Loyola University Chicago

Institute of Environmental Sustainability

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Healing Earth, a free environmental science e-textbook, launches in January

Healing Earth, a free environmental science e-textbook, launches in January

Healing Earth is for all types of students interested in environmental science and specifically designed for first year university students, fourth-year secondary school students, adult learners and those most marginalized worldwide. The textbook is aimed at heightening awareness of our planet’s environmental issues through Ignatian Pedagogy—a method that challenges students to see scientifically, evaluate ethically, reflect spiritually and act effectively.

For over 500 years, the Jesuits have affected social change through education. At IES, we are pleased to continue this tradition through the International Jesuit Ecology Project (IJEP). IJEP is made up of international scholars with expertise in environmental science, environmental ethics, and environmental spirituality who have thought deeply about how to get environmental science education to our most marginalized populations. At the same time these scholars recognize that climate change poses an enormous threat to our planet and with Healing Earth, they’ve created a textbook that encourages students to be agents-of-change on this ever-changing planet.

Healing Earth is for all types of students interested in environmental science and specifically designed for first year university students, fourth-year secondary school students, adult learners and those most marginalized worldwide. The textbook is aimed at heightening awareness of our planet’s environmental issues through Ignatian Pedagogy—a method that challenges students to see scientifically, evaluate ethically, reflect spiritually and act effectively. Healing Earth  was written collaboratively by 90 scholars from Jesuit institutions worldwide and takes a global approach to environmental issues.

Healing Earth begins each chapter with a regional case study that poses interrelated scientific, ethical, spiritual and action-oriented questions. For example, the case study in the Global Climate Change chapter focuses on Mongolian Herdsman who are losing their herds and their ancient nomadic way of life because of climate change.

The science of global climate change can help us all better understand what is happening to Mongolia’s pastureland.

The perspective of environmental ethics points out the complex matter of moral responsibility. The herdsman aren’t the ones emitting the destructive gases into the atmosphere. So, who shares moral responsibility for global climate change and what responses are morally called for?

The perspective of spirituality asks us to consider what the Earth means to us. How deeply do we respect the natural world? For the Mongolian herdsmen, the herds and pastures have a sacred value.

How, then, are we called to act? How can we support the herdsmen in their efforts to survive against the increasingly terrible odds of global climate change?

Through case studies like that of the Mongolian herdsmen, Healing Earth (link: http://healingearth.ijep.net/) helps students see the relationship between science, ethics, spirituality and action.

Check out the full textbook of Healing Earth, here.  Interested in becoming an early adopter of Healing Earth and sharing it with your students? Email Chris Wolff