Dear Earth

Innovating Religious Education Through the Lens of Climate Justice

REA Annual Meeting 2024

8-12 July, Online

Call for Proposals

Note, proposals were due in March, but this page is still available to share theme details.

The world is on fire: we know it in our bones and feel it in our hearts. Science, sociology and other disciplines describe dire scenarios as oceans rise, cities warm, and species decline. We know humanity’s most vulnerable populations will suffer most severely. These challenging times demand our attention as religious educators, in and out of institutions, to mitigate harm when possible, create new rituals of grief and lament when needed, and stir human creativity on behalf of all beings. 

A wellspring of human creativity pervades the climate justice movement. Across generations, leaders are reclaiming and innovating spiritual tools — alongside the tools of science, technology, politics, and art — to create multiple pathways for healing amidst the single most unifying concern facing the planet and its people. 

As religious educators, we are positioned to learn from this wellspring, so that we might  collaborate and conspire, inviting the energies of our faith communities more fully to the work of climate justice and inviting the lens of climate justice to all that we do as we shape people for faith. 

We envision a host of interdisciplinary conversations that can help religious educators integrate climate justice, climate grief, and climate hope for our planetary community into their practice of education and formation in all contexts, offering wisdom and leadership around the following questions: 

  • Where is religious education for climate justice happening in the larger ecosystem of change-making institutions, arts-based organizations, decolonizing movements, and activist communities?  How might we further support it?  
  • What pedagogies for social change are religious communities practicing as they collaborate at the intersections of climate justice movements? 
  • What rituals of grief, mourning, confession, and lament are people using as we witness the demise of species, communities, and lifeways? 
  • What rituals of celebration and earth-honoring are people creating or re-envisioning to rally fuller participation with the Beloved Community reflected in all of Creation?  
  • What spiritual practices foster a deepening of our connection to nature, understanding humans both as agents of change and as part and parcel of nature?
  • How might our religious language transform to communicate the reality of Creation as a sentient subject rather than an object separate from its human inhabitants?  
  • As global political decision makers move toward fuller recognition of the climate crisis, how are faith communities leaning into these larger systemic moves to effectively promote ecological health and well-being? 

Addressing climate justice from the perspective of religious education, we will draw from our own deep wells, wherein lay stories, images, artifacts and ways of being, handed down from our ancestors to help us live into a better future. We will especially attend to carefully inviting the voices of leaders who are indigenous, bipoc, young, and who represent non-dominant perspectives. 

We seek paper, poster, and collaborative proposals that share our collective wisdom and experiences in response to the above questions. We especially encourage interdisciplinary explorations that help us all learn from the deep wells of those in other fields and contexts whose work can contribute to the work of education and formation in this time of climate crisis. 

Program Chairs Rev. Dr. Dori Baker and Rev. Dr. Wanda Stahl can be reached at rea2024 [at] religiouseducation [dot] net.

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