in Asia.
‘Assisi Award’ for Faith-based Conservation
Download the nomination form here.