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
Keeping the Earth: Religious and Scientific Perspectives on the Environment

This is the full report format.

Short Description:   A 27-minute video with discussion guide, produced by the Union of Concerned Scientists Religious and scientific perspectives on the environment.
Long Description:   A stunning 27-minute video plus study guide. Covers Genesis story on creation, biodiversity, air, water and human roles for stewardship. Presents ecumenical and scientific perspectives on stewardship role for humans re Godís creation. Study guide has questions and further reading. Presenters in video all true leaders in their respective fields.
Reviewed by:   Hal Salwasser, a United Methodist layman and ecologist from Oregon

Bibliographic & Purchasing Information
Author:   Union of Concerned Scientists
Publication date:   1996 Website for this resource:   www.ucsusa.org/publications/report.cfm?publicationID=410
We know of 1 source for purchasing this resource.
Address Union of Concerned Scientists
UCS Publications
2 Brattle Sq
Cambridge, MA   02238-9105  
Phone   Fax  
Website www.ucsusa.org E-mail    
Price $9.50 including shipping for congregations  Order # 410 

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 no minimum or maximum class size provided 
Normal number/length of sessions If the curriculum's normal lesson plan is followed, there will be 5-6 class sessions each lasting about 1 hr
Are suggestions included for expanding/contracting the series? When done as a single session, just show video and lead discussion.  
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? I have them read passages from the new and old testaments plus some chapters from some of the books listed in the teacher guide as references. 1-2 readings per session plus the bible passages.  
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 (Name of developer: ecumenical and scientists). 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 materials required:I find readings from the books referenced in the teacher guide very useful.
Description of the Leader's Guide:48-page booklet that explains stewardship role for humans in Godís creation, terminology, sources, and introduces the scientists and religious leaders in the video. Has extensive references for further study.
Description of the Student's Book:None other than what the leader prepares.

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? Yes - materials are very well laid out and comprehensive  
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? Definitely helpful to have teacher expertise  
Preparation time required by the leader:
Subjectively rated as heavy, medium or light
About an hour per class session. 

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? Biodiversity, air, water  
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 part of the topic  
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
All technical items are explained well so the participant does not have to be a biologist  
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

Subjective Reviewer Feedback
In general, would you use this program with your congregation/organization? Why or why not?
Yes I have used it with adult study groups, all-church retreats and high school youth. The video is stunning and features people from Catholic, Jewish, Congregational, other protestant faiths, physicist, and biologists. It is outstanding in how it lays out both the biblical and scientific perspectives on earth stewardship.
What specific feedback do you have after reviewing these materials? What did you like? What did you not like?
These are great materials to work from. Video is first class. Study guide is very well done. Perspectives offered are very sound.
What questions did you have after reviewing the materials?
The reviewer did not answer this question
What, if any, concerns do you have about the use or implementation of this curriculum?
I have no reservations about the use of this curriculum.
What content, if any, does this program seem to be missing? What would you like this program to cover which it does not?
It is well done just as is. I do put a binder of readings together when I do a 5-6 session class and have students read 1-2 per week.
Have you ever used this program in the past, or heard of others who have used it? What if any response was received?
All the people I have used this with really appreciated its quality and fairness.


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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