SHEP’s overall vision is of “a socially just world, where all people live in dignity, where we cherish and celebrate each other and ourselves, and where the integrity of the earth is honoured.”
SHEP Earth Aware seeks to contribute to implementing that vision, but with a particular focus on “earth awareness”. The need for “earth awareness” has come to the fore especially because of the realization that the web of life is being seriously damaged by human beings’ unsustainable lifestyle, and the related realization that while this will affect us all, it is already causing enormous suffering for many of the poorest people on earth, people who have done least to bring about the problem.
SHEP Earth Aware’s understanding of “earth awareness” is in line with SHEP’s general style of education. It involves helping people gain some knowledge about what is happening and some understanding of how and why it is happening. But it knows that knowledge alone is not effective in helping people to face the reality, or to contribute to finding a constructive way forward. There is also needed a cultivation of a deep emotional response, of a willingness to face and express painful feelings such as fear and grief, and of an opening of the heart based on gratitude and love. SHEP Earth Aware seeks to foster and promote this fuller response of mind and heart.