SRSP 11-16 Topic 5 U1a – Environmental issues

‘We have not inherited the earth from our fathers;

we are borrowing it from our children.’

(Lester Brown, American Environmentalist)


This unit helps students to investigate present problems and possibilities facing the environment. It gives them space to reflect on how they themselves can contribute to the well being of the environment.

Many religions talk about stewardship or care for the created world. Within the science curriculum the following topics appear as areas for study between the ages of 11-14: air pollution; water pollution; waste and recycling; power production and pesticides and chemical fertilisers. This unit therefore seeks to enable students to learn scientific facts about these topics as well as explore religious considerations about them.

At 14-16, science syllabuses and courses cover a range of environmentally related issues. These ask students to have knowledge of current practice as well as understanding ideas about how science can help us to create fewer problems in the future. RE syllabuses and courses ask questions about how humans should treat the planet from one or two religious points of view. Students need to have knowledge of problems facing the world, alongside insights from the sacred texts and traditions as to how we should look after the world.

Some of the units in Topic 2 also cover environmentalism.

This unit consists of 3 lessons for students aged from 11 to 14 years, and 3 lessons for students aged from 14 to 16


Key Questions (11-14)

  • What do various religions say about how we should treat the world?
  • What are the problems facing the environment?
  • How do we know this and whose analysis can we trust?
  • How do you respond to religious teachings about the environment?
  • What is the future for our world?


Key Questions (14-16)

  • Does it matter how we treat the world?
  • Is science a force for good or bad when we consider the environment?
  • Where can I get help and information in order to live responsibly in the world?
  • Is environmentalism an eschatological concern?

Some of the materials can be viewed on screen and some can be downloaded for editing or printing. To view the pdf files you need Adobe Acrobat Reader. See the about section for more details.

Ages 11-14

Unit Resources

Unit Overview


Lesson 1

Lesson Plan: What is happening to the environment? (Word)

Student Resource Sheet 1: Problem research cards (Word)

Student Resource Sheet 2: Instruction, player cards and counters (Word)

Student Resource Sheet 3: Problem cards (Word)

Teacher Resource Sheet: Can you survive game (Word)

Environment Game: Gameboard (PDF)


Lesson 2

Lesson Plan: What does religion have to say? (Word)

Student Resource Sheet 1: What does religion have to say? (Word)

Student Worksheet 1: What does religion have to say? (Word)


Lesson 3

Lesson Plan: Can we change the world? (Word)

Student Worksheet 1: Can we change the world? (Word)

Student Worksheet 2: Can we change the world? (Word)


Ages 14-16

Unit Resources

Unit Overview (Word)


Lesson 1

Lesson Plan: How long before the chop? (Word)

Student Resource 1: How long before the chop? (Word)

Student Resource 2: Deforestation (Word)

Teacher Resource: Deforestation (Word)

Powerpoint: Environmental problems (PPT)


Lesson 2

Lesson Plan: What do the faiths say? (Word)

Student Resource: What should Walton-on Epping do? (Word)


Lesson 3

Lesson Plan: Religion and Ecology (Word)

Student Worksheet: The residents’ meeting (Word)

Teacher Resource: The results (Word)

© 2011 LASAR (Learning about Science and Religion)