Nature conservation and dynamics of the sacred

Conservation of Nature and Dynamics of the Sacred
seminar from group Science, Reason and Faith.
Jaime Tatay. Pamplona, February 6, 2024

Jaime Tatay was born in Valencia in 1976, is a Jesuit since 1999 and was ordained priest in 2010. He first studied Forestry Engineering at the University of Lleida, then Social Ethics at Boston College and finally did his doctorate in Theology at Comillas Pontifical University. Since 2017 he is professor at the latter university, where he teaches courses on sustainability, ethics and theology. Themes around which revolve both his research and his publications. He is currently co-director of the Chair Hana and Francisco José Ayala of Science, Technology and Religion.

Sacred Natural Spaces (ENS) are biocultural enclaves of great value and important areas for nature conservation that are attracting increasing attention in academic, political and management forums. Covadonga, El Rocío and Monserrat would be good examples of ENS in our country. The "sacredness" of these enclaves for the various actors involved in their management is now widely recognized. However, the complexity surrounding the notion of "the sacred" has not been investigated in depth. In this talk I will develop five ideas, the fruit of my recent research : (1) The sacred is a very complex concept that is often used in the conservation literature in a binary and dichotomous way, as opposed to the profane and the wild; (2) Conservationists and protected area managers have paid much more attention to ENS than social scientists and religious scholars; (3) The motif of the sacred (from non-Christian perspectives) tends to be predominantly associated with taboos, prohibitions, and regulations of community-managed resources; (4) An instrumental view of the sacred may limit the possibility of including other intangible values in the management and exclude relevant stakeholders; and (5) Insights from cultural anthropology, political ecology, and theology can be of great use for the management of wilderness.