Discussion: “Faith, Social Justice, and Service-Learning in Environmental Studies: the Struggle for Integration” by Mark Bjelland
I agree! and I appreciate Bjelland connecting faith, service, and social justice to environmental studies. I want to focus on the idea that the connecting of each of these practices should be done most intentionally by recognizing that they are all imperative to the success of each other. As much as I appreciate Bjelland seeing a place for faith, service, and social justice in environmental studies I think we should recognize that it is also necessary to create a place for environmentalism in all other aspects of study and practice. Particularly when we believe that living a Christian life acknowledges that all things are important and therefore connected. In living the Christian life all things are required to be taken care of and to also care for.
In the article Bjelland claims that Gustav, the school he works at, has become less associated with the church over the years and he has struggled with integrating these well. I don’t want to belittle that that may be true and it is also a fear for educators at Calvin. Thinking actively about integrating faith, service, environmentalism and social justice may seem like a revolutionary act but in actuality I think that it can be seen as following how we have always been intended to live. I think that it would be wise for colleges and universities to make intro environmental classes a requirement of many majors and programs. I think it seems more accurate that beyond becoming educated on a skill or particular field the goal for any educational institution is to create people that will care and be mindful of the way that we live. Shouldn’t we therefore be providing them with all the resources to do this well?
I encourage all of you to think about this. There are several ways that action can be done. Being extreme is one, the reason I think extremeness is important is because in reality we are going to fail at uniting these ideas with thoughts and actions. But if our aim and goal is amiably extreme then when we fail at reaching them we will at least have made some movement in the right direction. However, some people are discouraged by failure and need to approach change with accomplishable steps. However, each person has their way that fits them and contributes to their transformation and growth in living, I want to encourage you to please change and participate. Figure out what way or process will help you think and act most thoughtfully and pursue it.
Love from Maine, Elisabeth