During his lifetime Philip Mountbatten was known variously as Prince, Duke, Consort. Some of his titles were honorary or inherited, but others, such as Naval Commander were earned. And to this latter category we might add Influencer – a person who through his trusted position was able to amplify ideas and by inspiring others to act, help concepts become reality.
In 1986, at a gathering in Assisi, the Duke of Edinburgh, then President of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF),invited leaders of five major religions – Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and Hinduism – to consider how their faiths could support the goals of conservation. Soon afterwards, WWF began working with these and other major faith groups to create projects and programmes that could deliver change. Within a few years, a new organisation was created to manage this work; the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC).
Out of this grew the Green Pilgrimage movement which has since done so much to reduce the carbon footprints of the 200 million or so people who each year embark on a pilgrimage. The list of projects that have delivered real change through this moment is almost endless: protecting the mountain ecology around sacred Daoist sites, converting temples and monasteries in Egypt and Israel to renewable energy, recycling of tens of millions of disposable water bottles at Mecca, and eliminating many millions more at Amritsar.
It took the work and dedication of many people across the world to delivery these projects, but the fact remains that through his position, the Duke of Edinburgh helped get the movement moving – encouraging others to find ways of combining conservation and religion. What’s in a title? Quite a lot I guess, if you use this to become one of the great Influencers of your age. What greater life than to make your mark by helping others to make theirs.