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Love, Creation, Virtue as Models for Environmental Education

Too many conversations about the environment and environmental education start off on the wrong foot. “What good is a prairie?” “Fracking is going to poison our water supply.” “We need to cap CO2 emissions.” Questions are raised about our values, priorities, and lifestyles—the many things tied intimately to our identities and the things we love. These are important conversations to have, but are often doomed before they even begin.

Where should we start?

Love

The question of calling is a central question woven throughout a student’s development. From kindergarten on we try to plot a student’s trajectory. Will she become a doctor? A writer? A statistician? Even at Dordt College, the first class that every student takes is Core 100: Kingdom, Identity, and Calling.

We spend a lot of time talking about something that is really quite simple. We have one calling in two parts. If your activity is aimed at these two things, you are in your calling. If you are preparing for a career and you cannot see how it is going to do these things, you had best be careful. Even if you enjoy it, are good at it, or see doors opening for you, it is not truly your calling until you see Christ and your neighbor clearly.

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matt 22:37–39).

This is where a conversation about the environment and environmental education in Christian communities should start.

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