Review of 'Climate Justice With and For Children and Youth'
By Kevin Johnson
Climate Justice with and for Children and Youth in Churches: Get Informed, Get Inspired, Take Action
World Council of Churches
This toolkit produced by the World Council of Churches offers best practices for churches with a commitment to children and the concern of worldwide climate justice. The commitment to this generation is identified as important because “children are more exposed than adults to the impacts of climate change . . . [and] its consequences will be even greater in the lives of future generations, representing a threat to their very survival.” Climate change is a real and concerning issue to address with children and their caregivers.
There are three components to this resource: get informed, get inspired, and act. The first section offers information about resources that can educate children of various age groups about climate change and environmental challenges. Lifestyle change can’t take place until people have the correct information. This section provides excellent resources from an ecumenical perspective and world faith traditions to help children and their caregivers understand why change is necessary. The section takes a multiple-intelligence learning approach and provides curriculum, puppetry, story, and comics. All the resources can be accessed through the links provided in the resource.
Actions certainly speak louder than words, and the second section of the toolkit provides examples of young people who have addressed climate change and environmental justice. Such examples may help reduce feelings of being overwhelmed by such worldwide issues. The examples include everything from global movements to small-town churches to small groups of individuals making a difference. This section even includes testimonies from individuals across the globe, all under the age of twenty-five.
Inspiration leads to action, and the final section of the toolkit provides an opportunity for readers to implement what they have learned from the previous two sections. If everyone participates in drawing attention to environmental issues, the reduction of the human impact on the environment may well be within reach. This section provides a variety of ways to implement change toward a healthier earth.
Churches bring a lot of hope to children’s lives by uniting them in the fight for climate justice. The suggestions and tools found in this resource will encourage churches and partners to work with others across the world to share how they engage for climate justice for and with children and youth.
“What would Jesus think about how we treat the earth?” a child from South Africa wonders. I wonder the same thing.
Rev. Kevin Johnson is the Director, Children’s Ministries for Congregational Vitality & Intentional Discipleship at Discipleship Ministries. Kevin’s hero Fred Rogers suggests that we, “listen to the children, learn about them, learn from them. Think of the children first.” This quote defines Rev. Kev’s approach to ministry. Kevin, an ordained elder of the Kentucky Annual Conference, has over fifteen years of ministry experience in which he has thought of the children first. Prior to ministry, Kevin worked with children in the hospital setting and in group homes for emotionally and physically abused children.