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Healing Earth New Edition

Celebrating 10 Years of Healing Earth

Story by Alex Quebbeman

In October 2012, 31 collaborators from Jesuit institutions around the world formed the International Jesuit Ecology Project (IJEP) to address environmental challenges. Led by Loyola’s Michael Schuck, PhD, the group developed Healing Earth, a free online environmental science textbook used globally and highly regarded in the Jesuit community. This October, we celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the project with the release of the third edition of Healing Earth

Screenshot of Healing Earth home page

Healing Earth is an online textbook that has been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, and Frence and has received prestigious awards.

Father Michael Garanzini, S.J., president of Loyola University Chicago from 2001 to 2015, first proposed the idea of an interdisciplinary environmental science textbook in 2011 after the Society of Jesus published “Healing a Broken World,” a special report that challenges Jesuits to address environmental problems through a spiritual perspective. In response to this call to action, Professor Schuck and SES Dean Nancy Tuchman convened a team of scientists, theologians, ethicists and other experts to form the IJEP and develop the text. The group held their first workshop at Loyola University’s Retreat and Ecology Campus, where they established a framework for Healing Earth, including which issues they should address, how to convey them, and how to incorporate Ignatian pedagogy.

 

The resulting textbook addresses six critical contemporary environmental challenges: biodiversity, natural resources, energy, food, water, and climate change. The authors discuss the scientific, ethical, and spiritual aspects of these issues and present a contemporary, unique case study for each. Healing Earth “uses Catholic social teaching as part of the textbook’s ethical framework, linking it to Loyola’s mission as a Jesuit institution,” said Rachel Elfant, the IJEP manager at Loyola. This emphasis on ethics and spirituality, along with its accessible, free online format, sets Healing Earth apart from other environmental science textbooks.

 

Since its publication, Healing Earth has been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, and French, and has received prestigious awards. In 2017, two years after Pope Francis’ famous Laudato Sí encyclical was published, the Healing Earth team received the Expanded Reason Award from the Joseph Ratzinger-Pope Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation and the University Francisco de Vitoria in Spain. The Expanded Reason Award honors people who challenge the typical one-dimensional form of scholarship by integrating multiple perspectives and angles on an issue, just as Healing Earth approaches environmental problems through a scientific, ethical, and spiritual perspective. Professor Schuck attended an awards conference, met Pope Francis, and received $29,500 to support the maintenance and growth of the online textbook.

 

Healing Earth is a ‘living textbook,’ which means that it is “constantly changing and being updated to include more current issues,” said Christine Wolff, who has been with the project since 2012 and is now the Healing Earth content manager. “The textbook helps science teachers convey the ethical and spiritual dimensions of environmental problems and solutions. It’s also used by ethics and philosophy teachers and by different parishes and groups looking to dive into environmental issues,” she explained.

 

The textbook’s newest edition, released this month, will include a community forum and a registration page. The community forum will allow people around the world to connect and discuss environmental and ethical dilemmas. The registration page will help the IJEP and Healing Earth team understand who is using this textbook and why. Looking further into the future, IJEP is working on a Chinese language translation and a new chapter for the text.

Celebrating 10 Years of Healing Earth

Story by Alex Quebbeman

In October 2012, 31 collaborators from Jesuit institutions around the world formed the International Jesuit Ecology Project (IJEP) to address environmental challenges. Led by Loyola’s Michael Schuck, PhD, the group developed Healing Earth, a free online environmental science textbook used globally and highly regarded in the Jesuit community. This October, we celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the project with the release of the third edition of Healing Earth

Father Michael Garanzini, S.J., president of Loyola University Chicago from 2001 to 2015, first proposed the idea of an interdisciplinary environmental science textbook in 2011 after the Society of Jesus published “Healing a Broken World,” a special report that challenges Jesuits to address environmental problems through a spiritual perspective. In response to this call to action, Professor Schuck and SES Dean Nancy Tuchman convened a team of scientists, theologians, ethicists and other experts to form the IJEP and develop the text. The group held their first workshop at Loyola University’s Retreat and Ecology Campus, where they established a framework for Healing Earth, including which issues they should address, how to convey them, and how to incorporate Ignatian pedagogy.

 

The resulting textbook addresses six critical contemporary environmental challenges: biodiversity, natural resources, energy, food, water, and climate change. The authors discuss the scientific, ethical, and spiritual aspects of these issues and present a contemporary, unique case study for each. Healing Earth “uses Catholic social teaching as part of the textbook’s ethical framework, linking it to Loyola’s mission as a Jesuit institution,” said Rachel Elfant, the IJEP manager at Loyola. This emphasis on ethics and spirituality, along with its accessible, free online format, sets Healing Earth apart from other environmental science textbooks.

 

Since its publication, Healing Earth has been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, and French, and has received prestigious awards. In 2017, two years after Pope Francis’ famous Laudato Sí encyclical was published, the Healing Earth team received the Expanded Reason Award from the Joseph Ratzinger-Pope Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation and the University Francisco de Vitoria in Spain. The Expanded Reason Award honors people who challenge the typical one-dimensional form of scholarship by integrating multiple perspectives and angles on an issue, just as Healing Earth approaches environmental problems through a scientific, ethical, and spiritual perspective. Professor Schuck attended an awards conference, met Pope Francis, and received $29,500 to support the maintenance and growth of the online textbook.

 

Healing Earth is a ‘living textbook,’ which means that it is “constantly changing and being updated to include more current issues,” said Christine Wolff, who has been with the project since 2012 and is now the Healing Earth content manager. “The textbook helps science teachers convey the ethical and spiritual dimensions of environmental problems and solutions. It’s also used by ethics and philosophy teachers and by different parishes and groups looking to dive into environmental issues,” she explained.

 

The textbook’s newest edition, released this month, will include a community forum and a registration page. The community forum will allow people around the world to connect and discuss environmental and ethical dilemmas. The registration page will help the IJEP and Healing Earth team understand who is using this textbook and why. Looking further into the future, IJEP is working on a Chinese language translation and a new chapter for the text.