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
To Love the Earth

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

Short Description:   This thirteen session adult education program on the environment contains Bible studies, descriptions of environmental issues and leader guides. Published by the Christian Board of Publication.
Long Description:   The thirteen sessions (1 hour each) are broken down into three units: Unit 1: Bible and Tradition Session 1: Dominion or Domination? Session 2: Whole Bible, Whole Earth Session 3: Some Who Loved the Earth Session 4: The World that Could Be Unit 2: The Vision and the Fragile Earth Session 5: Trying Out the Vision: Water Session 6: Trying Out the Vision: Solid Waste Session 7: Trying Out the Vision: The Good Earth Session 8: Trying Out the Vision: Air Quality Session 9: Trying Out the Vision: Nuclear Energy Unit 3: There is Hope Session 10: A New Lifestyle Session 11: Conserving and Protecting Sustainable Energy Session 12: Sun, Wind, and Soil Session 13: To Love the Earth
Reviewed by:   Iona Dickenson, a United Church of Christ pastor from California

Bibliographic & Purchasing Information
Author:   Charles R. McCollough
Publisher:   Christian Board of Publication
Publication date:   1987 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 E-mail    
Price $8.00  Order # EJ 9210 

Target Audience & Course Sessions
Age levels Preschool    Primary    Jr. High    Sr. High     Adult
Optimum class size There is no minimum -- but there needs to be enough people for a conversation. 
Normal number/length of sessions If the curriculum's normal lesson plan is followed, there will be 13 class sessions each lasting about 1 hour
Are suggestions included for expanding/contracting the series? The materials do not provide specific suggestions.  
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? The students are asked to read the "Todays Word for Adults" section for the next week - usually between 3 and 6 pages. Also, they are asked to look over the Biblical materials ahead of time.  
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 (Christian Board of Publication). 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 supportive materials provided: Biblical Insights for Christian Living
Other materials required:none specified
Description of the Leader's Guide:The leaders guide is very detailed, easy to follow, and use. It clearly outlines the timing of the class (including introductions, closing prayer, and all the activities in between). The guide includes the following details: - purposes for the session - scriptural basis - preparing for the session (what the leader needs to prepare ahead of time) - begining the session (introductory exercises) - developing the session (includes several discussion and activity choices each week) - concluding the session (including a prayer and a assignment to hand out for next week) This guide is very useful for persons with little to no group leading experience and walks the leader through step by step.
Description of the Student's Book:There are two sections for the Students Book in this curriculum. The first is "Biblical Insights for Christian Living." This 8 page section gives the biblical background information that relates to each of the 13 sessions. It is broken up into sessions and gives helpful historical, social, and cultural information about the biblical focus text. The second is "Today´s Word: for Adults." Each session is about 3 pages long and is a story/sermon/article of background environmental information that will be discussed during the class session. These sessions are well written and interesting. Occassionally, they use theological or environmental words that the average vocabulary may not understand, but the meaning can usually be understood by the end of the article. The biggest challenge to this well-written curriculum is that it is dated - it was published in 1987 and the details and facts are simply dated.

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
Medium - the reading is detailed, assumes some prior theological and ecological knowledge, and some advanced preparation. In addition, some planning is needed if suggested guest speakers and field trips are to be lined up. 

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? It does not deal with one specific problem or issue, but rather, each session looks at something different. Each of the 13 issues looks at an issue that was of great importance in 1987, some of which are still extremely relevant, others not as much.  
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  
Biblical/theological content
Does the curriculum have explicit biblical or theological content? Yes, as one theme among several  
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:
Eco-Justice Ministries ended all programming on July 31, 2020. This site is an archive of writings and resources.
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