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
It's God's World: Christians, The Environment and Climate Change

This is the full report format.

Short Description:   Contains five one-hour sessions for adult study on the Bible, the environment and the challenges of a changing climate.
Long Description:   This resource contains five sessions designed to help Christians make some sense of the issues relating to global warming from the perspective of their faith. For each session there is a suggested format for a one-hour study session.

The 2002 edition is available as a free download from
www.webofcreation.org/ncc/articles/godsworld/Gods_World.pdf

Reviewed by:   Alice Clive, a United Church of Christ laywoman from Connecticut

Bibliographic & Purchasing Information
Author:   Vera K White, for the Eco-Justice Working Group, National Council of Churches
Publication date:   1997, revised 1999, 2002 Website for this resource:   www.webofcreation.org/ncc/articles/godsworld
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 $2.00 each; five or more copies, $1.00 each  Order # EJ 9701 

Target Audience & Course Sessions
Age levels Preschool    Primary    Jr. High    Sr. High     Adult
Optimum class size Can be adapted to any sized group. 
Normal number/length of sessions If the curriculum's normal lesson plan is followed, there will be 5 class sessions each lasting about one hour
Are suggestions included for expanding/contracting the series? "Leaders may want to adapt the study to fit another time frame."  
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 only homework is the leaderīs - to prepare for each session in advance. Photocopies of the pages to read must be made in advance, etc.  
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 (Eco-Justice Working Group/Nat. Council of Churches). 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:Chalkboard or newsprint pad, Bibles, photocopied pages of readings from the leader´s guide. One session requires a snack table and colored slips of paper for one of the activities.
Description of the Leader's Guide:There is a 17 page leaderīs guide, but no student handbook. The leaderīs guide provides readings that can be photocopied for the participants to use during the sessions. Each of the five sessions spells out the theme, scripture readings, materials that will be needed, and includes a session plan that provides time frames and discussion questions. A closing prayer is also included for most of the sessions.
Description of the Student's Book:There is no student book. The leader´s guide includes readings that can be photocopied for participants to use at each session.

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? Helpful to have teacher expertise  
Preparation time required by the leader:
Subjectively rated as heavy, medium or light
This curriculum focuses specifically on global warming, and as such, it would be helpful if the leader knew more about global warming than the participants. Having said that, I would characterize the prep time as light, as each session plan is very structured, with time frames, themes, and scripture readings provided. 

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? Yes - global warming and climate change.  
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
Contains a very brief, elementary scientific explanation about global warming = what it is and what causes it.  
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?
No, I would not use. Iīm not sure I can articulate why very well - it just didnīt grab me. The educational readings donīt go into very much depth. There is not very much emphasis about what anyone can do about the problems being discussed until the last session - and the action list could be a whole lot more comprehensive also. Sessions allow ample time for group discussions.
What specific feedback do you have after reviewing these materials? What did you like? What did you not like?
What I liked - participants are asked a lot of questions to get them to think theologically about global warming. Session plans are highly structured. I like the stories in the last session about what other churches and conferences are doing to address the problem - offers something concrete as well as creative. I also like the distribution of wealth activity involving the uneven distribution of food from the snack table.

What I didnīt like - tendency to simplify a rather complicated and complex topic - breadth with no depth. I wanted a resource list about global warming - where to go for further information?

What questions did you have after reviewing the materials?
The copyright is 1999. How up to date is this curriculum now - in terms of global warming?
What, if any, concerns do you have about the use or implementation of this curriculum?
I´m not wildly excited about it, but it´s okay! I would use it to set a spiritual foundation instead of an educational or knowledge-based foundation.
What content, if any, does this program seem to be missing? What would you like this program to cover which it does not?
It´s missing depth about the very complex problem of global warming. This is a good introduction but should be followed up with some self-study activities or something.
Have you ever used this program in the past, or heard of others who have used it? What if any response was received?
No.


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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