CHICAGO, April 5, 2016—Loyola University Chicago and the International Jesuit Ecology Project (IJEP) have launched Healing Earth, a free digital environmental science textbook. Available online, the textbook is intended for fourth-year secondary school students, first-year university students, adult learners, and independent learners worldwide.
The text takes a global approach to environmental issues through Ignatian pedagogy—a method that challenges students to see scientifically, evaluate ethically, reflect spiritually, and act effectively. More than 90 scholars from Jesuit institutions across the world contributed to the project, which is already being utilized by educators in more than 40 cross-curricular classrooms teaching biology, theology, social science, fine arts, and public health courses.
“Healing Earth addresses the most pressing environmental issues of our time, including the loss of biodiversity, quality and availability of food and water, and global climate change,” said Nancy Tuchman, PhD, founding director of Loyola’s Institute of Environmental Sustainability and co-editor of Healing Earth. “These issues threaten our common home and have enormous impacts on the global economy, social violence, climate refugees, and world poverty.”
Each of the textbook’s six chapters includes a case study that guides students through the Ignatian pedagogical approach, outlining the scientific, ethical, and spiritual issues raised in each example. There is also an online forum for students to discuss the intersection of environmental science and social issues highlighted in the book.
Due to the dynamic nature of climate change and environmental science, the authors plan to make regular updates to the digital text, which will include updated resource links and video content.
“This project is the first of its kind and breaks many barriers in education,” said Michael J. Garanzini, S.J., secretary for higher education for the Society of Jesus and chancellor at Loyola. “Reaching a global audience is trailblazing; connecting university professors and secondary school educators is rare; and integrating science, spirituality, and ethics is unique.”
IJEP collaborators plan to move the project forward by creating additional resources for educators, which will include forums for lesson plan sharing and a teacher’s manual. To accommodate a global audience, the textbook is currently being translated into multiple languages, including Spanish and French, available later this year.
“Students want to learn more than the science behind our environmental problems, and Jesuit schools want them to reflect on the complicated social issues these problems create,” said St. Louis University High School science teacher Bill Anderson, an early-adopter of Healing Earth. “Students want to be engaged with the world around them. They want their minds, hearts, and spirits challenged, and they want to be mobilized. Healing Earthencourages students to be agents of change and it has been an incredible addition to my classroom.”
About The International Jesuit Ecology Project
For more than 500 years, the Jesuits have affected social change through education. The International Jesuit Ecology Project (IJEP) is comprised of nearly 100 international scholars with expertise in environmental science, environmental ethics, and environmental spirituality who have thought deeply about how to make environmental science education accessible to the world’s most marginalized populations. To learn more about IJEP and its projects, visit LUC.edu/ijep.
Institute of Environmental Sustainability