David Muir hosts a “Counsel of All Beings” with the juniors


The Catalyst / Ava Marinos

Students from Mr. Muir’s Social Justice class take a picture with him after the Counsel of All Beings event.

The Counsel of All Beings was an educational exercise for juniors in the Social Justice class, directed by David Muir, who is the Social Justice teacher. This event illustrated the seventh Catholic Social Teaching theme, Care for God’s Creation, through the students’ presentations of animals or plants that are being affected by humans.
This event was held on October 6 with the juniors in the sixth block of Social Justice. The event tied into the Social Justice class curriculum, since the students are learning more about Catholic Social Teaching themes and what it means to be a good steward of the Earth.
Students were to come up with their own individual plant or animal that is being adversely affected by global warming and pollution which they wanted to do more research on. Then, each student was to embody the plant or animal and present information about it to the class as well as a picture or drawing.
When referring to humans, students were required to call them “two-leggeds” and speak in the first-person as if they were the plant or animal.
Objectives of this project include finding a better understanding of how people’s actions impact the environment and its inhabitants and how students can personally reduce their carbon footprint and decrease their consumption to help the planet and make life more sustainable for all creatures.
During the meeting, Muir played his part extra well by wearing a cape and holding a cane as the “Head of the Counsel,” and presented his information about grizzly bears and how they are being affected by climate change.
Muir, the teacher of the Social Justice class, said “The Counsel of All Beings comes from a woman named Joanna Macy, and she started the original one. We adapted her script from hers. Ms. Amy Jobin actually had formatted it, and then I was inspired to create the assignment from her.”
When asked about his reason for hosting The Counsel of All Beings, Muir stated, “I decided to host The Counsel of All Beings with the junior class since we are working on the seven themes of Catholic Social Teaching. The seventh theme is the Care for God’s Creation, and I thought that would be a great exercise to get people to start thinking about our connection to the world and the creatures, both animals and plants, that are being affected by either climate change or excessive hunting or whatnot.”
Bella Topalian, a student of the Social Justice class, said, “I really enjoyed it! I feel like it was a team-bonding event, and we all got a chance to speak for our own animal. It was also very creative because we each got to choose our own animal or plant, and it was not assigned to us. I also enjoyed leaving the classroom because it was a different environment.”
Everyone that attended the Counsel of All Beings discovered the damage that people do to the environment, and how to take further action to stop climate change. This ensures that Notre Dame students learn how to be good stewards of the Earth through their research of the Catholic Social Teachings taught in Social Justice class.