A congregation that is theologically committed to eco-justice -- or is striving for that commitment -- will bring that awareness and perspective into the educational programming of the church on a regular basis. The full range of educational strategies -- classes, sermons, church publications, signs and posters, retreats, field trips, immersion experiences, participation in advocacy and witness -- develop understanding about theological and ethical perspectives, the details of complex issues, and options for behavior.
This page is an index to resources that will help you bring an eco-justice faith perspective into the educational life of your congregation.
Background articles and resources from Eco-Justice Ministries:
Quick tips for Education -- from the staff of Eco-Justice Ministries, some basic tips, pointers and suggestions about bringing eco-justice into your educational programming.
Greening Your Church: with a focus on education -- Eco-Justice Ministries offered a series of worshops for religious educators and other church leaders. This outline from the workshop sessions describes the variety of educational goals and settings that are possible in a church, and helps a congregation consider how to approach education about caring for God's creation.
Eco-Curriculum Reviews -- Eco-Justice Ministries has compiled detailed information on over 90 curriculum resources for children, youth and adults that bring an explicit religious perspective to environmental topics. Our volunteer reviewers have provided extensive and candid descriptions of each title, so that you can locate the materials that are most suitable for your setting. Searches of this database can be limited by age range and/or the number of class sessions.
Our congregational assessment tools raise questions to help you evaluate your church's educational programming. We propose suggestions about educational perspectives and content in relation to our Greening Your Church materials: Getting Started & Doing the Basics, Leadership & Action, and Transformational Ministry.
Other educational resources:
Our Eco-Curriculum Reviews are a great source of information, but they are limited to explicity religious materials. Many congregations will be interested in resources that address eco-justice topics without religious content, or that are not designed as a fully developed curriculum (no lesson plans and discussion guides, and/or less specific educational goals).
There is a huge variety of resources available. This list deals with some of the most highly-regarded, widely-known or most accessible examples.
- Northwest Earth Institute has an excellent series of materials that have been used by many churches dealing with topics including voluntary simplicity, sustainable living, deep ecology and global warming.
- The Low Carbon Diet: A 30 Day Program to Lose 5000 Pounds is a very specific, group-based approach at behavior change for households. It has been used often in congregational settings.
- Some of the environmental education curriculum resources used in public schools and nature centers are available and appropriate for use in congregations. Three of the strongest collections are:
- Project Learning Tree -- their curricula for all ages are available to people who have been trained in the program. A few of their simple study guides for families (and church classes) are available for free download
- Project Wet -- worldwise water education, with resources for "community educators"
- Project Wild, a wildlife-focused conservation education program
- Church groups can discuss popular or influential books, some of which may have study guides available. As a brief example of some possibilities:
- Love God, Heal Earth, edited by the Rev. Canon Sally Bingham has essays by 21 religious leaders about ouor sacred duty to protect the environment.
- David Korten's The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community is a good volume for churches working toward transformational understandings. There is a discussion guide that has been used in many congregations. (It is especially popular in Unitarian Universalist churches.)
- Affluenza -- the book based on a PBS TV program -- is an insightful and engaging look at consumer culture.
- TV programs and documentary films offer stunning nature programming. These can be used -- individually or in a group setting -- to build wonder and appreciation for God's complex creation. Be aware, though, that beautiful photography does not guarantee solid content! Eco-Justice Ministries a circulated a critique of Disney's Earth film.
- Most communities have nature centers, parks, zoos, science museums or other facilities that are well-equipped to do community education. An open-ended visit (for kids, or adults) can stimulate conversation. Taking part in specific classes or programs will provide more detailed information.
- Similarly, there are businesses and educational settings that can provide vivid lessons about environmentally appropriate technology and behaviors. Visit a recycling center (or sewage treatment plant!), solar panel installation, community garden or organic farm.
Eco-Justice Ministries * 400 S Williams St, Denver, CO 80209 * 303.715.3873
Home Page: www.eco-justice.org *