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    Engaging with biblical, historical and contemporary theologies of nature, this paper explores the resources available within the Christian tradition for shaping a contemporary ecological ethic.

    In an era of climate change, sea-level rise, species extinction, and the widespread destruction of natural habitats, environmental ethics is an urgent global concern. This paper explores the contribution of the Christian tradition to the understanding of our environment and to responsible human habitation of the world.

    About this paper

    Paper title Theology and the Environment
    Subject Christian Thought and History
    EFTS 0.15
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period Not offered in 2024, expected to be offered in 2025 (Distance learning)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $981.75
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    36 points at 100-level
    CHTH 324
    Schedule C
    Arts and Music, Theology

    Dr Andrew Shepherd

    Teaching staff

    Course Coordinator and Lecturer: Dr Andrew Shepherd

    Paper Structure

    Module 1 - Theology in an Ecological Age

    • Definitions & Challenges
    • How do we see the world?
    • God & the World (Trinity, Christology & Pneumatology)
    • Anthropology & Human Vocation
    • Eschatology & Ecological Hope

    Module 2 - Christian Ecological Ethics

    • An overview of Ecological Ethics
    • Ecological Virtues
    • Ecological Practices - The importance of place
    • Ecological Practices - The art of contemplation
    • Patterns of Consumption - Limits & Attachment

    Module 3 - Applied Ethics

    • Food Production & Dietary Choices
    • The Politics of Water
    • International Travel & Carbon Offsetting
    • Species Extinction & Conservation
    Teaching Arrangements

    The Distance Learning offering of this paper is taught remotely.

    Campus: Two three-hour classes each week
    Distance: Two three-hour classes per week. Distance students participate in the campus classes via Zoom. Students who are unable to join classes can watch recordings at a later time.


    There is no compulsory textbook for this paper.

    Course outline

    View the latest course outline

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Environmental literacy.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete the paper will:

    • Demonstrate an understanding of the key elements of ecological theologies
    • Outline and critically evaluate a range of ethical approaches to human relationships within nature
    • Describe the significance of virtues and practices within the development of a contemporary Christian ecological ethic
    • Offer critical theological/ethical reflection upon the ecological impact of human patterns of consumption
    • Offer a critical evaluation of the ecological merit of one ecological theologian/ethicist


    Not offered in 2024, expected to be offered in 2025

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught through Distance Learning
    Learning management system
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