Introducting the Lesson:
On June 18, 2015, Pope Francis released Laudato Si, On Care for our Common Earth, the first encyclical devoted entirely to environmental protection in the 2,000 year history of the Catholic Church. It was eagerly awaited worldwide and met with both praise and criticism. In the U.S., the pope’s once-soaring approval ratings plunged.
Does this unique and influential spiritual figure have the moral authority to make progress on the most vexing issue facing global leaders and the globe itself?
Meanwhile, ancient religious and cultural traditions in China are also being invoked as a call for environmental action. How is Buddhism compatible with a more active stance on ecological preservation, and what opportunities and barriers exist in China on this issue?
Read and watch the resources listed at right and answer the corresponding questions.
To understand Pope Francis better, read this article by Jim Yardley of the New York Times. Be sure to understand Francis’s relentless support for the poor and why this issue is a natural for him.
Students will explore the potential impact of Pope Francis's call for ecological preservation and contrast trends in China that are prompting Buddhists there to be better environmental stewards.
Introduce precise claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that establishes clear relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly, supplying evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience's knowledge level and concerns.