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
Hope for the Earth: A Handbook for Christian Environmental Groups

This is the general report format.
Shorter and more detailed report formats are also available for this title.

Short Description:   This United Methodist study was designed for congregations who are exploring environmental ministries, examining ecological issues, and making plans for future work.
Reviewed by:   Alice Clive, a United Church of Christ laywoman from Connecticut

Bibliographic & Purchasing Information
Author:   Sharon Delgado
Publisher:   United Methodist
Publication date:   1994 Website for this resource:   none known
We know of 1 source for purchasing this resource.
Address Environmental Justice Resources
National Council of the Churches of Christ
PO Box 968
Elkhart, IN   46515-0968  
Phone 800-762-0968   219-264-3102 Fax 219-262-0966  
Website www.nccecojustice.org/printedresources.htm E-mail    
Price $4.50  Order # EJ 9670 

Target Audience & Course Sessions
Age levels Preschool    Primary    Jr. High     Sr. High     Adult
NOTE: Our reviewer may have checked a wider age range than specified in the curriculum itself.
Optimum class size Can be used with any-sized group. 
Normal number/length of sessions If the curriculum's normal lesson plan is followed, there will be 10 class sessions each lasting about 2 hours
Are suggestions included for expanding/contracting the series? Building a Spiritual Foundation: 30 minutes Educating Ourselves as a Group: 30 minutes Planning for Action: 45 minutes After completing this study, it is hoped that there will be ongoing reflection, study, and action.  
In the judgement of the reviewer:
 it is not reasonable to plan for a single, self-contained class session from these materials.
 using these materials, a class can be offered that runs for at least two sessions.
Are learners expected to do homework? About 2-3 pages of reading per session from the handbook could be distributed in advance of each session. Suggestions for research and reporting back to the group are provided.  
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 (The United Methodist Church). 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 
 Video
 Reading materials
 Presentation or lecture notes
 Prayer or worship resources
 

Other supportive materials provided: The leader´s guide and student book are one in the same.
Other materials required:none specified
Description of the Leader's Guide:There is no leader´s guide per se. But the student handbook is quite sufficient for anyone who must facilitate any of the 10 sessions.
Description of the Student's Book:The student handbook provides a clear-cut format for each session, which is basically divided into 3 components: 1.) Scripture readings for building a spiritual foundation 2.) Educating Ourselves as a Group - brief readings under the headings of Tradition, Reason, and Experience - as well as a longer, 2-3 page reading educating the group about a specific envirnomental issue or issues and 3.) Planning for Action - Each session offers something different: a personal lifestyle inventory, a church environmental audit, a bioregional inventory of your local area, and other suggestions for actions that can be undertaken outside of the class sessions. In addition, each session asks for a volunteer to research a specific issue and/or do some reading on a particular subject and report back to the group at the next session. A helpful resource section is included in the back of the handbook. The resource list of federal, state, and local government officials is outdated.

Materials review & Assessment of usability
Are all necessary materials provided in an accessible format? Yes - materials are very well laid out and comprehensive  
Is the leader's guide comprehensive? No - the resources are not adequate for a basic teacher  
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? Not Necessary to have teacher expertise  
Preparation time required by the leader:
Subjectively rated as heavy, medium or light
Light: Leader should read the materials in advance so as to be prepared - but mostly, the leader needs to be a skilled facilitator, as the curriculum is very self-contained. 

Content focus
Is this curriculum explicitly focused on environmental awareness or action? Yes, as one of several emphases  
Does this curriculum deal with a specific environmental issue or problem? It deals with a variety of problems and provides an overview to environmental and eco-justice issues as a whole. Some specific issues dealt with in the readings include: poverty and the environment, affluence and inequity, agriculture, toxics, deforestation, global warming, coastal pollution, destruction of the ozone layer, overpopulation, transnational corporations, international cooperation, jobs vs. the environment, etc.  
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? Yes - as a major theme  
Biblical/theological content
Does the curriculum have explicit biblical or theological content? Yes, as a major emphasis  
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 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


Eco-Justice Ministries   *   400 S Williams St, Denver, CO   80209   *   Home Page: www.eco-justice.org
Eco-Justice Ministries ended all programming on July 31, 2020. This site is an archive of writings and resources.
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