FaithInvest Chief Executive Martin Palmer discusses the role of Prince Philip, faiths and conservation in WWF's new podcast mini-series launched to mark 60 years of conservation impact.
The three-episode Forces of Nature mini-series features candid conversations between prominent environmentalists from different generations across four continents about what they’ve learned, their regrets – and how we can all achieve more for the planet.
Each episode explores a different theme, from the late Prince Philip’s approach to conservation; to the pride – and regret – former President Santos feels about his environmental record during his time in office; to a Saami reindeer herder’s insights into the importance of indigenous rights in conservation and Princess Esmeralda’s experience of being arrested during a climate protest in London in 2019.
In his episode, Martin discusses Prince Philip's attitude to conservation and how he inspired the largest civil society environmental movement in the world – that of the faiths. Martin worked closely with Prince Philip for nearly four decades and was his religious advisor on the environment until his death in April 2021.
In the episode, Malaika Vaz, a 24 year old wildlife television presenter and National Geographic explorer from Goa, asks him about the time the Prince Philip shot an eight-foot tiger in India. 'I asked him about that very early on when we started working together because everybody was saying to me,"'hang on, he shot a tiger",' recalls Martin.
'And I said, "So what was going on?" He said in my world of religion, we talk about moments of conversion, moments where you realise you are on the wrong path. We use the word salvation.
'It was a liberation, salvation moment for him. He was there because he was the Queen's consort. And, you know, the maharajas were laying on sort of late 19th-century colonial entertainment, which they thought was what everybody wanted.
'He was appalled. He was appalled at what he'd done and that then led him to take up the role. I think if you look at the chronology, he shot the tiger and then he became the president of WWF International. I may be wrong, but certainly what happened at that moment was that he was confronted with the complete stupidity, the wrongness of what he had done, and he never, ever shot an endangered species ever again.'
WWF is launching the podcast at a time when it is clearer than ever before that we are witnessing a catastrophic collapse in our planet’s biodiversity. The latest Living Planet Report, WWF’s flagship science-based analysis of trends in global biodiversity and the health of the planet, revealed a dramatic two-thirds drop in global wildlife populations on average in the last 50 years, which in turn threatens our climate, food, freshwater and well-being.
The three episodes of Forces of Nature with WWF launch on Monday 5 July 2021, available on all podcast providers. For more information, visit the webpage https://panda.org/forcesofnature