Catholic School-Environmental/Soc Justice Homework


#1

To raise awareness of several "environmental and social justice" issues, my child's 7th grade teacher is having them weigh our family's garbage and recycling for several weeks. Following that, we are to try and reduce both our garbage and recycling by weighting it again, and then take an inventory of what we throw away in our garbage for a period of time.

Has anyone else "experienced" this kind of project before? I am not liking it on several levels.

Any thoughts?


#2

I'd tell the teacher that your garbage is none of her business and your family will not be participating.


#3

Hmmm, who has time to weigh their garbage? Really?

Besides, it is none of their business!

If this is a required assignment, I think this would be fabricated data.:cool: Homemade junk science.


#4

I don't understand why the church is pushing a socialist agenda. Socialism is anti-constitutional and therefore un-American. Our constitutions guiding principle was that of a limited government and our Bill of Rights that were endowed by our creator proves it. Those rights don't grant power to the government, they take power away from government and gives it to you as an individual. Doesn't Christianity teach salvation as an individual matter? What's next, group discounts for the Ten Commandments? It seems to me we should be moving away from the anti-God marxist philosophies, not toward them.


#5

It sounds a bit misguided, but America is one of the most wasteful nations in the world. We should look towards conservation methods.

And i bet the pounds of garbage per person is MUCH less in large families.

So if it reeks of socalism than no. If is to make sudents aware that they are -even if living in povert by us standards- one of the top 1% wealthiest in the3 world then absolutely.

It is none of the governments business how much we throw out. But it is very much the business of our moral leaders to keep us humble and respecting the earth.


#6

[quote="Lost_and_Found, post:4, topic:232296"]
I don't understand why the church is pushing a socialist agenda.

[/quote]

I think that is is a very big leap to extrapolate from one 7th grade teacher's assignment to "the Church" pushing a "socialist agenda."

I'm not even sure how you get from recycling to socialism? The OP mentioned social justice. Social justice and socialism are not the same thing.

[quote="Lost_and_Found, post:4, topic:232296"]

Socialism is anti-constitutional and therefore un-American. Our constitutions guiding principle was that of a limited government and our Bill of Rights that were endowed by our creator proves it. Those rights don't grant power to the government, they take power away from government and gives it to you as an individual.

[/quote]

The Church is not American.

[quote="Lost_and_Found, post:4, topic:232296"]
Doesn't Christianity teach salvation as an individual matter?

[/quote]

Um, no. As we are communal by nature, it is a bit more complex than that.

[quote="Lost_and_Found, post:4, topic:232296"]
What's next, group discounts for the Ten Commandments? It seems to me we should be moving away from the anti-God marxist philosophies, not toward them.

[/quote]

It seems to me that you need to explain your position, because frankly it makes no sense.


#7

I'm not getting how this assignment is a bad thing. My girls are in 2nd and 3rd grade and they've each had to do garbage-related assignments, the point of which were to try to teach them to avoid wastefulness.

I'm also not sure how recycling is being equated with socialism. I'm a huge proponent of recycling and the last thing on earth any of my friends would call me is socialist. I think it's more an issue of responsibly managing resources.

One thing I will agree with here is SeaShoreGirl's comment that the amount of garbage per person is less in larger families. We make lots of bulk purchases and as a result only have to throw away/recycle one package instead of several for certain items. I don't think our Costco membership makes us Marxists, though.


#8

To me, if the school wants to do a project such as this, then limit it to the classroom. Weigh the classroom garbage, see what's in it, can they recycle more of what they are throwing away, etc.

As one poster put it, what is in my garbage really isn't anyone's business.


#9

I really don't get what the big deal is. Care for God's creation, including the earth, (by reducing waste, recycling, etc.) is a tenet of Catholic social teaching. Moreover, it's an assignment for the 7th grader; haver her weigh and record the garbage. If the OP has a large family and is embarrassed by the amount of garbage they produce, have the 7th grader report the numbers per person in household. And when the teacher asks for an inventory of what is thrown away, I'm sure she doesn't expect a line-by-line breakdown. I would think something generic like: 50% food byproducts or empty food containers, 20% paper products, etc would suffice.


#10

I've got to agree the most of the other posters, I see no reason why this is such an objectionable project. If you are just so set on not doing it give your daughter her own trash can and let her record her own waste.


#11

I would object if the assignment were to go through the garbage and record what it consists of, or to bring the bag of garbage into the classroom so everyone could see what is in it. That would be a privacy invasion as well as simply disgusting.

I'd probably let my kid weigh his own garbage. He throws out his school papers in the regular trash when he knows we've been recycling paper since before he was born!

Our neighborhood recently got curbside recycling and I am so very happy about it! What a relief to be able to recycle the 46 plastic milk jugs we go through ever week!!!! (Well, not really, but it sure seems like that when both sons are home....)

:D

Is the underlying message that we all need to reduce our "carbon footprint?" or just that we are stewards of God's creation and need to take care of our home? There's a huge difference in agenda. If the former, watch out for more guilt, fear and brainwashing. If the latter, it's a no-brainer to support that.


#12

Unfortunately, many ideas and practices that are perfectly legit have been corrupted by groups and those people no longer have the correct motivation for their actions.

Recycling is a perfect example. Of course throwing less out and recycling more is the ideal situation, but the main reason should be because we were given responsibility to care for the earth and its creatures. It has been perverted into placing "Nature" on a pedestal, and recycling is their way of worshiping their "god."

I see nothing wrong with this assignment, besides the fact that it's a pain in the butt, because there is a lot of unnecessary waste and if people aren't encouraged to think about what they're throwing out, they won't be encouraged to try and change their behavior. Now, if the teacher were to start spouting off about certain agendas, then I would be worried.

Starting a compost pile would probably reduce quite a bit of trash (just remember, no animal products) - it totally would in my garbage, but I'm in an apartment so it won't work. Unless there's a community compost pile somewhere.. that's actually a good idea, I should look that up..

Make sure in her report your daughter calculates average waste per person - if you have a large family the results will seem super out of place without number of people to offset the larger amount.

Aw man forgot about dst.. quick shower and church! :eek:


#13

[quote="catechizeme, post:8, topic:232296"]
To me, if the school wants to do a project such as this, then limit it to the classroom. Weigh the classroom garbage, see what's in it, can they recycle more of what they are throwing away, etc.

As one poster put it, what is in my garbage really isn't anyone's business.

[/quote]

I don't think the OP was saying they had to list what was in their garbage.

Why limit this to the classroom? It's called homework, and quite appropriate at a 7th grade level. I applaud this teacher. Way to get the family involved!


#14

[quote="sharmin, post:13, topic:232296"]
I don't think the OP was saying they had to list what was in their garbage.

[/quote]

Re-read the OP. She states that the must "take an inventory of what we throw away in our garbage for a period of time."

[quote="sharmin, post:13, topic:232296"]
Why limit this to the classroom? It's called homework, and quite appropriate at a 7th grade level. I applaud this teacher. Way to get the family involved!

[/quote]

Because it is NOT the teacher's business what is in their garbage and how they choose to dispose of it.


#15

[quote="catechizeme, post:1, topic:232296"]
To raise awareness of several "environmental and social justice" issues, my child's 7th grade teacher is having them weigh our family's garbage and recycling for several weeks. Following that, we are to try and reduce both our garbage and recycling by weighting it again, and then take an inventory of what we throw away in our garbage for a period of time.

Has anyone else "experienced" this kind of project before? I am not liking it on several levels.

Any thoughts?

[/quote]

Honestly, I think it's a great idea for a science class. It would be a waste of valuable time for a religion class, and I would be concerned about the theology in a religion class whose time priority was set on this issue. But who among us disagrees that wastefulness is not the best way to be stewards of God's creation? Or that knowledge of what we're throwing away and what we're recycling is a good thing? Even if there were an argument to be made that recycling is bad or unnecessary (if there is, I don't know it, but maybe I've missed something), still wouldn't it be good to know what is going where in your garbage/recycling?

I can think of two worthy complaints:
1-this sounds complicated, and I wonder if it is all that easy to weigh your family's garbage. Do you bring a scale outside?, do you weigh a strong man and then the strong man holding the garbage? This could be quite difficult.
2-is there a chance that this is going to lead to judgment of the family/student or some sort of pressure? Is this going to lead to politically charged discussion?
3-is there a requirement for the child to know about everything that ends up in the garbage? This could possibly be a problem in terms of the other family members' privacy.

If those are your concerns, by all means raise them to the teacher. But otherwise, why not let your child learn something interesting and maybe even valuable about the efficient use of resources. I know that one political side has pretty much claimed the idea of appreciating the earth and it's resources. But I reject that. Why on earth can't conservatives love the earth? Why can't conservatives appreciate the efficient use of resources and desire not to fill up the landfills faster than necessary? Why does the idea of knowing how much garbage you create, or where your garbage goes have to be politically charged? Sure it can be that way, but lets not fall into the trap of being against good stewardship just because some people want to claim it for themselves.


#16

I don't see a big problem with the assignment, although I would monitor the handouts to make sure that none of the "earth-goddess" stuff is creeping into the teachings.

However--I can see where a middle-school pre-teen might be able to use this assignment to create a tense atmosphere and start arguments with his/her parents. He/she would be able to use the information learned in the project to continually badger parents about their "wasteful habits that are destroying the earth," and then when her parents try to explain to their zealous pret-teen that sometimes real life doesn't work like it's supposed to, the teen will burst into tears and flee the room, crying out, "You just don't get it!"

Teens, especially young teens, tend to see everything in "black and white." There are no shades of gray with teenagers. Parents, OTOH, can understand that there are more factors involved. (E.g., if the family's baby is using disposable diapers, it may seem like a tremendous amount of waste to a teenager. But there are studies that "prove" that disposables actually impact the environment less than the detergent used to launder the cloth diapers. There's a study to prove pretty much anything!)

So watch out for this kind of argument. It will happen because teenagers are teenagers, not adults.


#17

I would have several problems with the assignment, but would not blame the Church for anything. It certainly doesn't promote socialism. Here are my problems

It is silly.
It does nothing to actually teach the Church's position on Social Justice issues.
It is invasive of a famly's privacy.

The problem with most teachers in Catholic schools who try to teach social justice is that they do it backwards. They immediately jump on to current political or cultural issues and teach from that context, which invariably leads to nothing much better than politcal indoctrination. Much better to teach the church's actual teaching on the matters and then try to apply them to our real-world problems. Especially when the Vatican has put out such an excellant book on the topic:

amazon.com/Compendium-Doctrine-Pontifical-Council-Justice/dp/1574556924


#18

[quote="ThyKingdomCome, post:15, topic:232296"]

I can think of two worthy complaints:
1-this sounds complicated, and I wonder if it is all that easy to weigh your family's garbage. Do you bring a scale outside?, do you weigh a strong man and then the strong man holding the garbage? This could be quite difficult.
2-is there a chance that this is going to lead to judgment of the family/student or some sort of pressure? Is this going to lead to politically charged discussion?
3-is there a requirement for the child to know about everything that ends up in the garbage? This could possibly be a problem in terms of the other family members' privacy.

[/quote]

2 I would definitely watch out for.

3 Here's how I would deal with it during the time of the assignment. I'd have a "project" garbage can with nothing in it that I didn't want shared. Then I'd have another garbage can or recycling bin with stuff I wouldn't want examined in public. Kinda defeats the purpose, but I do think that this is a somewhat invasive assignment.

Having one's garbage examined in a classroom is pretty sketchy.


#19

[quote="Cat, post:16, topic:232296"]
However--I can see where a middle-school pre-teen might be able to use this assignment to create a tense atmosphere and start arguments with his/her parents. He/she would be able to use the information learned in the project to continually badger parents about their "wasteful habits that are destroying the earth," and then when her parents try to explain to their zealous pret-teen that sometimes real life doesn't work like it's supposed to, the teen will burst into tears and flee the room, crying out, "You just don't get it!"

[/quote]

Holy cow! Did you have my son spend the week with you? We've had this exact same scenario play out in our house probably twenty times in the last 5 years. The fun thing in our case is that he's vehemently opposed to the idea of recycling or composting on his own. We're lucky if his trash hits the can sometimes, let alone ends up in the proper bin. At least 2-3 times a day I'll go through both of the main trash cans and pull recyclables out of the main bin, and compostables out of both. It's a pretty big chore tending to his "wasteful habits that are destroying the earth," (and, yes, he's also used that exact phrase). After one of these discussions got particularly nasty last summer, I assigned him compost-turning duty for two weeks just so he'd understand just how much I "don't get it."

Getting back on topic, I don't think the OP gave enough details for the people attacking the teacher's agenda to do that. The teacher very well could be teaching responsible recycling for its own sake without bringing in any of the guilt and Mother Earth worship that goes with it. There are lots of sensible, responsible reasons to recycle and the teacher may well be pushing that agenda as opposed to the one that seems to accompany recycling in most mainstream outlets.


#20

[quote="Lost_and_Found, post:4, topic:232296"]
I don't understand why the church is pushing a socialist agenda. Socialism is anti-constitutional and therefore un-American. Our constitutions guiding principle was that of a limited government and our Bill of Rights that were endowed by our creator proves it. Those rights don't grant power to the government, they take power away from government and gives it to you as an individual. Doesn't Christianity teach salvation as an individual matter? What's next, group discounts for the Ten Commandments? It seems to me we should be moving away from the anti-God marxist philosophies, not toward them.

[/quote]

In what way is recycling Socialism?

Salvation is not an 'individual' matter, that's why we have the Church, we lead one another to heaven, priests and laity together, husbands with their wives, the voters and the politicians they vote for.

Environmentalism has nothing to do with salvation though, except in so far as care for the created world is part of God's original covenant with man.

I don't see how taking more care of the planet is necessarily Socialist - 'Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?' James 2:15 - if we are depriving others of goods to buy things we just throw away, why shouldn't it be a good thing to do more to help them? It's only Socialism if you're forced into it.


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