Religious Educators: Championing the Concept of Sustainable Living

  • Shane LaveryEmail author


In 1990, Pope John Paul II highlighted the responsibility of Christians towards nature and the Creator. In his January 2001 General Audience, he noted, “humanity had disappointed the divine creator” (para. 4) through a reckless use of resources. Pope Benedict XVI was equally forthright on this matter. Since his election, Pope Francis has been proactive in his statements regarding ecological responsibility. This chapter examines ways in which religious education teachers can take up the challenge so eloquently framed by these three discerning Catholic leaders. It does so by exploring the practices of religious education teachers in early childhood, primary and secondary education within Western Australian Catholic schools. Specifically, these teachers were surveyed as to ways they attempt to develop a sense of sustainable living as part of their overall religious education programme. The findings of the research are then interrogated in the light of current educational literature on sustainability. The chapter concludes by proffering a number of suggestions as to how teachers of religious education can support Pope Benedict XVI’s call to “appreciate and defend nature” (Caritas in veritate: encyclical letter of Pope Benedict XVI. Retrieved from _ben-xvi_enc_20090629_caritas-in-veritate_en.html, Pope Benedict XVI, 2009, para. 26).


Ecological Footprint Religious Education Sustainable Living Catholic School Early Childhood Teacher 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationThe University of Notre DameFremantleAustralia

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