Human Ecology

Exploring eco justice as a life issue, part of what Cardinal Joseph Bernardin (1928 – 1996) described as the "seamless garment"
of life issues from the moment of conception to natural death.



Program Five: Human Ecology



Read the original documents for papal statements quotes in this program:


  • Ten Commandments for the Environment
    Benedict XVI. Ave Maria Press. 2009.
  • The Seamless Garment: Writings on the Consistent Ethic of Life
    Cardinal Joseph Bernardin. Orbis Books. 2008.


Study Guide


The goal of Program Five is to introduce to the third theme of the CCCB document “Building a New Culture – Central Themes in Recent Church Teaching on the Environment” about the relationship between human ecology and environmental ecology.


1. Show the video "Program Five: Human Ecology”

2. Ask students to form small groups to describe the following impressions from the video:

  • What is the third theme of the document and why is it important?
  • How did Dr. James Penna get involved with the environment?
  • What did you know after viewing the video that you didn't know before?
  • Which quote from what pope in this episode means the most to you and why?

3. Option for Take-Home Assignment. Using the internet links offered here, find more facts about:

  • Existing Catholic eco justice initiatives
  • The writings of Popes on the environment

4. Write 1.5 pages on the results of your research.

5. Group discussion

In groups, first share your short essays and then, asking one person to represent the discussion, make presentations to the class about any or all of the above.
Include suggestions on how students could start an ongoing eco justice project or become involved with local Catholic eco justice projects already in existence.