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This section highlights a variety of initiatives I’ve been involved in over the last few years. It also flags up new perspectives that inspire me as well as issues that reflect my current thinking.

Faiths and Environment

‘Green Spaces for Faith – Discovering the social, health and economic benefits’ was a small project between the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers and LB Tower Hamlets Interfaith Forum. It was part of a Faith in Action initiative, a government small grants scheme with an overarching aim of building better understanding amongst people of different faiths and those of no faith.

“Local green spaces have many functions, including being a ‘breathing space’ in a noisy, overcrowded urban environment. They can be a place to play, walk and exercise, to socialise with friends, and to appreciate nature. They can remind people of their past or cultural connections. Throughout the world’s religions, there are many references to gardens, parks, trees, animals, birds and the natural world. But green space can also be seen negatively due to safety concerns, accessibility issues and fear of the unknown.” (Extract from the Introduction to a resource booklet, ‘Stepping Forward Together’ encouraging faiths involvement in local green space issues).

The 24 page booklet, written by Jan McHarry, was designed to spur further action after the end of the project. A PDF can be downloaded here. A small number of hard copies are still available, contact Jan.

Jan also contributed a session on using green spaces to enhance faith and community to a Lambeth Palace Interfaith Seminar on environment and sustainability (March 2011).

She has a personal interest in how access to green space, gardens and the natural environment can enhance the wellbeing and resilience of people at vulnerable stages in their life. Recommended reading includes material by the Sensory Trust and Thrive.

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Recent Activities

A snapshot of work and projects:

  • Faiths and Environment research and projects
  • Project grant assessor for Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) Local Energy Assessment Fund (LEAF) Spring 2012.
  • Tower Hamlets Interfaith Forum Community Energy Project
  • Support to CEA and external projects requiring internet research and reporting skills

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