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Religious Campaign for Forest Conservation (RCFC)


Abstract The Religious Campaign for Forest Conservation (RCFC) is a coalition of religious organizations that have joined together out of a shared concern for forests. Consisting of churches, synagogues, and para-religious organizations, RCFC considers forest conservation to be a religious issue. Critical of the utilitarian values and commercial interests that shape forest policy, RCFC seeks to draw attention to the non-economic value of forests. RCFC has composed a series of advisory statements and policy positions based on religious principles that were collectively identified by religious leaders and organizations involved in the Campaign. These policy positions include: the cessation of logging in old-growth forests and of commercial logging on public land, the use of industry subsidies for forest restoration, and the participation of churches and synagogues in forest conservation efforts. In a national declaration composed in 2000 entitled “Preserving Our Forest Heritage”, RCFC draws upon scripture to articulate a religious vision of forests, identifies new principles for forest care based on the non-economic value of forests, and presents ten steps for restoring forests. RCFC runs a variety of programs that provide opportunities for people to experience the spiritual value of forests and other wilderness areas first-hand. Its primary program, “Opening the Book of Nature,” is based on the Christian tradition of gaining spiritual insight from nature and has led to the development of a new program that aims to explore and articulate the religious values of wilderness. In addition, RCFC offers leadership training seminars, conferences, and volunteer advocacy opportunities, such as the Washington Week Legislator Education program. RCFC recognizes outstanding work on behalf of forest conservation with its “Steward of the Forest” awards, and publishes resource materials such as a Hymnal called Creation Song and a handbook on the spiritual values of wilderness. RCFC also houses one of the largest libraries on religion and ecology in the country. Through its Reform the World Bank Initiative, RCFC seeks to effect a change in the World Bank’s lending policies to poor countries in order to prevent rampant deforestation and environmental destruction. Through this initiative, RCFC is supporting a major reforestation effort in northern Mexico. In addition to making videos on religion and ecology as part of its media project, RCFC is currently collecting literature from around the world for an anthology of writings about the spirituality of nature.
Religion Inter-religious
Geographic Location United States of America
Duration of Project 1998–Present
History The Religious Campaign for Forest Conservation grew out of Green Cross, which was dropped by its parent organization, Evangelicals for Social Action, in 1997. When it disbanded, the Director of Green Cross, Fred Krueger, decided to continue two of its programs: Opening the Book of Nature and advocating for religious responsibility for forests. Krueger and other facilitators from the Opening the Book of Nature program decided to form a new organization that would bring together a variety of religious groups to explore and emphasize the religious values of forests in order to counter the narrowly utilitarian worldview underlying current forestry policies. The RCFC was born. After an initial period of exploration, participants drew up a set of advisory statements that addressed such issues as the theological dimensions of forests and forest conservation strategies. These statements eventually became a national declaration entitled “Preserving Our Forest Heritage: A Declaration on Forest Conservation for the 21st Century,” signed in December of 2000 at the Cradle of Forestry in the Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina. The Reform the World Bank Initiative was also launched in 2000. In 2001, RCFC expanded the Spiritual Value of Wilderness programs with the addition of several new sites for wilderness exploration trips, published a Handbook and Hymnal, and started a weekly electronic information service to keep subscribers up-to-date on forestry issues. In 2002, RCFC made a video about the spiritual value of wilderness for use in religious congregations, expanded and further publicized the Opening Book of Nature program, and held a conference on environmentalism from the perspective of the Orthodox Church. At present, RCFC is working on an Open Letter to President Bush, in which national religious leaders call for an end to commercial logging in United States (US) National Forests, which it hopes to release in February of 2004.
Mission Statement None Listed
Partner Organizations RCFC works with numerous groups across the religious spectrum on a variety of issues and projects.
Long-Term Goals None Listed
Bibliography None Listed
Additional Research Resources None Listed
Contact Information Religious Campaign for Forest Conservation
409 Mendocino Avenue, Suite A
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
Ph:       707.573.3162
Email: (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)