2016 New – Caring About a Small Blue Planet – An Introduction to Earth Awareness
This 20 hour course commences Tuesdays 7.00pm to 9.30pm from 10th May to 14th June  2016 & Sat 21st May 10-5.00 pm – No Charge

For anyone who loves this earth we live on, and who is concerned that our way of life is damaging it and leaving a poorer and less liveable earth to our children .… lively, interactive, using lots of video clips with discussion and opportunities to share feelings and thoughts.

Course Information (word)  Flyer for Cork May June Blue Planet Course May June 2016 (Pdf) Flyer for Cork May June Blue Planet Course May June 2016

Go to the Short Course section for Application form

Social and Health Education Project Earth Initiative
(In Collaboration with Páirc a’ Tobair Earth Community)

In December 2014 a new voluntary Earth Initiative began in SHEP in collaboration with Páirc a’ Tobair Earth Community in Rosscarbery.

The Initiative is based on love for this beautiful planet of ours and on concern about how human actions, and especially our western way of life, are thrashing it. The more we appreciate the beauty of the natural world and the gift it is to us, the more we feel pain at the loss of diversity of species and the threatened breakdown of the web of life on the earth.

Climate justice is a special concern, since climate change, caused by our use of coal, oil and gas, is already destroying the lives of many of those who did least to bring it about. Justice for our children and grand-children is also an issue, since we are leaving them a damaged and depleted world, threatened with social and economic collapse.

Most of us are inclined to ignore or deny the reality of all this because it is disturbing and painful. And this is where the approach of SHEP may be helpful, because it recognises that it is healthier and more life-giving to face and accept our feelings than to hide them from ourselves.

SHEP has always had a special concern for helping people build healthy and worthwhile relationships. Much of its work focuses on our relationship to ourselves, and on open, constructive and loving relationships with family, friends and others we relate to face-to-face. However, it has also been concerned with our relationships through our social and economic systems to people around the globe we have never met but whose lives are greatly affected by the choices we make. The Earth Initiative builds on and extends this concern into concern for climate justice and for the whole fabric of life on this earth, this small, fragile, blue island of life in the vast dark sea of space.

The work of the Initiative seeks to help people to start not from guilt about what we are doing, but from gratitude for what we have been given (however we may understand the source of the gift). But it recognises that denied feelings block our life energy and our true growth, and it seeks to provide a supportive context in which we are free to face our grief or rage about injustice and suffering, about the destruction of life, and about the thrashing of the earth, and about the loss of beauty, diversity and complexity in nature. Through the joining of hearts and minds, facing the facts and sharing the feelings, we may be able to find the seeds of hope and join with others around the world in acting to save this beautiful and fragile world.

What the SHEP Earth Initiative Has Been Doing
The work of the Initiative is voluntary. (This is based on a recognition of how much the problems facing the earth arise because so many of our relationships to each other and to the earth have come to be thought of primarily in economic terms.) These are some of the steps that have been taken so far.
• A Support and Development Group has been formed to help the Initiative find creative ways forward.
• An on-going SHEP group, calling itself the Cry of the Earth group, has continued.
• Evening sessions, called “Look, See, Think, Talk” session, with DVD’s and discussion related to the damage being caused to the earth, have been organised.
• A day-long workshop on spirituality and the earth, called Nourish the Spirit, Hope for the Earth, was organised, with Donal Dorr as facilitator.
•   A peer-led training course, called Opening to the Earth, is well underway, with 23 participants, including many SHEP Trainers and Tutors.
•   A day-long earth symposium from the international “Pachamama Alliance” has been organised with a follow-up week-end training course for people who may deliver this programme. Training in Delivering the Pachamama Symposium
•   A tree-planting ceremony is planned in Páirc a’ Tobair to celebrate the collaboration with SHEP (See the recent version of the SHEP Nuacht for a report on this)
•   Two seminars have been organised for September 2015 on the forthcoming papal encyclical on climate justice and the crisis facing the earth. (In Cork the seminar will be a day-long event (10.00 am – 4.00 pm), and in Killarney, an evening event (6.00 pm – 10.00 pm)). Click Web-site Bulletin re Encyclical Seminars or Cork Seminar Poster or Kerry Seminar Poster for futher information and to register call 021 4666180.