Thursday, 17 November 2016,
18:00 to 20:00
Waterfront Building, Ipswich
The lecture starts at 18:00 with registration from 17:30.
Martin Palmer is a theologian (MA Cantab), author, translator, broadcaster and environmentalist.
He has been Secretary General of the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC), a secular non-governmental organisation which he and His Royal Highness Prince Philip started in 1995. ARC helps religions to develop environmental and conservation projects based on their own beliefs and practices. It works with 12 major religions including over 60 different Christian traditions ranging from the Catholic Church to the New Psalmist Baptists in the USA to the Greek Orthodox church leadership. ARC also works with international secular organisations such as the United Nations, The Nature Conservancy, the World Bank and WWF. One example of ARC’s work is in the area of green pilgrimage. Working with major pilgrimage centres around the world ARC helped them develop handbooks on how to be greener – both for pilgrims and for places along the route and at the pilgrim centre, including helping Tiger sanctuaries in India cope with the sometimes million or more pilgrims that pass through to temples at certain festivals. It is now in partnership with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s R20 organisation and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation to draw green investment into environmental transformation of pilgrimage city infrastructures.
Martin is the author of more 20 than books on religious and environmental topics such as Sacred Land, Faith and Conservation, Travels through Sacred China, The Atlas of Religions and has edited many books including The Times Atlas of The History of World Religions. His work on sacred sites worldwide has won awards and his book Sacred Britain has been a bestseller.
He is also one of the foremost translators of ancient Chinese texts, having translated the Tao Te Ching (Dao De Jing) I Ching (I Jing), Chuang Tzu (Zhuang Zi), and The Most Venerable Book (Shang Shu), and The Three Kingdoms, among others. Several are in the Penguin Classics list. He has also translated all the early Christian texts in Chinese, dating from the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907 AD) in The Jesus Sutras.
In 2015 the President of France asked Martin to organise the first ever Summit of Conscience as a preparation for the Paris Climate Change COP December 2015. This brought together religious leaders, artists, philosophers, scientists and politicians to answer, personally, the question Why Do I Care? (about the planet). It has been credited with having changed the intellectual and emotional atmosphere of the COP itself.
In 2015 UNDP asked him to coordinate the engagement of the major religions with the UN Sustainable Development Goals programme launched that year. This led to the Bristol Commitments by faiths to commit more structurally to sustainable development goals, and to ARC being asked to develop a programme on faith-consistent investing in partnership with OECD and UNDP.
Martin is a go-to person for the BBC on issues to do with religion, culture, history and China. He is one of the most regular contributors to Melvyn Bragg’s In Our Time on BBC Radio 4 and also appears regularly on Beyond Belief on Radio 4 and Radio 2’s Good Morning Sunday. He has appeared several times on Chinese TV on history, culture and religion and is currently exploring a six-part TV series on The Mind of The Silk Road. He is a lay preacher in the Church of England.