Creation care for teens: Let There Be… Stuff?

The folks at The Story of Stuff Project have been keeping busy! In early March, Annie Leonard’s book The Story of Stuff came out; later that month, the project released “The Story of Bottled Water” for World Water Day. This month, the project moves in some interesting new directions: on Earth Day, they announced the release of Let There Be… Stuff?, “a six-session curriculum that helps Christian teenagers explore the relationship between their consumption, their faith, and the health of the planet.”

While The Story of Stuff has been used for educational purposes since the launch of the first web video, the move into churches (and eventually synagogues… a Jewish version comes out this summer) demonstrates the power of the “creation care” movement. According to the Project, faith leaders began reaching out almost immediately after the original Story of Stuff video came out. In response, The Story of Stuff Project partnered with Green Faith, an “interfaith coalition for the environment,” to produce the curriculum.

Designed for 13-18 year-olds, the Let There Be… Stuff? curriculum uses a Biblical context to encourage teens of faith to consider their relationship to the natural world, and the “stuff” they consume. Individual lessons focus on issues such as

  • The concept of creation care, and reverence for the Earth as a divine creation;
  • The very human creation of some of teens’ favorite stuff (think lifecycle assessment);
  • The end of life for most stuff, and
  • The role the media plays in encouraging consumption.

In celebration of Earth Day, the Project is offering 1000 copies of the curriculum for free to ministers, youth group leaders, and Sunday school teachers who’d like to incorporate it into youth ministry programs. No word on how many have taken advantage of this offer.

No doubt some will offer criticism similar to that aimed at The Story of Stuff as an educational tool in classrooms. From my initial overview, this looks like a very sound approach, though, to encouraging kids to think about, and act upon, their consumption habits within the context of their faith.

Know of other “creation care” curricula for youth ministry? Let us know about them…


Image credit: The Story of Stuff Project