European Nature Conservation Year (ENCY 95) provided the starting point for the Altmühltal project in the diocese of Eichstatt in Bavaria. This project, was a example of the Churches' new ecological concerns, was selected as a national project in 1995 by the German National Organising Committee for ENCY 95, under the patronage of the President of the Federal Republic, Mr Roman Herzog. It has, accordingly, been supported by the Federal Foundation for the Environment from 1995-1999.
Promoting sustainable development the project comprises 25 different sub-projects and aims to implement the international programme Agenda 21, adopted at the Rio Conference and the Study Sustainable Germany. What this means in practice is promoting sustainable lifestyles and sustainable development at local and regional levels (local Agenda 21).
The Francis of Assisi Academy for the Protection of the Earth, which runs the project, is an ecumenical organisation working at European level, founded by members of the Catholic University of Eichstätt as a specifically Christian contribution to ENCY 95.
The co-ordination team was made up of young Christians, including 30 students from the university. It has a particularly wide range of partners, including the Council of the Diocese of Eichstätt, the Association of University Students, the Information Centre of the Altmühltal Nature Reserve, the Bavarian Branch of the Naturschutz (Friend of the Earth) organisation, the Catholic Organisation for Women, Catholic Rural Youth, Kolping Youth and other local organisations. The participation of so many Christian organisations makes the project one of the largest environmental projects supported by the Churches in Europe. There over ten partners, each of whom was responsible for one aspect of the project (sustainable agriculture, protecting the climate, the university of tomorrow, sustainable tourism, environmental education, nature protection in quarries and in the parishes of the diocese). At a practical level, a general assessment of the state of the environment has been made (with the help of a hundred or so parishes) and a wide-ranging environmental training programme with more than 50 separate activities has been carried out.
20 years later we can see strong longterm impacts on the Ecumenical Movement, Sustainable Education, Local Agenda 21 / Sustainable Cities (State of Bavaria), Environment and Sustainability Management in the Roman Catholic Church and the Catholic University of Eichstätt.
The Diocese of Eichstatt applies within the Catholic Church as a pioneer for church environmental management starting 1994 with the foundation of the Environment Comitte at the Diocese Council which had a catalyst function. From 1995-1999 the Diocese of Eichstatt implemented the Sustainable Diocese project (Part project of the Altmühtal Agenda 21) involving over 100 parihes. In 2001 the Environmental Guidelines of the Diocese of Eichstatt were adopted, inculding a Day of Creation and a Environment Management Project (with 10 institutions) was set up. The Holy Cross Parish in Neumarkt was the first catholic parish in Germany and Europe which was certified via EMAS II.
This effort has been carried further by the development of Integrated Climate Protection Concept for the diocese of Eichstätt in 2011. With this concept, the diocese Eichstätt has to develop reliable data and the possibility on this basis, CO2 reduction targets. Gregor Maria Hanke has set 2020 25% and in 2030 to reduce 50% of CO2 emissions by the year. It was decided to implement a comprehensive set of measures. With Bishop Gregor Maria Hanke, the former abbot of the monastery Plankstetten, which represents an "ecology of the heart" and is considered a opponent of green gene technology and an advocate of organic farming "green".
The KU is since 1992 a pioneer in the theory and practice of sustainability (Rio follow-up process) and has received several awards for this. After the Chernobyl nuclear disaster the Environment Working Group was established 1989 and after the initial environmental review of the University in 1990, the Environment Unit of the Student Convention was founded. The objective was to make the KU to a sustainability leader. Accompanying the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 and later as Rio monitoring organized the Environment Unit of the Student Convention the Environmental Lecture Series continued to run up to the present with more than 100 speakers. 1993 The COPERNICUS University Charter for Sustainable Development was signed by the President Nikolaus Lobkowicz - as the first German university.
In 1995 at the initiative of the Environmental Unit of the Student Convention with the support of Council of Europe and as a special contribution to European Nature Conservation Year the St. Francis of Assisi Academy for the Protection of the Earth e. V. (FAA) was founded, which on behalf of the KU implemented the first sustainability project in Germany (Altmühltal Agenda 21 Project)with 25 projects. 1995 the project Sustainable University was set up in the Altmühltal project, 1996 a Environment and Sustainability Concept for the KU was developed. 1997 in advance of the UN Special Assembly on Rio + 5, the FAA and the KU, together with the International Consortium on Religion and Ecology at the World Bank (Washington) organized a workshop "The Washington Consultation on Sustainable Community Ethics, Environmental Values and Public Policy (ethics and agenda 21)", the Washington Declaration of Interdependence decided  and a briefing Ethical Perspectives of the UN General Assembly to Rio plus 5 organized with partner organizations and state representatives to the UN in New York. The demands of the briefings were implemented in 2002 in Article 6 of the Action Plan of Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development 2002: "We recognize the importance of ethics for sustainable development and therefore stress the need to consider in the implementation of Agenda 21 ethical considerations. 1996 the "Ecumenical Consultation: Christianity and Sustainable Europe - consultation on the new practice of ecological responsibility" with more than 120 participants from over 24 countries was organized. The KU and FAA were represented in Graz with a large delegation and numerous events at the Second European Ecumenical Assembly in 1997 and commissioned by the Council of European Bishops' Conferences responsible for the sustainability area. Outcome of the consultation was an ecumenical consensus on the long-term sustainability practice of European churches in the areas of climate change, biodiversity, Agenda 21 and lifestyles, to implement the initiative for the establishment of a Europeam Christian Environmental Network and a Day of Creation was suggested by Lukas Vischer. The Francis of Assisi Academy for the Protection of the Earth e. V. were represented(official delegate) at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002 and at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in 2012.
From 1998 to 2000 the implementation of the EU-funded (3.5 Mio.€), major regional research project on Agenda 21 and digitization took place (TELE 21) together with partners from Neumarkt, Rome and Wales. The Environment Unit of the Student Convention won the ideas generation D 2008 with the initiative Sustainable Campus (100% green electricity for KU) .] The since 2011 DenkNachhaltig! e. V. organized annually the WFI Dialogue on Sustainability, which is the largest student conference on sustainability in Germany.
2010 took place the anchoring of sustainability in the Foundation Constitution of the Catholic University, and a Sustainability Concept was developed with a graduate program for sustainability. Since 2012, the power of the university is supplied with 100% green electricity, making 4100 tons of CO2 in three years. 2012 first Sustainability Report was published. 2013 the German Commission for UNESCO awarded the sustainability concept of KU as a project of the UN Decade "Education for Sustainable Development" from. 2015 KU has been certified as the first university in Bavaria to EMAS.