December Newsletter

Greetings from FEN, the Faith Ecology Network, an Australian hub for strengthening an interfaith dialogue between science and religion.

Please help fund a FEN coordinator for 2022, so we can expand our work


“Our task must be to widen our circle of compassion, to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty” Albert Einstein

As 2021 draws to a close, it is a good time to reflect on the year from the Faith Ecology Network perspective. The impacts of COVID gave us the opportunity to think and act differently as we continued to highlight the WONDER of BIODIVERSITY with and through our networks. We have benefited from the expertise of Rev Jason John who was employed part-time as Communications Officer for 2021 thanks to a generous donation by the Parramatta Sisters of Mercy. This enabled us through the commitment and passion of the volunteer FEN Core Group and Steering Team, and the practical auspicing of the Sisters of Good Samaritan, to achieve much. 

The end of this year brings new beginnings in the next. You might be interested in how the Faith Ecology Network works. Our model is non-hierarchical and inclusive as we try to grow in our appreciation of Integrative Practice in caring for Earth our common home from our faith perspectives. The image below is of our leadership and vision which includes a Co-ordinator, a small Core Group and a larger Steering Team, all of whom are currently volunteers.  

The members are YOU who engage with our vision, goals and actions and may be people from diverse faith traditions, from the scientific community, or anyone who is interested. 

The THREE PRIORITIES in our plans for next year are:

  1. Fundraising to continue our important work. This will enable us to engage a part-time Co-ordinator.
  2. Map and grow our network of networks.
  3. Increase engagement in our Ten Ways Faith Groups Can Care for Biodiversity resource

THANK YOU to Jason John as he concludes his role as Communications Officer with FEN for 2021. There is no doubt that without him we would not have been able to achieve what we have. He has enabled us to be on the footing that leads us forward on our next steps. He has written a great farewell letter which he will send out next week.  It is similar to what I have just written, which just shows how collaborative we have been.

THANK YOU to all of you. Together we look forward to our challenges and the contributions we can all make, physically and financially as we uphold care for Earth our Common Home.  

Anne Lanyon, Faith Ecology Network Co-ordinator


The Reef: Deep Listening, Heeding the Science, Acting Faithfully

On 14 Sept, FEN took up the challenge presented by Prof. Lesley Hughes and her colleagues in their report on ecosystem collapse in Australia by holding an online event on one of our most loved ecosystems, The Great Barrier Reef. This is a crucial issue to be faced.

Two First Nations people from different parts of the Reef, Myree Sam, a Sui-Baydham woman from the Torres Strait, and Gudju Gudju Fourmile, a Gimuy Walibara Yidinji elder from the Cairns area shared deep knowledge of sustainable practices/protocols and connectedness to The Reef related to Land, Sea and Sky. We non-Indigenous people have so much to learn from them if we but open our minds, engage and listen.

We also heard from Dr Jon C. Day from the ARC Centre for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University. For many years he was involved in many aspects of planning and managing the Great Barrier Reef and spoke about the many challenges. In the breakout sessions which followed, this pertinent question was raised: “Is there a sense that our loss of spiritual connection to the land, sea and sky has created what is affecting the Barrier Reef and the whole Earth? How can we help people regain that connection?” It was a key question which led to the next FEN event.

Restoring Biodiversity - Faiths Acting Locally

“Biodiversity is the story of the land (sea and sky) and it tells the story through time,” Jayden Walsh.    
On Nov 10th FEN conducted another online event which presented some of the positive restoration and conservation actions in which people are engaged.  FEN member and Bundjalung woman, Lisa Buxton helped us begin by acknowledging Country wherever we were.

It was significant that the President of the United Nations Association of Australia NSW Division, Patricia Jenkings, opened the event because 2021 began the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration, and the first part of the UN COP15 on Biodiversity had recently been concluded on Oct 15th. (As an aside, while the UN COP26 on Climate Change justifiably received a lot of attention, the COP 15 and resultant Kunming Statement hardly recieved any).  

The input part of the program featured four people from the Northern Beaches of Sydney, a peri-urban area which has been particularly rich in biodiversity adjacent to national parks but impacted by expanding development, and another group from the Blue Mountains, a World Heritage area. They were:  Marita Macrae, long time active in bush regeneration; Jayden Walsh, young self-taught naturalist; Jessica Yuille, founder of the Brahma Kumaris twenty year Bushcare and more recent meditative garden projects; Bill Thomas, volunteer in the Bahai’i Bushcare project, and Anne Lanyon, a coordinator of the St Anthonys Terrey Hills Sacred Forest Landcare project. The videos may be viewed at . 

Participants then broke into 9 workshops to explore the following practical ways of restoring and protecting biodiversity: Sharing Home with Pollinators and Pets with Sr Valda Dickensen, Catholic; Native Bees with David Low, Jewish; Reducing Meat Consumption with Vijai Singhal, Hindu; Guardians of the Platypus Project with Sue Martin, Catholic; Parish Bush Regeneration with Ann Ellis, Anglican; Community Composting with Peta Cox, Quaker; Forest Monasteries as Habitat for Rare and Endangered Plants and Animals with Ayya Yeshi, Buddhist; Cleaning up a Creek with Nina Ajaj, Muslim; and Learning from First Nations Peoples with Alison Overeem, Palawa woman from the Uniting Church.

Participants were impressed by the diversity of actions that many people are involved in.  Marita and Jayden from no particular faith background were surprised to learn of these actions, surprised to learn about FEN, and encouraged by this in their own work.  Our goals for next year and into the future are to grow these actions in faith communities and to grow the dialogue and learning between the faith and the science communities. We encourage you all to be part of achieving these goals.



On October 18th, FEN member, Philippa Rowland, President of the Multifaith Association of South Australia, led a presentation, Biodiversity Matters: Indigenous Wisdom, Integral Ecology, Compassion and Non-Violence, at the 2021 Parliament of World Religions. Anne Lanyon was also proud to give a brief outline of FEN using our video.
On October 17 and 18, several FEN members joined in the ARRCC (Australia’s Religious Response to Climate Change)/ GreenFaith International Faiths 4 Climate Justice action. 

Strengthening an interfaith dialogue between science and religion in the interests of advancing ecological consciousness and care for the Earth

The Faith Ecology network aims:

  • To share mutual appreciation of religious traditions regarding ecological insights
  • To discern and foster religious reasons for advocacy

Through the network we share the experience of religious and cultural diversity which enhances the depths of one’s own religious tradition. We grow in understanding of the connections between faith and ecology. We build up networks within and between faith traditions and environmentalists.

We would love your support to employ a P/T facilitator to help grow FEN. 

help us fund a coordinator for 2022 to expand our work
Learn more about FEN
Copyright © 2021 Faith Ecology Network, All rights reserved.

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