For many years, ARC and WWF have been concerned that the Catholic Church has not been very active in the environmental movement. Yet as the largest single organisation in the world, its potential has always been recognised as enormous.
We know that part of the reason the ecclesiastical leadership has felt uncertain about how to respond to the environmental movement, is because it seemed to clash with the Catholic theology of particular care and compassion for the poorest.
However in the past three years two things have happened:
1. The Church has become increasingly aware of how a deteriorating environment is felt, most immediately, by the people living in the greatest poverty, and thus it has become able to reconcile its concern for the poor with its concern for the planet.
2. There has been an astonishing example of lay leadership helping the Church uncover and understand its mission with respect to nature. For example in Bristol where Mary Colwell - a Catholic and a Senior BBC Nature producer - realised the Church needed to awaken to its ecological responsibilities. She started giving talks all around the country, and is one of the forces behind The Sound of Many Waters.
At a meeting between Mary Colwell, ARC and WWF-UK last September, the outlines of what has now become a national programme of Catholic churches and schools was agreed, of which the Sound of Many Waters is the launching point. And this is why WWF and ARC are honoured to be working with this major new initiative.
ARC is a secular organisation that works with 11 major religions on environment and conservation programmes around the world.