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Authors: Altmeyer, Stefan
Title: Religious education for ecological sustainability : an initial reality check using the example of everyday decision-making
Online publication date: 7-May-2021
Year of first publication: 2021
Language: english
Abstract: There is a widely accepted consensus that religious education, together with all other school subjects, should contribute to the goals of education for sustainable development. As a result, theoretical models have been developed to profile what the specific contributions of religious education might be. However, the question whether religious education can achieve the intended goals has not yet been researched in more detail. More fundamentally, to be able to formulate realistic goals involves the clarification of students’ predispositions. In the light of these questions, the author focuses on an ecological sustainability dilemma, the so-called poplar dilemma, and asks how students react to this conflictive situation and what roles religious orientations play in their responses. Analysis of the responses of a sample of more than 1100, 14- to 16-year-old students at secondary schools in Germany and Austria led to the conclusion that over-reaching, action-changing environmental sustainability goals are probably beyond the reach of religious education as a single subject. Nevertheless, it becomes clear that ecological issues are regarded by many as religious and spiritual questions and can therefore be addressed in a focused way through religious education. The idea of religious stewardship, which implies taking responsibility and addresses both religious and non-religious students, could be particularly promising. Religious education could develop a characteristic profile as an area in which translation between different motivations for engaging in religious stewardship occurs, and where commitments to taking responsibility are sought.
DDC: 200 Religion
200 Religion
370 Erziehung
370 Education
Institution: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Department: FB 01 Katholische u. Evang. Theologie
Place: Mainz
Version: Published version
Publication type: Zeitschriftenaufsatz
License: CC BY
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Journal: Journal of Religious Education
Pages or article number: 57
Publisher: Springer
Publisher place: Singapore
Issue date: 2021
ISSN: 2199-4625
Publisher URL:
Publisher DOI: 10.1007/s40839-020-00131-5
Appears in collections:JGU-Publikationen

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