This teacher’s copy of the Looking after our planet lesson plan is printer-friendly.
A football or something similar to pretend to give to someone to use, but also to look after.
A measuring ruler.
Here is a football (or some sort of ‘gift’).
Let’s pretend I am going to lend you this.
You can use it at home but you must look after it.
In fact, I want you to keep it in good condition until you get too old to use it, then I want you to pass it on to somebody else and give them the same instructions.
Q. Do you think you could look after this gift?
Imagine if you were the next ones to receive this gift and it was given to you in a totally wrecked condition.
Q. What would you feel like?
Now let’s keep the same situation, but instead of this gift being a football (or whatever) it is now the whole world!
Christians believe that God created the world for us, and that includes everyone before us and everyone after us.
It is lent to all of us.
So we have a responsibility to keep the world in good condition so that other people coming after us can enjoy it too.
They would not be happy to receive a wrecked world from us!
Q. What sort of things can wreck the world?
- waste plastic, etc,
- wasting food,
- wasting wood, metals, etc,
- greed (for ivory, etc),
- selfishness (not willing to cut back on energy-hungry goods to reduce CO2 emissions), etc.
Q. Can we help in not wrecking our world?
Does the little we can do affect the whole – yes if lots of people do it as well.
Q. How and why should we look after the world?
The football (or some sort of gift) belonged to the original person who gave it.
We could use it, but it was only lent to us. We didn’t own it.
The world is lent to the whole of humanity by God, it doesn’t belong to us, but we can use it and it needs to be handed onto the next generation of people.
This world is not owned by us.
It is like a rented house, we live in it and we can move the furniture around, but we don’t own it – the landlord does.
The landlord of this world is God and He expects us to live by certain standards so we don’t wreck each other and so we don’t wreck this planet!
There are so many minerals to make bad weapons
Some people may say; Okay God made the world and He wants us to look after it, so why did He give us the materials to make bombs and destructive things like that?
Q. To answer that this ruler is used for what?
For measuring things and drawing straight lines.
But it can also be used to hit someone.
Just about anything good can be used in a bad way.
The explosives in a bomb may seem totally bad, but explosives are needed to blast through solid rock in quarries, mines, and road or rail tunnels.
Explosives can be good, but bad people use them for terrible things.
Christians believe that God wants us to use all the things that He has provided, in a responsible manner.
The world has got so many people suffering from a lack of food and diseases, etc.
Q. Is this God’s fault?
To answer this question let’s think about some facts:
- There is enough food on this planet to feed everybody.
- Some countries horde up food (food mountains) and vast quantities of food are thrown away. This food does not get through to those countries who desperately need it.
- A lot of famine is caused by war. The crops get destroyed or they don’t even get sown because it is too dangerous to go into the fields.
- Famine can also be caused by greed, where people strip the land bare of trees, or they quarry out minerals, and then the land becomes a manmade desert.
- Some diseases are caused by people who don’t understand basic hygiene rules. They don’t dispose of their toilet waste properly and it contaminates their drinking water, etc.
- Some diseases are caused by wrong moral values. (Teachers note: In parts of Africa, the wife sleeps with any male guest because it is the custom to show hospitality in this way! By not keeping faithful to one marriage partner and/or by sleeping around before marriage, then sexually transmitted diseases have spread rapidly.)
Q. Do you still see this as God’s fault that people are starving?
Christians believe that God created the world and that He gives us our life.
So they believe it is good to give God thanks for things in their lives.
Because the Bible says:
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father (God)”James 1:17 NIV
Q. Are there any difficult questions about life that you would like to find the answer to?
Either take a short time to discuss this, or leave it with them.
Teachers note: There is a worksheet to accompany this lesson plan:
Looking after our planet worksheet
Also see: Looking after our planet. RE resources