Children-seedlings 51202846981_7949ef3a7b_o.jpeg

Take action today for people and planet

Case studies – Wisdom

Faith groups are passing on wisdom acquired over millennia – which is why they have a special role in the environmental crisis. The challenge now is to bring that wisdom to bear in a way which communicates as widely as possible what people of faith can contribute to the solutions to the Earth's problems which will be needed in the decades to come.

Our world  is irreplaceable. Let’s save it.

Faiths are key stakeholders in the planet

The Seven Key Areas:
3. Wisdom

Students come away excited about the natural world and more knowledgeable about what Jewish tradition has to contribute to our understanding of the environment
 

Learning about the planet while reconnecting to their religion

 Teva 

The Center for Earth Ethics (CEE) is a non-profit Christian organisation working towards a vision of the world where value is measured by the sustained well-being of people and planet. Its work is carried out through four main programmes, centred on an understanding that systematic changes are needed in both policy and culture.

  • Eco-Ministry

  • Environmental Justice and Civic Engagement

  • Original Caretakers

  • Sustainability and Global Affairs

The CEE’s Eco-Ministry programme brings together the theological wisdom and expertise of faith leaders to offer classes, training and workshops that explore spiritual and moral aspects of the climate and ecological crisis. The programme creates a space for academics, faith leaders, communities and students to have open dialogue and share knowledge and experience of environmental issues relating to core beliefs and values.

 

In April 2021, CEE, along with the Climate Reality Project, hosted an online programme of Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training over several days. The training offered expert guidance on three topics: stopping fossil fuel expansion, accelerating climate solutions, and driving federal climate action in the US.

 

In a Faith Plans webinar, Rev. Darin Lamar Jones, director of operations at CEE, said “We should view the fight around climate change not as a way to avoid damnation, but as a way to live life fully.

“In Genesis Chapter II we have a snapshot of perfection, with God and man working in perfect harmony in the biodiversity of Eden. In Chapter III we see the destruction of intimacy between man and the earth.

“The reason we should involve ourselves in ethical action is because we have a divine responsibility and role in allowing the world to engage in the harmony originally envisioned by God.”

By highlighting the importance of wisdom in training and teaching, such wisdom can be passed on the next generation of faith leaders, allowing solutions to be designed on centuries-old foundations that have, more often than not, inspired environmental change.

• centerforearthethics.org

• CLICK HERE to read more about the Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training

have sought out Teva’s professional development opportunities. In turn, Teva educators have been inspired by their experience to start 14 initiatives that are making real impacts on the Jewish community.

 

All children ages 5-12 have the opportunity to participate in Hazon's Jewish Outdoor, Food, Farming, and Environmental Education programme called Camp Teva! at a retreat centre in Connecticut. Set in 400 acres of farmland forest, lakes, and streams, the centre offers activities from hiking and farming to yoga and prayer, during the Shabbat and Chaggim holidays in accordance with the conventional Orthodox laws.

Offered to fifth- and sixth-graders is a four-day programme called Shomrei Adamah, which means “Guardians of the Earth”. This integrates outdoor environmental education with Jewish concepts and values through hands-on activities. The aim is that students develop a greater sense of responsibility, independence, and self-esteem, and come away excited about the natural world and more knowledgeable about what Jewish tradition has to contribute to our understanding of the environment.

 Case study: Wisdom

School children at one of the activities organised by Teva at its 450-acre retreat in Connecticut. Participants learn to connect with nature and about how Jewish tradition is deeply entwined with the environment

Toolkit for teachers to help
educate children about WASH

 Case study: Wisdom

 Pepulih 

Pepulih is a Christian association in Indonesia, acting as environmental care observers. It was founded on April 22, coinciding with Earth Day 2004, and is based in Jakarta.

 

Pepulih offers environmental education to faith groups in Indonesia, working with communities to raise environmental awareness, and support the following programmes: Green Culture for Green Water, Green Energy, Green Waste, Green Planting, Green Building, Green Village and Green Schools.

 

Central to Pepulih’s work is the importance of water, sanitation and hygiene – or WASH – programmes. It organises School for Water Days where childcare professionals and teachers learn to make water and hygiene issues integral to their thinking. Among those taking taken up WASH programmes are Sunday schools and schools in the slum areas of Jakarta.

With UK charity FaithInWater and the Catholic Diocese of Jakarta, a toolkit was developed on a Christian approach to WASH which was translated into Bahasa Indonesia.

The approach soon snowballed: in September 2016 training was delivered to 20 people including priests, head teachers of Catholic schools as well as representatives from Catholic orphanages, the Diocesan Justice & Peace Commission, Catholic women’s organisations and Franciscans in Indonesia. 

​This was the first time they had considered practical action on water and cleanliness as an expression of their faith beliefs, and their response was immediately positive. It's also an example of how an initiative can snowball. 

The initial party of 20 then became trainers for others. Pepulih delivered another workshop to 48 participants from a wide range of groups, from leaders of parishes and women's groups, student representatives and teachers.

Participants also came from  different provinces – Java, West Java, East Java and East Nusa Tenggara. The group pledged to share what they'd learned with a further 2,000 people. 

Since then Pepulih has held several workshops with other groups, including workshops for 100 street children; 35 children living around the main Jakarta railway station; and 30 people with learning disabilities. 

faithinwater.org/faith-based-wash-in-indonesia

Children in Indonesian schools are learning about the importance of WASH – water, sanitation and hygiene – thanks to Christian environmental group Pepiluh 

B. Informal education

A church saved one of the last precious fragments of Lebanon's ancient forests 

 Schools4Trees 

Schools4Trees is a pioneering project set up by Muslim environmentalists in the UK as part of the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences (IFEES), also known as EcoIslam.

As more than 50 per cent of the global population now live in cities, children are becoming increasingly disconnected from nature. Not only does this impact their well-being, but also restricts them from learning about and experiencing the importance of nature and wildlife.

The aim of the Schools4Trees project is to educate children about the importance of trees and forests on earth. By taking children out of the classroom and into nature, it allows them to make connections between our lifestyles and the natural world. There are now Schools4Trees projects in Africa and Indonesia, two of the most forest-rich areas on the planet, but where the wooded environments on which ecology depends are severely threatened.

 Case study: Informal education 

The Schools4Trees project takes the message into the classroom

 Case study: Forests 

Buddhist monks are central to efforts to preserve woodland in Cambodia, where deforestation is rife. Trees are seen as worthy of respect and some have been ordained as monks to reinforce their great value to human communities

In Cambodia, trees have been ordained as monks as part of a successful effort to encourage communities to protect them

 Monk's community forest, Cambodia 

t/c

C. Water

'I learned how a girl can manage her menstruation ... they told us that menstruation is not a disease but is normal and natural for everyone. I feel
​so good!' 

– Asima Evers, 14, Kitoba Primary School, Uganda

Water is for much more than drinking: it underpins human dignity 

 Faith in Water 

 Case study: Water 

Water is not just a simple necessity for human life; it is core to religious traditions, to social practices and to basic dignity for people the world over. Much attention is paid by secular charities to the supply of clean drinking water, but it is needed for so much more.

The UK charity Faith in Water, which grew out of the Alliance for Religions and Conservation (ARC), works with faith groups to promote the need for clean water and the importance of WASH – water, sanitation and hygiene – for everyone, particularly women.

Faith in Water tries to bridge the gap between secular bodies and faith groups. A prime example is its work with Muslim and Christian groups in Indonesia , Kenya and Uganda, encouraging them to focus more on water, sanitation and hygiene in their teachings, traditions and practices.

The results have been impressive. At Ebukoola primary school in Kenya there are 80 per cent fewer cases of water borne diseases among pupils, and 80 per cent less absenteeism rates due to illness as a result. At Gisire Academy, also in Kenya, there was no water supply at all. After David Chacha, the head teacher, attended an ARC training session, he decided to install an 8,000 litre tank to be filled by rainwater. This has greatly improved hygiene and sanitation and saved money because the school doesn't need to buy water, except in the dry season. 

Dignity4Girls: A project in Kenya is one of several around the world encouraging schools to promote WASH – the importanc e of water, sanitation and hygiene – with special reference to girls. 

Results are not limited to individual schools. In each country where Faith In Water works, good practice has spread by example. In Indonesia, Muslim and Christian groups are spreading the message that water and sanitation is essential for young girls' health. 

In the same way, the Dignity4Girls programme in Uganda has reach almost 32,000 people – more than four times the original target, despite the inevitable interruption caused by the Covid pandemic. The project raises awareness on menstrual hygiene management. It is the first menstrual health programme to work with three major faith groups in Uganda: the Catholic Church, Church of Uganda and Uganda Muslim Supreme Council.

WASH issues are a key focus of the Faith-based Education for Sustainable Development Teacher's Toolkit, launched in Kenya in July 2013.

The crisis

Dirty water and inadequate sanitation are the second biggest killer of children aged under five worldwide. More than a third of the world's population – 2.5 billion people – lack adequate sanitation facilities. And one in nine – 750 million – lack access to safe drinking water. 

 

The  approach

Water and cleanliness play a role in belief and practice in many faiths. Linking those beliefs to practical action adds a powerful motivator for behaviour change. Faith In Water inspires faith groups to give greater priority to these issues and broker partnerships with secular organisations.

 

Engaging faith schools

Faith groups are involved in more than 50 per cent of schools worldwide. Working with faith schools offers a unique opportunity to engage the wider community. That's because they are usually part of a bigger faith structure – one that is highly trusted and influential. 

'I learned how a girl can manage her menstruation ... they told us that menstruation is not a disease but is normal and natural for everyone. I feel
​so good!' 

– Asima Evers, 14, Kitoba Primary School, Uganda

Water is for much more than drinking:
it underpins human dignity 

 A Rocha 

 Case study: Water 

Water is not just a simple necessity for human life; it is core to religious traditions, to social practices and to basic dignity for people the world over. Much attention is paid by secular charities to the supply of clean drinking water, but it is needed for so much more.

The UK charity Faith in Water, which grew out of the Alliance for Religions and Conservation (ARC), works with faith groups to promote the need for clean water and the importance of WASH – water, sanitation and hygiene – for everyone, particularly women.

Faith in Water tries to bridge the gap between secular bodies and faith groups. A prime example is its work with Muslim and Christian groups in Indonesia , Kenya and Uganda, encouraging them to focus more on water, sanitation and hygiene in their teachings, traditions and practices.

The results have been impressive. At Ebukoola primary school in Kenya there are 80 per cent fewer cases of water borne diseases among pupils, and 80 per cent less absenteeism rates due to illness as a result. At Gisire Academy, also in Kenya, there was no water supply at all. After David Chacha, the head teacher, attended an ARC training session, he decided to install an 8,000 litre tank to be filled by rainwater. This has greatly improved hygiene and sanitation and saved money because the school doesn't need to buy water, except in the dry season. 

Dignity4Girls: A project in Kenya is one of several around the world encouraging schools to promote WASH – the importanc e of water, sanitation and hygiene – with special reference to girls. 

Results are not limited to individual schools. In each country where Faith In Water works, good practice has spread by example. In Indonesia, Muslim and Christian groups are spreading the message that water and sanitation is essential for young girls' health. 

In the same way, the Dignity4Girls programme in Uganda has reach almost 32,000 people – more than four times the original target, despite the inevitable interruption caused by the Covid pandemic. The project raises awareness on menstrual hygiene management. It is the first menstrual health programme to work with three major faith groups in Uganda: the Catholic Church, Church of Uganda and Uganda Muslim Supreme Council.

WASH issues are a key focus of the Faith-based Education for Sustainable Development Teacher's Toolkit, launched in Kenya in July 2013.

The crisis

Dirty water and inadequate sanitation are the second biggest killer of children aged under five worldwide. More than a third of the world's population – 2.5 billion people – lack adequate sanitation facilities. And one in nine – 750 million – lack access to safe drinking water. 

 

The  approach

Water and cleanliness play a role in belief and practice in many faiths. Linking those beliefs to practical action adds a powerful motivator for behaviour change. Faith In Water inspires faith groups to give greater priority to these issues and broker partnerships with secular organisations.

 

Engaging faith schools

Faith groups are involved in more than 50 per cent of schools worldwide. Working with faith schools offers a unique opportunity to engage the wider community. That's because they are usually part of a bigger faith structure – one that is highly trusted and influential. 

Interested in finding out more?

If your organisation is interested in learning more about the Faith Plans programme, please contact us. And don't forget to sign up to our newsletters to be notified of new resources and webinars.

Sign up to our mailing list