What's Happening
Dear God...
“Hardly anyone can ever find God because God is right at the end of your mind after all the background thoughts are gone.”
Maisie Satchwell-Hust

Luton SACRE*
Creative Green RE** in Luton
*Standing Advisry Council on **Religious Education 

April 2023

This project engages with secondary pupils to consider different religious responses to green issues and ideas about climate justice to generate resources that will help secondary schools and can be disseminated to primary schools enabling many pupils in many schools to think for themselves in creative ways about the green issues which religions all address.

Schools involved in our project include Luton Sixth Form College,  Stockwood Park Academy, Denbigh High School, Challney High School for Boys and Challney High School for Girls.

After a slow start the project gathered energy and pace through our day conference for students from different Luton secondary schools held at the Youthscape centre Bute Mill and including a panel session with SACRE representatives from Christianity, Islam, Hindu community and the Baha’i faith.

Students had opportunities to learn in some detail about the teaching of sacred texts and the application of ideas about the world of nature and the environment from religions to contemporary problems. A creative afternoon enabled students to respond to their learning in the interfaith conference by creating team sculptures that reflected both the varied religious teaching they had heard and their own perspectives on contemporary green issues.

The project has a focus on students building their skills as leaders and all the activities of the day are being carried back into the different secondary schools using the resources of the project in pupil led activity across Luton.
Contributions in kind for the project comes from the teacher engagement which is also connected to the regular SACRE teacher network groups that meet each term and springs from the Luton Agreed Syllabus focus on environmental issues and the ethics of different religions and world views

Here are some examples of student commentary on their involvement in the project

Tendai: “We really liked making our sculptures and the main things we learned are about what is happening with the climate and how we can help learning deeply about the damage caused by humans. Learning to discuss with other people has helped me to see that I can be an ambassador to help other people who are interested.”

“I have enjoyed hearing four different religious people explain how their beliefs impacted on their worldviews and their ideas about global warming. I really enjoyed doing the art sculpture task and seeing other people's take on the environment. The main things we have been learning are about other ideas and viewpoints on the religious influence on ethical thought and how art can be used as a form of communication and inspiration. We need more time for the activity back in school: we will try to employ some of the skills and ideas we learned within the event towards our eco committee group. We also aim to start interesting discussions on environmental issues through the board game that we all played this has been a good example of the development of issues in RE outside of our normal lessons structures, linking RE to the effects of pollution.”

“We intend to implement eco friendly activities throughout the curriculum eg giving others creative ways to think about religion. It has been good to be involved in interactive ways of interpretation looking at how religion interlinks with climate issues and using creative ways of interpreting climate justice questions.”

“We liked listening to the panellists which was really interesting and we learned a lot from it. Being able to ask questions enabled us to gain more knowledge. The main thing we learned is that religions can do a lot and are quite interconnected: most beliefs have core ideas on caring for the planet. Back in school we will use the activity called ‘Paper the walls with the wisdom.’ It’s a very interactive task allowing everyone to see different perspectives. We think that good RE should use more creative activities so that pupils have a greater interest becoming more focused when learning about religion and nature.”

“Today I have been thinking about the values of love and care and many other values as well - caring for the earth even though we are from many different religions is a shared responsibility. It can create unity. I would have liked it if the panel discussion was more interactive but we did enjoy the conference part where we listened to the panel discussing their views on eco friendly religion. Back in school we intend to follow the same thought provoking tasks that we have tried out today for wider groups of pupils. We are thinking of running a competition comparing different artworks on eco friendly ideas. It has been good to do some academic learning that incorporates ecology.”

For more information please see the SACRE website by clicking here. 
The creative task, to express spiritual and philosophical ideas about climate justice for themselves, weas very popular. Many schools are using this back at school.
The philosophical approach to climate ethics was explored using this ranking, sorting and ordering game, in dialogue. It is one of many resources shared with the participating schools. 

“Today I liked the many diverse opinions that expressed the urgency of the situation around climate change and encouraged our creativity. The main things I've been learning are about the existence, nature and teaching of other religions, the impact of climate change and the importance of global unity for our human future. Back in school I hope we'll be able to have an educated debate and discuss ways to reduce carbon output such as planting more trees at our school. I think we need more debates, group work, discussions and more time to work on our creativity in RE.”

“This project has been very inclusive to all religions and to non religious people too, and has inspired everyone to get involved in caring for the environment and the teachings of different religions. We are responsible to care for the world around us which God created for us to use. Back in school we want to share around RE learning about green issues through an assembly presentation about everything that we have learnt, and possibly create a green club at our school.”

“These sessions are extremely interactive and it was enjoyable working with students from other schools. The art project was the highlight for me. The main things I've learned are about the Hindu ideas of preserving the earth and the Baha’i community’s idea of keeping green. Back in school we intend to share with other students how different religions share the same ideas and ethics and thoughts about the earth. The art projects to display our ideas and thoughts better were a strength of the work.”

“I have enjoyed learning about other religions and creating powerful art for ourselves, also the card game about green issues and the facilitating of the leaders helped us all to understand how other religions are reacting to climate change including a study of a new religion the Baha’i faith which we hadn't heard of before. In terms of our skills we were challenged to think about how to represent powerful ideas through art and we intend to take some interactive activities such as art competitions and games back to our own school.”

Lat Blaylock, facilitator:
“I am very pleased with the varied responses in the student evaluations selected above, indicating that the focus on dialogue, encounter, rigorous inter faith learning and creativity appealed to and potentially inspired the pupils and students involved. We have lots of resources to share and now need to move on to engage younger pupils with the work. Luton SACRE is grateful to NASACRE / Westhill for their support in this work.”
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