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
Renewing the Earth: Study Guides on Faith and the Environment (Grades 1-6)

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

Short Description:   A four-session course on respecting, protecting, and caring for the earth based on the Bishops´ Pastoral Statement, Renewing the Earth. For children, teens, and adults.
Long Description:   Purpose is to "involve the Catholic community in critical thinking, social analysis, and discussion that will realize these six goals: -to highlight the ethical dimension of the environmental crisis -to link questions of ecology and poverty, environment and development -to stand with working men and women, poor and disadvantaged people whose lives are most often impacted by ecological abuse and tradeoffs between environment and development -to promote a vision of a just and sustainable world community -to invite the Catholic community and all people of goodwill to reflect more deeply on the religious dimensions of this topic -to begin a broader conversation on the potential contribution of the Church to environmental questions"
Reviewed by:   Susan Sims, a Presbyterian laywoman from New Mexico

Bibliographic & Purchasing Information
Author:   National Catholic Rural Life Conference
Publication date:   1992 Website for this resource:   none known
We know of 1 source for purchasing this resource.
Address National Catholic Rural Life Conference
4625 Beaver Ave.
Des Moines, IA   50310-2199  
Phone   Fax  
Website   E-mail    
Price $2.00  Order #  

Target Audience & Course Sessions
Age levels Preschool     Primary     Jr. High     Sr. High     Adult
The reviewer specifies:   Level 1-grades 1-6, Level 2-grades 7-12, Level 3-adult
NOTE: Our reviewer may have checked a wider age range than specified in the curriculum itself.
Optimum class size The reviewer did not comment - assume 10-20 
Normal number/length of sessions If the curriculum's normal lesson plan is followed, there will be four class sessions each lasting about 30 min to 1.5 hrs
Are suggestions included for expanding/contracting the series? Has optional activities for length expansion; also list of additional scripture and worship resources; includes suggestions for community projects to expand # of sessions.  
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? The reviewer did not describe any homework  
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: In the opinion of the reviewer, meaningful use of this curriculum is largely confined to members of the denomination or agency that developed it , Catholic Rural Life Conference .
For example, it may explore a denominational policy statement.

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:none specified
Description of the Leader's Guide:Provides good, but very basic "skeleton" for leading the course. Would be good for people who are creative and knowledgeable, and like to modify curriculums to their own taste, but could also be easily used "as is." Includes suggestions for formatting the sessions using prayer, scripture, quotes from the bishops´ pastoral Statement, discussion of issues, optional activities.
Description of the Student's Book:Not a lot of bells and whistles, just good basic activities for discussion starters. Includes discussion and activities for 4 sessions based on the questions: -What do I see? -Why is this happening? -What do I value? -What can I do? Stated goals: "-To bring about constant awareness that all creation is God´s. -To develop the ability to do critical, in-depth thinking -To engage participants in environmental concerns and in ways of addressing them -To develop and nurture ability to see what is well and use it as a model for trying to change what is not well -To emphasize the positive and the possible -To think globally and act locally

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? Adequate - all necessary information is present  
Are class sessions clearly outlined? Minimal - the gist is present, but the leader will need to work at organizing or completing it  
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
Light - unless optional activities will be used. Some of them require medium preparation. 

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? No. Several suggestions for specific topics are suggested for the group to research, though.  
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
Other:  I would like to address the "range of perspectives" question below. This curriculum, although presenting a Catholic perspective, is much more concerned with stimulating discussion about the participants´ perspectives.
Range of perspectives offered:   A single perspective is offered
  Compares 2 or more perspectives
  A diversity of perspectives presented
The reviewer did not answer this question.

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