Young people and the environment

Ideas for Action – Young people and the environment

Ideas and activities for youth groups

Young people planting a tree

Creatures from ants to antelopes, ear wigs to elephants all leave footprints behind marking where they have been. For the ants and earwigs the impressions may be fairly light, but antelopes and elephants leave tracks which can be more easily seen. A footprint is not the only mark left on the environment by an animal’s activity. Ants build anthills, earwigs appear unsolicited in apples, antelopes can be prolific grazers and elephants can make leave their mark whether crashing through the undergrowth or appearing on Blue Peter!

Humans, like animals, also leave a mark on the environment. Like animals, they can leave footprints showing where they have been, with those wearing ‘Doc Martens’ leaving a deeper impression than those going barefoot. Humans, like animals, also leave an impression as a consequence of their activities. Actions from switching on a light to littering the street, running a tap to travelling by car, all leave some form of impression on the environment. This is known as our environmental footprint.

The ‘Tread gently – go green’ module is an aid to assessing the environmental footprint of our activities and considering ways in which we can tread more lightly on the earth.

Download the latest version: Young people and the Environment

Additional resources

A Rocha UK have resources for work with children included in the Environment Sunday packs that they have been producing annually. This was initially called ‘Conservation Sunday’ but is now ‘Environment Sunday’ and was marked on the first Sunday in June but the resources can be used at any time! The Environment Sunday pack for 2012 is “The Life of Trees and The Tree of Life”.

CAFOD have an extensive range of resources for use in secondary schools and resources specifically on climate change. Catholic Social Teaching is a CAFOD resource for encouraging people to address issues of lifestyle in the light of the effect on those in poorer countries.

Drama on climate change: Degrees of Change is a 40 minute drama about climate change through the lens of social justice and a Christian response. Commissioned by CAFOD and written by Martin O’Brien from tenten theatre, the drama was launched in 2008 at the “liveit” events in Manchester and is designed for sixth formers and youth groups to perform within their school or parish community. Accompanying resources suggest a variety of ways to use the play as well as activities to help unpack the issues, either in preparation for a performance or just as a way into exploring climate change.

Christian Ecology Link’s service suggestions for LOAF (Local, Organic, Animal friendly, Fairtrade) is suitable for use with children and young people. Also have a look at CEL’s Environment Awareness course, which is a detailed course with lots of resources to help engage with young people at many different levels. And you might like to take a look at the EarthCare for Lent activities from St John’s, Hurst Green.

The Earth Charter is a declaration of fundamental principles for building a just, sustainable, and peaceful global society for the 21st century. Created by global civil society, endorsed by thousands of organizations and institutions, the Charter is not only a call to action, but a motivating force inspiring change the world over. Have a look at The Earth Charter – could you use it with your young people as a starting point for considering looking after the Earth?

Could you link in with a local school which is doing the Eco Schools programme? Nearly every school in Scotland is an EcoSchool. Have a look at their website and see if you could work together.

An organisation that promotes action on Climate change for all people of faith: Learning from science – through the eye of the sacred – to walk more lightly on the Earth. Produces a range of resources for young people.

REEP has developed resources linking many faiths and care for creation for primary age and for secondary age students.

The Scottish International Aid Fund (SCIAF) produces a wide range of resources on development and environmental issues (including climate change) for young people with games, fact sheets and stories from around the globe

SPEAK is a network connecting together students and young adults which prays and campaigns for global justice. Environmental issues are an integral part of their work. Your youth group could link up with them – could a SPEAK group be set up?

They have a youth blog and a range of resources.

Note on using the Ideas for Action

Ideas for Action have been designed to fit into church life and support and enhance church mission. They were designed collaboratively with churches to provide a resource that is not a textbook, but a toolkit, to suit all the different varieties of church life represented in the Eco-Congregation programme.

All congregations using our Ideas for Action should first register, and registered churches can also order printed copies. Find out how to register, or contact us if you’d like to know more.

All our resources may be freely copied and distributed within your church, but please accredit Eco-Congregation.