Eco-Justice Ministries
   Eco-Justice: "the well-being of all humankind on a thriving Earth"

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Eco-Curriculum Review for the title
Caring for Our Planet Earth

This is the full report format.

Short Description:   This five-session program for ages 5-14 is both a celebration of our Earth and a call to action. It includes Native American music and readings.
Long Description:   The author is Director of Religious Education at a Unitarian Universalist church. The topics for each session are: (1) Our Earth and her resources; (2) The problem of garbage I, Reduce & Reuse; (3) The problem of garbage II, Recycle; (4) You can help!; (5) Caring for our planet Earth, a celebration.
Reviewed by:   Connie Nissley, Unitarian Universalist environmental educator

Bibliographic & Purchasing Information
Author:   Tirrell H. Kimball
Publisher:   Unitarian Universalist Association
Publication date:   1990, revised 2002 Website for this resource:   none known
We know of 1 source for purchasing this resource.
Address Green Timber Publications
P.O. Box 3884
Portland, ME   04104  
Phone 207-926-3146   Fax  
Website E-mail  
Price $15.00  Order #  

Target Audience & Course Sessions
Age levels Preschool     Primary     Jr. High     Sr. High    Adult
The reviewer specifies:   Suitable for intergenerational settings
NOTE: Our reviewer may have checked a wider age range than specified in the curriculum itself.
Optimum class size Group activities will require more than a few kids to work well. 
Normal number/length of sessions If the curriculum's normal lesson plan is followed, there will be 5 class sessions each lasting about 1 hour
Are suggestions included for expanding/contracting the series? Session 4 suggests a number of activities, suitable for older groups, which could extend the curriculum by one session.  
In the judgement of the reviewer:
 using these materials, or even just one session from them, a reasonable, coherent and self-contained class can be offered in a single session of about an hour.
 using these materials, a class can be offered that runs for at least two sessions.
Are learners expected to do homework? Students are asked to bring materials for several sessions.  
Target audience:
 Interfaith - addressed people of many faiths
 Judeo-Christian - addressed to Jews & Christians
 Christian - addressed explicitly to Christians
 Not explicity faith-based - not much religious content
Note: The reviewer says that this curriculum is especially appropriate for members of the denomination or agency that developed it (Unitarian Universalist congregation). For example, it may explore a denominational policy statement. The reviewer also believes that it is possible for groups outside that tradition to make good use these materials.

Materials provided
Materials include:
 Leader's guide
 Student book
 Discussion questions
 Class activities - arts & crafts
 Class activities - group participation 
 Reading materials
 Presentation or lecture notes
 Prayer or worship resources
Other materials required:• Slide show (with or without music), prepared by leader, is strongly suggested. Projector. • ~ 6 books to read during program. • Art/craft supplies. • Bulletin board, signs. • Glue gun, with adult supervisor. • Clean trash.
Description of the Leader's Guide:The Leader´s Guide has good, workable ideas for each of sessions. I don´t know the specific books that are suggested,so don´t know how they fit into the curriculum, or if they have a different emphasis. I assume that if they are not available locally, they can be obtained easily, online, even as used copies. The curriculum emphasizes recycling and does not have anything specifically about our careful use of the earth´s limited resources, nor about why trash is bad. However, both are presented as discussion topics in several sessions. I live in an affluent area where families acquire many things, and discussions of how to avoid this, especially in Session 2, would be good. And the idea of making a commitment for change is excellent.
Description of the Student's Book:There is no guide, or no description was provided

Materials review & Assessment of usability
Are all necessary materials provided in an accessible format? Adequate - all necessary information is present  
Is the leader's guide comprehensive? Adequate - all necessary information is present  
Are class sessions clearly outlined? Yes - materials are very well laid out and comprehensive  
Will it be helpful to have a teacher with above-average expertise in the subject matter? Helpful to have teacher expertise  
Preparation time required by the leader:
Subjectively rated as heavy, medium or light
Session 1: Heavy. Sessions 2,3: Medium. Session 4: Heavy. Session 5: Could be heavy to plan, organize, and rehearse a celebration. I live in an area where most adults are knowledgeable about recycling,so most of the preparation would be preparation of materials the first time it was done. 

Content focus
Is this curriculum explicitly focused on environmental awareness or action? Yes, as a primary focus  
Does this curriculum deal with a specific environmental issue or problem? Use of resources: Reduce, reuse, recycle. UU 7th Principle: "Respect for the independent web of all existence of which we are a part."  
How is the scope of the environmental impact positioned?  Impact on specific human communities
 Impact on humans in general
 Impact on humans and non-human parts of creation
 Impact on non-human parts of creation only  
Does the curriculum address questions of social or economic justice in relation to environmental issues? No  
Does the curriculum provide detailed content in a particular academic area?   For example, is there significant content in biology, physics, sociology, economics, etc.?
Biblical & theological content are covered below
Biblical/theological content
Does the curriculum have explicit biblical or theological content? NoThe reviewer did not answer this question  
How are the Biblical materials used? Individual texts are presented as meaningful ('proof texts')
Several texts are developed to show a larger biblical theme
Texts are placed in a historical or cultural context
Texts are presented as authoritative
Students are invited to comment/reflect on the meaning or authority of texts
Biblical texts are of equal importance to other scriptures/readings
The reviewer did not answer the question.  
The checked statements reflect how ethical guidelines are grounded The Bible tells us how we should live/act
A theological tradition or other authority tells us how we should live/act
We should make decisions about how to live/act based on defined ethical norms
Caring for creation is an assumed norm  
The curriculum views humanity's role in creation as:
The checked lines are clearly affirmed
Domination - God created the Earth for human use; there are no real restrictions on what we can or should do.
Stewardship - "The Earth is the Lord's"" and humans are in a position of managing the creation according to God's will.
Partner - Humans are part of the web of creation, and participate in it as one species among many.
Intruder - Humans are separate from nature, and inherently destructive.
In evaluating changes to "solve" environmental problems, does the curriculum tend toward an approach that is: Confessional - I/we need to change
Confrontational - Some other person, policy or institutions needs to change
Combination - a mix of confessional and confrontational

Content approach
Which of these are a primary target outcome of the curriculum?  Increase awareness or concern about the environment in general
 Increase awareness of concern about a specific environmental issue
 Acquiring factual knowledge about an issue
 Changing or deepening personal beliefs
 Change in self-awareness or self-identity
 Changes in personal behaviors or lifestyle choices
 Influence on institutional (church or other) practices
 Increased political advocacy
 No change, or goal not clear
Range of perspectives offered:   A single perspective is offered
  Compares 2 or more perspectives
  A diversity of perspectives presented

Subjective Reviewer Feedback
In general, would you use this program with your congregation/organization? Why or why not?
Yes, I feel it addresses an important lifestyle issue. It is flexible enough to use a variety of ways, without taking too much time out of a year´s program. See #3a for more.
What specific feedback do you have after reviewing these materials? What did you like? What did you not like?
Like: • Slide shows--Ses.1,3. • walk outside. • Commitment to change, sharing ideas--Ses.2,3,4. • Posters to communicate ideas to congregation. • Actions suggestions for older students- Ses.4. • Tour church to see how the congregation is doing. Concern: Emphasis is not on limit of world´s resources, nor on why trash is undesirable.
What questions did you have after reviewing the materials?
I don´t know what is in the particular books.
What, if any, concerns do you have about the use or implementation of this curriculum?
I am always concerned about giving the impression that just finding a way to reuse an object makes it OK to purchase in the first place. So I would change that some way; i.e., pages 15 and 32. When choosing an object say why it is important to you, i.e., pages 15, C1 and page 27,2a.
What content, if any, does this program seem to be missing? What would you like this program to cover which it does not?
More emphasis on overdependence on non-renewable resources, i.e., commercial packaging, no trash lunch. Make a promise (commitment) that would be saved to read later.
Have you ever used this program in the past, or heard of others who have used it? What if any response was received?
No. It has been used in our church for ideas for classes and children´s chapel. Don´t know about responses.

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