REEP was the brainchild of Peter Talbot Willcox who, forty years ago, was inspired to found a network for adults to discuss a broad range of spiritual and religious beliefs and to show how important the environment was in all faiths. He recognised that it was deeply important to convey an understanding of the threats to the environment through education. Eventually he set up an education project for children and young people centring on the book ‘Faiths for the Future’. Although the work explored six faiths explicitly, REEP had – and has – no mission to promote any particular faith, but simply to recognise the spiritual depth of environmental awareness and responsibility.
After Peter’s death in the 1990s, REEP built on this inheritance by creating further educational resources. It was one of the first educational charities to operate through website resources, enabling it to do a great deal with very few resources, and it focused on innovative projects that it could do with its small team and that have evolved from earlier work. In 2005 a new theme developed with the Shore to Shore project in Morocco. Recognising the universal languages of craft, art and care for the environment, REEP picked up the very strong historical connections between Morocco and Britain and devised a project with several partners, most notably at Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakesh. Shore to Shore involved creating three gardens – a sensory garden, an Anglo-Moroccan Shakespeare Garden and a school garden – with volunteers from Morocco and Britain. A festival including performance, workshops and talks, showed how the spaces could be used.
REEP has grown in scope in the last 25 years but, as Shore to Shore shows, it has stuck to a vision of respectful interaction with others and the environment in a way that is both contemplative and practical.