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Our logo says “Caring for Nature”, and but we want to go beyond the level of belief and declaration, and to build this into the actions we facilitate. We aim to create a framework in which members can express their care and concern for nature in active, practical and sometimes novel ways. We are signatories to the Earth Charter (http://www.earthcharter.org/) which is part of an effort to create a new United Nations Covenant on Environment and Development, paralleling its other great covenants on human, political and civil rights.
This is an area we hope to expand and develop considerably in future, both for adults and for children through the domain http://www.wildkids.org/, which we own.
At present our nature activities take three major forms.
One of our most active and motivating groups is saving wildlife habitat every day. Our group at Ecology Fund now has 87 members, and is the second largest of all the religious groups at Ecology Fund, far outnumbering Buddhists and Moslems, and almost equaling ALL the Christian groups put together. Indeed at our growth rate we will soon pass the largest group, Pagans for Mother Earth.
Our members have so far saved the very impressive total of 950,000 square feet, or 22 acres, just by patiently clicking on buttons on the Web each day. At current rates we are saving one acre every 18 days or around 20 acres a year. That is very remarkable for a relatively small group. Eleven people (that we know of) have saved half an acre or more.
The more people join, and the more regularly they click, the shorter the time it takes us to save an acre! The process takes about one minute per day to save over 200 square feet, and produces a very warm glow inside. It is basically made possible by sponsors, whose ads are shown after clicking. The sponsors’ checks are made out directly to conservation groups like the World Parks Endowment. The WPM itself is one of those sponsors from time to time (see below).
Please join our group. You can sign up with our group by following the instructions at https://www.pantheism.net/reserves/nature.htm#Click which also has direct links to the pages where you can complete the process.
Sponsor conservation programs
We would like to move towards a situation where members, when they join or renew, can be confident that a significant share of their contribution will go to saving nature. So, as from May 2002 the WPM has been using much of its promotional budget in ways that will simultaneously sponsor conservation of nature by reputable non-profit agencies.
We have been doing this through the very same Web sites where people click in order to save acres of rainforest or other wildlife habitat (see above). The sites include EcologyFund, and Race2 Save the Rainforest, and we will soon be trying out the Rainforest Site. Our sponsorship checks are made out directly to the conservation agencies, so every penny goes to them. The sites do not take any commission.
It’s a great double use of members’ subscriptions because it tells people about the WPM, spreads awareness of pantheism, and attracts gain new members. And it saves wildlife habitat at the same time. Our checks so far have been made out to the Nature Conservancy and the World Parks Endowment. We will be exploring, with EcologyFund, ways in which joining members can be guaranteed that their membership will sponsor a certain amount of habitat conservation.
Create wildlife habitat
The most direct way in which you can save nature, or restore to wildlife some of the area humans have taken away, is right in your own backyard. Through the WPM’s Wildlife Habitat scheme, you can declare a commitment to manage part or all of any land you control so as to encourage natural biodiversity and native species. The declaration is a public statement of your own purpose and intent to manage it sustainably while it is in your charge, and does not affect your ownership or control in any way.
The first reserve was declared by member Sheila Rosenthal. Six members have now declared reserves, totaling more than 40 acres.
Don’t think you have to be a landowner to qualify. Even small areas and parts of gardens make a difference if they are managed to preserve native plants, and/or to provide food, shelter or breeding sites for native wildlife. Signatories receive a beautiful printed certificate suitable for framing.
The National Wildlife Federation provides technical support through its Backyard Wildlife Habitat Scheme. If you have a patch of soil, large small or tiny, that you would like to involve in the scheme, please visit https://www.pantheism.net/reserves/reserves.htm and write to email@example.com . Also please write if you would like to help out with the management of this scheme.
Environmental action alerts
Another effective way in which the Internet is used to care for nature is through mass emailing of lawmakers on particular issues, organized by environmental agencies like the Sierra Club and WWF. The WPM’s Environmental Action Alert list circulates the most interesting of these, with links you can follow in order to mail your own legislator or official.
This is a low-volume, announcement-only list. Please note that as a charity the WPM does not endorse any particular political group, candidate or action. Action alerts are posted by members for consideration by other members.
You can sign up at http://www.egroups.com/group/wpmaction
Search for SETI signals
Since Lucretius, pantheists have believed that there may be many inhabited worlds. Most pantheists, although they might not believe that aliens had ever visited earth, would find it unlikely that the earth is the only place where intelligent life exists in a vast Universe of 100 billion galaxies. Finding clear indications of intelligence elsewhere might not establish true communication, but it would show plainly that the Universe was not created for human benefit, as a stage for humanity’s history of salvation.
SETI@home uses millions of personal computers to sift through radio signals from space for promising candidates that indicate intelligence. The SETI@home program is a special kind of screensaver, which starts up when you go for coffee or lunch, and shuts down as soon as you return to work and sends completed work units back to SETI@home when you’re on line.
Our 62 members here have clocked up almost 52 years of average computer time between them. Andrew Millard (13 years), Bruce Merkle (6 years) and Pat Owens (4.7 years) are our star performers. To join us, download the appropriate version of the seti@home program from http://setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu/download.html . Once the program is installed, run it and sign up as a new user by entering your email address and submitting it to SETI. Once you have done this, go to our stats page:http://setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu/stats/team/team_8186.html . Click the “join” link, then request to have a password sent to you. Once you receive your password, go back to the stats page and click “join” again and enter your email and password.
Research protein folding
DNA has captured all the headlines, but humble proteins do the spadework and form the many different tissues in the human body. Finding out the properties of proteins is an investigation of great scientific and medical potential. The diversity of their structure and function is often the result of the way they fold, in enormously complex ways. When they “misfold”, they can cause many well-known diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, CJD and Parkinson’s disease.
Folding@Home follows the SETI model in tapping idle time in individual PCs to calculate how proteins fold. The screensaver shows real time 3D visualizations of the foldings being performed on your computer. You can also look up the science of the particular protein you are working on.
Once it is running, right click on the program icon in your taskbar, choose configure, and put the World Pantheists team number in the space provided. We are number 13161. You can look up our stats at http://folding.stanford.edu/cgi-bin/teampage?q=13161.