For Classroom or Home School
Week 6: Autumn
Lesson 4: Protecting Earth & Right Relationship: Story: What Are We Going To Do With The Time Given To Us?
We do not own this land, we are here to care for Earth.
Getting to the Heart of the Lesson
In 2015, a historic constitutional climate lawsuit, called Juliana v. United States, was filed against the U.S. government in the U.S. District Court in the District of Oregon. At the time it was filed, the case’s twenty-one plaintiffs ranged from 11- 21 years of age. Speaking in defense of their right to a future on the planet, and in an effort to address the parts of the climate destruction that require legal intervention, these plaintiffs are an incredible example of leaders trying to restore a Right Relationship with Earth.
There are others, too! An entire movement of young people has galvanized to protect Earth. They are called Earth Guardians. Each Earth Guardian crew around the world is doing its part to invite conversation, action and lifestyle changes that will allow humans to remain on the planet. In May 2019, 1.6 million teenagers around the world visibly assumed their roles as Earth Guardians by participating in classroom walk-outs, filing lawsuits, joining grassroots restoration of watersheds or open spaces, and learning skills that foster land protection through foraging, conservation, and permaculture.
In this week’s lesson, we look at Right Relationship with Earth. To be in Right Relationship with someone or something, there must first be a relationship. Many argue that part of the reason we are in today’s climate crisis is because humans have fallen out of relationship with the living world. Modernity and technology have taken us away from the intimacy we once felt with our water, our food, the stars, the seasons, and the weather. We become guardians of that which we depend upon for our lives to continue. We protect what we love.
Some reading and a 10-20 min exercise (more if you have time and wish to take it) so that you are able to experience the teachings offered through this lesson).
As you prepare for this week’s lesson, spend time with ONE of these options:
Option One — What part of Earth, in the yard, neighborhood or town where you live, is asking for protection? Perhaps a river or creek area, a park, or your street? Follow the steps of the plaintiffs (above) and take action this week. Write a letter to your City Council, Board of Supervisors or Mayor’s office OR write a letter to the editor in response to actions taking place that negatively affect climate change conversations or your local environment. To write your letter, consider the following outline: 1st paragraph – introduce the problem & sum up your objection. 2nd paragraph – include a few sentences to support your view. 3rd paragraph – conclude with a great summary and a clever ending.
Option Two — This four min video on Indigenous Youth Leadership Training (https://www. earthguardians.org/indigenous-youth-leadership- training) documents the vision of a number of indigenous youth who are un-learning practices that have been destructive and replacing these practices with life-sustaining practices that foster greater intimacy with Earth. While this training was designed for Native people in the United States, every single one of us is indigenous to land and place somewhere. It is our sacred work to discover what is true for us regarding our original roots and/or in the place we call home.
Reflect: What patterns or practices do you want to unlearn? What Earth-protecting practice do you want to include in your life? If you want companionship in this work, which organizations might you wish to contact?
Read through the lesson before your time with the children. Decide which Activity Exploration will work best for your class. (There are usually two options; choose one) Just below the heading, “Children’s Lesson and Story” you will find the preparations checklist for this lesson so you can collect any needed materials or make arrangements to support your selected activity.
Sacred Text Quotes
Hebrew Scriptures. Isaiah 11:6 (NRSV)
The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.
Islam.. Qur’an 2.205
There is a type of man whose… aim everywhere is to spread mischief through the earth and destroy crops and cattle. But God loves not mischief.
Jainism. Tattvarthasutra 7.11
Have benevolence toward all living beings.
Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.
— Mahatma Gandhi
Humanity finds itself in the midst of the world. In the midst of all other creatures, humanity is the most significant and yet the most dependent upon the others. Humanity is small in stature, but powerful in strength of soul. With head directed upward, and feet on firm ground, humanity can set all things in motion, things above as well as things below. — Hildegard of Bingen (1)
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. — Margaret Mead
Be sure to click here to download the Teaching Introduction and Instructions.