VOLUME 44 NUMBER 2
Professor: Alice Laffey, associate professor,
Course overview: Offered this spring, the course considers the use/abuse of creation in light of the Christian tradition, which identifies all creation as belonging to God and human beings as entrusted with its care. Students examine the concepts of responsible stewardship and the sustainability of natural resources, particularly water.
Sample course materials: Texts: The Sustainability Revolution: Portrait of a Paradigm Shift, by Andres R. Edwards and David W. Orr, and Living Green: A Practical Guide to Simple Sustainability, by Greg Horn; Films: The Milagro Beanfield War and Water for Life; Documents from selected Web sites, including Catholic Coalition for Climate Change, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, National Catholic Rural Life Conference and the Association of Buddhists for the Environment
Assignments: Selected readings; class presentations; participation in class/small group discussions and community-based learning opportunities; three essays; final project
Class visit: Current events discussion about the environment; PowerPoint presentation by Peter Walsh ’13 and Alec Bonelli ’13 regarding the 2002 Australian Catholic Bishops’ Statement on the Environment, small group discussions/class presentation about solutions to the area’s environmental issues, using topics provided by the student leaders
Professor quote: “My goal is to increase the consciousness of students about the value of the natural world and the interdependence of all creation. Through the critical examination of documents promulgated by religious leaders on the environment and coverage of environmental issues in the media, I hope that students will develop a deeper appreciation of the natural world and a stronger commitment to behaviors that help to sustain it.”
Professor bio: Joining the College faculty in 1981, Associate Professor Alice Laffey has taught in Montserrat since the program’s inception in fall 2008; receiving a baccalaureate, licentiate and doctorate of sacred scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, she specializes in the Hebrew Scriptures, feminist hermeneutics, and ecology and the Bible. Her publications include Appreciating God’s Creation through Scripture.
Student quote: “‘Stewardship and Sustainability’ is increasing my awareness of the severity of our environment situation,” says Samantha Nardi ’13, of Wallingford, Conn. “I am learning ways each person can do his/her part to help the environment, as we have an ethical responsibility to protect God’s creation.”
Part of the Natural World cluster, “Stewardship and Sustainability” and the course “Biology of Health and Disease,” taught in the fall by Professor of biology Mary Lee Ledbetter, comprise the yearlong seminar, “Human Health & Creation’s Wellbeing.”
By Pam Reponen