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School of Geography

Reconnecting with nature: a faith perspective

Time: 5pm, Tuesday 12 November 2013
Venue: Rupert Beckett Lecture Theatre, Michael Sadler Building, University of Leeds

ALL WELCOME TO ATTEND – Refreshments Provided

Guest speakers: Fazlun Khalid, Emma Clark and Mark Bryant

Humans have had a major impact on the planet’s natural environment, and this looks set to increase in the future. For example the recently released report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that there is 95% chance that human interference has markedly altered the Earth’s climate system. Yet still, we continue to alter the natural systems of the planet that is our home. As environmental activists point out ‘there is no planet B’. How can we change this? About 85% of the world’s population profess a faith, and most faiths contain a strong connection between human kind, nature and divinity. Does this connection offer the potential for changing our individual and collective behaviour towards the global changes we are making?  A series of three talks will address this from an Islamic perspective and offer suggestions rooted in scripture to enhance engagement with nature to enable, it is hoped, a healing of the planet.

  1. Reconnecting with nature – an Islamic perspective, Fazlun Khalid
  2. The Islamic garden as an opportunity for bridge-building between cultures, Emma Clark
  3. Are British Muslims green? Mark Bryant

Fazlun Khalid is synonymous with the eco-Islam movement. He is considered one of the top 15 leading eco-theologians in the world and appeared on the Independent on Sunday list of the top 100 environmentalists in the UK in 2008.   He is also listed amongst the “500 Most Influential Muslims in the World” by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre of Jordan.  In 1994, he founded the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences (IFEES) in the UK, an organization that is now considered one of the leading Islamic NGOs of its kind in the world. Before starting IFEES, Khalid served with the Royal Air Force and worked for the British interior ministry. He was born in Sri Lanka in 1932 but has lived in Great Britain for many years.

Emma Clark is a well-established international garden designer, known for specialising in Islamic gardens as well as gardens from other faith traditions.  She is also a senior tutor and lecturer on the post-graduate Visual Islamic and Traditional Arts (VITA) Programme at The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts, London. Emma has published many articles on Islamic art, architecture and garden design as well as two books: The ‘Art of the Islamic Garden’ and ‘Underneath which Rivers Flow: Symbolism of the Islamic Garden.’ Emma was assistant to the designer of the HRH the Prince of Wales’ Carpet Garden exhibited at the 2001 Chelsea Flower Show.  Further details of her work are available via the website

Mark Bryant works as Development Officer for the Centre for the Study of Islam, University of Cardiff.  In 2010, he was involved in a research project for Botanic Gardens Conservation International, ‘Islamic Gardens in the UK - Dynamics of Conservation Culture’. Mark continues to be involved in research about biodiversity conservation and ecological sustainability from an Islamic perspective and is currently active in the development of a community garden project with a local Islamic social services provider in Cardiff. Born in Zambia he has had a long association with environmental issues.

Directions to Venue: The Rupert Beckett Lecture Theatre is located in the Michael Sadler Building near the University Parkinson Building.  Directions to the Parkinson Building are available here.

Parking: Free parking will be available in the Orange Zone of the Visitors Car Park which is situated within 10 minutes walking distance from the venue. Directions are available here.

The event is free to attend but booking is advised. You can book a place here. For further details please contact Rizwan Nawaz