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CHTH224 Theology and the Environment

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.

Paper title Theology and the Environment
Paper code CHTH224
Subject Christian Thought and History
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period(s) 1st Non standard period (13 November 2023 - 16 December 2023) (Distance learning)
1st Non standard period (13 November 2023 - 16 December 2023) (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $955.05
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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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

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1st Non standard period (13 November 2023 - 16 December 2023)

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

1st Non standard period (13 November 2023 - 16 December 2023)

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Tuesday 09:00-11:50 46-50
Thursday 09:00-11:50 46-50