Thanks to my sister Michelle McIlroy for designing the logo!


Ever since I was a child, I have been very interested in nature and the environment. I have a B.S. degree in wildlife biology, and have worked as a zookeeper, wildlife biologist, and ecologist. I am conducting a brief survey of world leaders, government officials, religious leaders, corporate CEOs, environmental groups, wildlife experts, and others regarding nature and the environment. I am also very interested in religious views, customs, and beliefs from around the world, and the interactions between religion, culture, society, and the environment. This is something I am doing out of personal interest, and is not connected to any group or organization. I have been working on this project since the summer of 2006, and hope to eventually turn it into a book and/or documentary. I am hoping to make this into a global project, with responses from all segments of society. Feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions or comments. If you have not already done so, I hope that you will consider taking part in my project, and please spread the word to anyone you think might be interested! Thanks for stopping by!


January 19, 2008

Fazlun M. Khalid

Founder Director – Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences (

Today’s Date: 10 January 2008

1. What interaction with an animal and/or nature in your life has had the biggest impact on you?

I was born in Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon, where the tea from this country is still known as Ceylon Tea. As I was growing up I realised that vast areas of low and high country pristine forests were cleared in the nineteenth century to make way for huge tea and rubber plantations that made profits for the big companies that plied the trans national trade. I then realised that every country with pristine forests has suffered this same fate under the hands of profit seekers and that this process is still continuing to this day.

2. Did you have a favorite place in the great outdoors during your childhood?

My favourite outdoor space during my childhood was Galle Face Green located on the edge of Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. It was a huge esplanade and as the name suggests an expanse of verdant green; a mile long promenade on the edge of the sea where as you strolled with others you are treated to the ceaseless roar of the breaking rollers of the Indian Ocean. The magic moments came when the orange ball of the setting sun made the sea look as if it were heaving a mass of diamonds and rubies. Then, as the sun sank over the horizon and the night came the luminous sea had more treasures to show us; as the waves broke it left threads of silver on the sandy shore as far as the eye can see.

Now? I now live in middle England on the edge of what is known as the Peak District in Derbyshire. A far cry from the tropics of my childhood, but beautiful nevertheless in its own right. This was Britain’s first national park and once in the middle of it there is no way of knowing that you are surrounded by industrial cities and you can be utterly alone in it and even get lost if you are caught out in bad weather. The region taken as a whole has an interesting mixture of wild landscapes, old market towns and industrial heritage; a place to reflect on what nature can provide if left to its own devises, man’s unquenchable inventiveness and his impatience to shape his surroundings to his long term detriment.

3. As a former zookeeper, I would love to know what your favorite animal is and why?

The Tiger. Nothing to beat its beauty, grace, and awesome power.

4. What do you think is the greatest environmental challenge facing us now, and what do you think will be the greatest challenge in the future?

Global warming is the tip of the iceberg if this metaphor is appropriate for the occasion. All the familiar issues like pollution, habitat destruction, species extinction, etc. are inescapably interlocked. The challenge, both now and in the future is to realise that planet earth is finite and to change our behaviour accordingly.

5. If you could give one piece of advice regarding the environment and our natural resources, what would it be?

We need to realise that we are very much a part of the environment. The earth is the womb that nurtures us and if we care for it and protect it, it will reward us with its abundance.

Fazlun Khalid – Short Bio (provided by IFEES)

Fazlun Khalid has established for himself a world wide reputation as an indefatigable advocate of environmental protection rooted in religion and traditional beliefs and is now recognized as one of fifteen leading eco theologians in the world alongside the Dalai Lama and the Pope.

As an example of his work he chaired a major gathering in Japan in 1995 and produced the Ohito Declaration for Religion, Land and Conservation which pledged all the major faiths to work together in addressing environmental problems. Subsequently as Director of Training for the Alliance of Religions and Conservation he tirelessly promoted the declaration world-wide from 1995 to 2000.

Since the mid 1980s he has devoted his energies to promoting Islamic environmentalism in both its theological and practical manifestations. His writing output has been described by an influential academic as being “among the most important, insightful, relevant and reliable” is now widely quoted by academics, students and activists in this area of concern. His work in the field is of even greater significance. He also founded the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences which he now directs.

His work displays a sustained effort to unite people of all persuasions in dealing with a common threat and also a deep commitment to the cause of environmental justice for the poor in developing countries.

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