Reframing, Part 1: Reframing Education

There's a great blog post on reframing at Salon.com. The author, Dave Pollard, focuses on reframing common (and false) business myths, and it’s fascinating to see how he reframes each one. His new perspective and questions allow us to completely rethink assumptions that stifle creativity and positive change.

What are common education myths that could use some reframing?
  • We must have a national standard curriculum that is delivered to all children.
  • The only way to find out if students have learned the subject matter is to test them using national and state standardized tests.
  • Rewarding schools that have high standardized test scores and withholding funds from those that don’t will improve student learning.
  • Schools are not the place to teach or discuss values.
  • The national and state curricula are not biased but humane education is.
  • Property taxes are a fair and just way to fund schools.

How could we reframe these with questions that inspire creative and practical answers?
  • Given the world we live in today, what knowledge and skills do young people most need in order to be successful, contributing members of today’s world?
  • How can we know if students are gaining this knowledge and these skills? What projects, tasks or ideas might they launch or generate to demonstrate their abilities and knowledge?
  • When schools fail to educate students with the knowledge and skills they need, what should we do to help them become successful?
  • What values do we consider universal and important for leading peaceful, sustainable, and humane lives, and how can we invite students to identify and embody these for their own and society’s benefit?
  • What biases are in each curricula we use? How can we best teach students to identify these biases so that they are good critical thinkers?
  • What methods can we use to fund education so that every child is able to receive a good education from pre-school through college?
If you have ideas or comments on these questions, by all means share them! We need to solve our educational challenges, and reframing the questions may open the doors for new, healthy ideas.

~ Zoe
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Are We Born Racist? Greater Good Magazine Explores Issues of Prejudice

Are we born racist? Is it a matter of nurture over nature? According to Greater Good magazine, a publication of the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California - Berkeley, research has shown that our prejudices have some pretty deep roots. But, they say, there are ways to reduce and overcome our biases. The Summer 2008 edition explores important issues tied to individual and societal prejudices. Some of the articles are available to read online, including:

"Look Twice": Prejudice might be hardwired into our brains, but there are strategies for overcoming our biases.

"Rubbing Off": Talks about how kids learn about race and what parents can do to nurture acceptance and tolerance.

"Mix It Up!": As much as we wish otherwise, racism still saturates U.S. schools. The article includes ideas for what schools can do to foster a positive school environment.

"Framed!": The author says achievement gaps are due to prejudices, not our genes.

"Rising Together": An article on fighting prejudice at work.

"Double Blood": An article by Rebecca Walker on the challenges multiracial people face.

Greater Good explores scientific research surrounding concepts such as happiness, compassion, kindness and altruism, and offers news, essays and inspiring stories. You can read sample articles from their archived issues.

~ Marsha
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Humane Education Issues in the News...

Each week we post links to news about relevant humane issues, ways that people all over the world are manifesting humane education & humane living, and items that provide excellent material for discussing humane issues, from human rights to environmental preservation, to animal protection, to media and culture.

Amnesty International says Olympic games have spurred deterioration in China's human rights - BBC News (7/29/08)
"Specifically we've seen crackdowns on domestic human rights activists, media censorship and increased use of re-education through labour as a means to clean up Beijing and surrounding areas."

Three NE colleges top greenest list - Boston.com (7/28/08)
”Colleges across the country are rolling out a host of new environmentally friendly initiatives, expanding beyond campus recycling and energy efficient buildings to hire sustainability officers to oversee all environmental programs. The push coincides with the rise of ‘green college’ rankings, and as the schools use their new policies and practices as a fresh recruiting tool for students who came of age during ‘An Inconvenient Truth,’ Al Gore's popular documentary about global warming.”


Political parties compete for “greenest” convention
- Star Tribune (7/27/08)
”Given wind power, solar power, a fleet of flex-fuel vehicles and perhaps even delegates on bicycles, national Republican Party officials are vowing that their convention in St. Paul will be the party's most environmentally friendly convention ever.”

University integrating sustainability into every aspect - New York Times (7/27/08)
”But Stony Brook Southampton is building not only an environmentally friendly campus but also a curriculum in which nearly every course deals with sustainability. It is a public-education experiment being watched across the country.”

Gov says no to climate change curriculum - Mercury News (7/26/08)
”California public students will stick to reading, writing and arithmetic, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger decided as he vetoed a bill late Friday that would have required climate change be added to schools' curriculum.”


Olympians balance sports & activism
ESPN (7/26/08)
”My own agent said, 'You get involved in this stuff and sponsors might not want to sign you. This is the world you're dealing with and they're not going to want to touch you with a 10-foot pole.'”

Trio bikes around 2 countries to document community food movements - Washington Post (7/24/08)
”In the course of their three-month odyssey, the women found a community garden in the gutted ghettos of Baltimore, were run off the road by a truck in New Jersey, abandoned efforts to cycle across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in New York and got hopelessly lost in New England towns. They slept in the gardens of strangers, discovered new ethnic food and recipes and cemented their desire to change the world by growing vegetables.”


YMCA adopts Earth Corps program
- Earth News Media (7/23/08)
”Earth Corps involves groups of teachers and students working together, coordinated by the YMCA, and supported by businesses, government, colleges and universities. The program can be molded to the students’ own desires and goals. It is geared to develop leadership skills, encourage students to examine all sides of environmental issues and advance education through action.”

California expands downed animals law - The Sun (7/23/08)
"This sets a model for the rest of the nation not only pertaining to downed cows but it also protects disabled sheep, goats and pigs in California."

Direct mail jumps on the green bandwagon - New York Times (7/23/08)
”So far, the coalition’s guidelines are long on earnestness and short on truly new ideas. They include using chlorine-free recycled paper, proofreading marketing materials using Adobe PDF files rather than hard copies, and taking advantages of tax benefits that come from certain green initiatives.”

Anti-DIY local, organic gardeningNew York Times (7/22/08)
“’The highest form of luxury is now growing it yourself or paying other people to grow it for you,’ said Corby Kummer, the food columnist and book author. ‘This has become fashion.’”

They shoot horses, don’t they? - NPR (7/21/08)
”With the price of hay up and horse adoptions down, a federal agency may begin killing wild horses to deal with surplus numbers.”
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The Hidden Costs of Shopping at Wal-Mart

There's an article in the Detroit Free Press by Georgea Kovanis titled, “Yes, I’m shopping at Wal-Mart.” It’s a paean to a store formerly vilified by cultural creatives and eco-consumers. But with a tough economy, even people who have eschewed Wal-Mart for years are starting to shop there as money becomes tighter with rising fuel and food costs. Plus, Wal-Mart has been working hard to change its image, adopting green slogans, organic food, and hiring consultants, such as Adam Werbach, formerly the president of the Sierra Club, to help them accomplish their goals in sustainability. Thus, Ms. Kovanis feels justified and tries to convince her readers that shopping at Wal-Mart is now good.

But Ms. Kovanis didn’t convince me with her examples. She writes:
“A couple weeks ago I spent $2.50 on a Wal-Mart plant that was $4.99 at the nursery up the street. I stumbled upon DVDs for $5 and I've stashed away the fairly new releases to give as Christmas presents. And my favorite fat-free sugar-free Jell-O instant pudding mix is 25 cents cheaper than at my regular grocery.”
We might ask if there are even more thrifty and sustainable ways to satisfy these desires. For example, why not take a cutting of a friend’s houseplant (free), or give homemade cookies, coupon gifts for fun activities, or cool found objects from nature as Christmas presents? And there really are healthier and tastier options for dessert, such as local fruits in season (supporting our health and local farmers at the same time).

The problems associated with Wal-Mart, and all of the big box chain stores, are many, but they are hidden. When strapped for cash, those hidden problems recede even further from our willingness to make an effort even to view them. Whether the problems are the collapse of local economies, sweatshop labor abroad, fuel-intensive transportation costs, local water pollution and increased traffic accidents, excessive materialism, waste accumulation and disposal from extra (and largely unnecessary) items, there are costs, far greater ones than are apparent in the cheap price tag on the individual items. Costs certainly not explored by Ms. Kovanis.

I wish writers like Ms. Kovanis would delve just a bit deeper before justifying Wal-Mart purchases in a tight economy. Would our thrift-conscious, depression-era-surviving grandparents have thought that shopping at a cheap chain store was the answer to a slowing economy, or would they have advocated true thriftiness with a commitment to purchase well-made, long-lasting items when necessary?

~ Zoe
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Humane Education Issues in the News...

Each week we post links to news about relevant humane issues, ways that people all over the world are manifesting humane education & humane living, and items that provide excellent material for discussing humane issues, from human rights to environmental preservation, to animal protection, to media and culture.


Travelers loving nature to death - Plenty (7/08)
“In some notable places, the onslaught of nature-loving visitors is steadily eroding the very ecosystems ecotourism intends to protect. Tourists are trampling, polluting, and gobbling up scarce resources in fragile habitats.”

Wetlands destruction could set off “carbon bomb” - Common Dreams (7/21/08)
”Wetlands contain 771 billion tons of greenhouse gases, one-fifth of all the carbon on Earth and about the same amount of carbon as is now in the atmosphere….If all the wetlands on the planet released the carbon they hold, it would contribute powerfully to the climate-warming greenhouse effect.”

Wayne Pacelle, superhero for animals - Los Angeles Times (7/19/08)
”In the four years since the 42-year-old vegan -- he neither eats nor wears animal products -- ascended to the top spot at the Humane Society, Pacelle has retooled a venerable organization seen as a mild-mannered protector of dogs and cats into an aggressive interest group flexing muscle in state legislatures and courtrooms.”

Wolves delisting reversed - Los Angeles Times (7/19/08)
”’They've been killing wolves at the rate of about one a day,’ said Doug Honnold, an attorney with the environmental legal group Earthjustice who argued the case on behalf of 12 environmental organizations, including the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council. ‘That's carnage any way you look at it, and this is going to at least temporarily put a stop to the killing of wolves.’"


Controversy stirs over “pesticide” card in Seattle
- Common Dreams (7/19/08)
”At the insistence of agricultural industry-sponsored groups, a wallet-sized consumer guide to which fruits and vegetables contain the most and least pesticides has been pulled from a King County Web site, where it had been a popular draw.”

Pope speaks on consumerism, environmental destruction - Independent.ie (7/18/08)
"Perhaps reluctantly, we come to acknowledge there are scars which mark the surface of our earth -- erosion, deforestation, the squandering of the world's mineral and ocean resources in order to fuel an insatiable consumption.''

Minnesota teens take on slavery - The Daily Planet (7/17/08)
”[The End Slavery Now conference] will include awareness games, discussions, and speakers who work in different areas of human trafficking, including victim advocacy, law enforcement, education, and research and policy matters. The group will also make hygiene kits….The kits will contain donated soaps, shampoos, and cosmetic items, and can be handed out by the organizations working with the victims.”

Dearth of tourists in Kenya means increase in poaching - CNN.com (7/17/08)
”The conservation NGO depends on tourists to finance their anti-poaching operations. A portion of each tourist's entrance fee goes to their operations. They have had plenty of funding in normal years, but this is not a normal year in Kenya.”

Robert Redford brings together poetry and environmental protection - NPR (7/16/08)
“Sponsored by Redford's Sundance Preserve, in collaboration with Youth Speaks, a nonprofit that presents spoken-word performances, the Academy Award-winning actor is getting his message out in rhyme.”

Neighborhood denied water for decades because of race - AlterNet (7/14/08)
”A federal jury awarded residents of a mostly black neighborhood in rural Ohio nearly $11 million Thursday, finding that local authorities denied them public water service for half a century because of their race.”

Some NGOs turning to corporate marketing to help change public habits - New York Times (7/13/08)
“’There are fundamental public health problems, like hand washing with soap, that remain killers only because we can’t figure out how to change people’s habits,’ Dr. Curtis said. ‘We wanted to learn from private industry how to create new behaviors that happen automatically.’”
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The New Yorker Cover of Barack and Michelle Obama

By now, most of us have heard about the recent New Yorker magazine cover depicting Barack and Michelle Obama in the White House, fist pumping in their Muslim and terrorist garb while the American flag burns and a picture of Osama Bin Laden looks on. I grew up in Manhattan, and The New Yorker magazine arrived at our doorstep weekly. I loved the cartoons, and I grew to enjoy reading the essays and stories when I was old enough to appreciate them. And truth be told, I felt a bit smug about my appreciation for this rather elite magazine that only truly appealed to the highly educated and highly literate. Yup, I was a proud member of that liberal elite so disdained by the so-called “red states,” even though the very concept of the liberal elite was created by the conservative elite.

This recent New Yorker cover, however, unveils the seed of truth that generated the disdain for the liberal elite. It’s clever all right. All those stereotypes and lies thrown Obama’s way this past year all artistically executed in one cartoon. The New Yorker so elite it can show the rest of the world their prejudices and fears all in one fell swoop of a cover. But at what cost? For whom was that cover drawn? For the liberal elite to laugh at the silly racism, bigotry, and fear of the less educated masses? To discuss at art openings in Tribeca?

Barack Obama represents a historical tide change that so many people have worked so hard to achieve. The New Yorker subtly diminished that achievement, leaving us to ponder why we don’t want to continue the effort to break down persistent forms of bigotry, rather than reinforce them.

~ Zoe, IHE President
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Contests for Youth Photographers, Innovators

Youth, ages 11-24, who are into photography may want to enter the Shoot Nations contest, a “global youth photography competition.” The theme this year is "Young People in a Changing Climate." Photographers can submit photos (or draw pictures) that capture the following:
  • How is climate change affecting your life?
  • Act now –be the change!
  • Your world in the future
The top prize (for best overall photo worldwide) is a digital SLR camera worth more than $1,000. Winners may also be chosen to win a trip to Quebec to present their photo at the World Youth Congress on World Youth Day (August 12, 2008).

Photos must be uploaded to the contest site by 6 pm GMT, July 31, 2008.

Find out more.


Conscious Lifestyle, which focuses on helping students and schools become more socially responsible, is offering full-time high school and college students in the U.S. and Canada a chance to win $1,000 toward making their innovative ideas a reality. Winners receive:
  • Up to $1,000 in start-up funding
  • Web space on consciouslifestyle.org
  • Monthly skill-building workshops
  • Mentoring from a high-performing professional
  • Access to a network of social entrepreneurs

The deadline to apply is August 1, 2008.

Find out more.
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Humane Education Issues in the News....

Each week we post links to news about relevant humane issues, ways that people all over the world are manifesting humane education & humane living, and items that provide excellent material for discussing humane issues, from human rights to environmental preservation, to animal protection, to media and culture.


Great ideas coming from the desire to “do good” - Business Week (7/7/08)
”The qualities that make a product good for the developing world—sturdy, cheap, adaptable, modular, energy-efficient, environmentally sound, computer platform-neutral, and bandwidth-savvy—make it a good product, period….This is why some of the most innovative ideas today are coming from efforts to address the needs of those most in need.”

Is it the end of the love affair with the car? - Guardian (UK) (7/6/08)
”The suburbs are already being hit. As cars become more expensive, the justification for suburbs seems to disappear. Some commentators have even suggested that suburbs - once the archetype of an ideal American life - will become the new slums.”

Boy sets out to save the world - Southtown Star (7/6/08)
”Whenever the New Lenox boy, who transformed his past two birthday parties into charity parties, sets out to make a difference, he defies expectations.”

Cockfighting bans don’t mean it ends - New York Times (7/6/08)
“Last year, New Mexico became the 49th state to make cockfighting illegal. (Louisiana will become the last state when a ban there takes effect in August.) The state has devoted vast resources to ending the sport, but with only one misdemeanor conviction thus far, it continues unabated in hidden venues, cockfighters and law enforcement officials say.”

“Peace train” travels Turkey, spreading human rights message - Turkish Daily News (7/5/08)
“The project, whose motto is ‘Right to Hürriyet, Train is Freedom,’ is a part of daily Hürriyet's broader mission to raise consciousness about human rights among Turkish youth and women.”

Wal-mart goes local (for produce) - Treehugger.com (7/5/08)
”Wal-Mart Stores Inc. plans to buy and sell $400 million worth of produce grown by local farmers within its state stores this year, an effort the company says will only grow.”

U.S. leading G8 countries in lack of response to global climate disasterTimes of India (7/3/08)
"The G8 countries have a responsibility to be high achievers in the race against climate change. They need to be role models trailblazing the way to steer the world towards a low carbon, clean energy economy."

Teacher suspended for book choice - Guardian (UK) (7/3/08)
”An Indiana teacher who used a much lauded bestseller, The Freedom Writers Diary, to try to inspire under-performing high-school students has been suspended from her job without pay for 18 months.”

Is Google an environmental evil? - AlterNet (7/3/08)
”…a new server farm being built by Google at The Dalles in Oregon is on target to chew up ‘103 megawatts of electricity -- enough to power 82,000 homes or a city the size of Tacoma, Washington’ -- by 2011.”

Teen works to help end pet homelessness worldwide - Humane Society of the U.S. (7/3/08)
”I started ‘SPOT Globally’ or Stop Animal Overpopulation Together Globally, to spay and neuter cats and dogs worldwide, specifically in third-world countries. Spaying and neutering is the 100 percent most important thing to do to end the homeless animals problem.”

Where have all the penguins gone? - Planet Ark (7/3/08)
“The world's warming climate is only one of the causes of the penguins' problems….They also are threatened by oil pollution, depletion of fisheries, becoming entangled in fishing nets, and coastal development that eliminates breeding habitats.”

Species extinction rates much more severe than predicted - Guardian (UK) (7/2/08)
“Endangered species may become extinct 100 times faster than previously thought, scientists warned today, in a bleak re-assessment of the threat to global biodiversity.”

NAACP leads National “Day of Action” against mortage lenders for discrimination - Sun Herald (7/2/08)
”According to the NAACP and its lawsuit against 17 major lenders, African American borrowers were given loans with higher interest rates and other poor terms solely because of their race.”
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Valuing Teachers/Valuable Teachers

As an educator, Woody Allen's famous line in Annie Hall still haunts me. “Those who can’t do, teach, and those who can’t teach, teach gym,” he quipped to big laughs. As a teenager watching the film for the first time, I laughed, too. I certainly wasn’t considering teaching as a profession back then. No status, poor pay, little respect. Woody Allen was right, and I had my sights set on something important; I went to college pre-med.

Years later, I became an educator despite Woody Allen, but as I said, his line still haunted me: did I become a teacher because I couldn’t do something? I’ve come to realize the answer is a resounding no. I could do plenty of things. I choose to teach because I believe that we must raise a generation with the knowledge, tools, and motivation to create solutions to global challenges and create a better world. I teach because I love inspiring and empowering people to live their lives as meaningfully and positively as possible. I teach because I believe that good education is one of the most important gifts we can give others. I teach because I can think of no nobler, more meaningful, or more important work for myself. I teach precisely because it is the best thing I can do.

Yet, our society still grants teachers little respect, even less pay, and hardly any status. And it shouldn’t come as a surprise that while many brilliant, inspiring, enlightened people go into teaching as a profession, many others go into teaching for less than noble reasons. A few years ago, I learned that a certain state university (which will remain unnamed) accepts people into its M.Ed. program who have a C average from college. I find this disturbing.

We want our doctors and lawyers to be exceedingly smart and well-educated. We expect our college professors to be not only highly intelligent, but also wise. But we don’t have very high expectations of the teachers who will be paving the way for our children’s future on countless levels, not least of which is their passion for and ability to pursue lifelong learning.

I’ve written in this blog that I believe the purpose of education should be to provide the knowledge, skills, and inspiration for people to live sustainably, peaceably, and humanely, but I’ve not written much about teachers. We need to build a society in which the very brightest, wisest, most inspired and inspiring people go into teaching -- not just at the university level, but in primary and secondary schools, too. We need to value our teachers the way we value our physicians and pay them accordingly, so that such people are drawn to education, not just to medicine, law, and business.

There is no easy formula for this. But there are some steps we can take:

  • If you are a parent, show your gratitude and respect for your children’s best teachers. Let them know how important they are. Share books and websites with them (such as HumaneEducation.org) so they can learn more themselves.
  • If you are a teacher, honor yourself. Woody Allen was wrong. Realize the potential you have to make an enormous impact on the lives of your students as well as on the world. Be a lifelong learner, and commit to bringing humane education to your students. Doing so may reawaken your passion for and commitment to your chosen profession.
  • If you are an educational reformer, brainstorm ways in which we can begin to pay teachers better and more equitably across communities. Meet with other educational reformers to draft policy ideas and share these.
  • If you are a concerned citizen, write letters to the editor, your own blog posts, or simply voice your commitment to education – help build a society which values education and hence attracts more and more valuable teachers.

Our motto at the Institute for Humane Education is “The world becomes what you teach.” We believe that we will build a better world when we teach for such a world. Nothing is more important than the teachers who will do this great work.

~ Zoe, IHE President
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What Does a Spectacular Education Look Like?

I’ve been contemplating the next book I will write. One idea is to write a book about what’s wrong with our educational system and how we can fix it. That’s a cumbersome title for a book, so for now, let’s call it A Spectacular Education. I don’t pretend to know how we create schools and school systems that work for all children, how we fund such schools, or how we find the kinds of teachers and administrators who will make them spectacular, but I intend to find out.

I already know what schools should be for. To me the goal of education must become to provide the knowledge, inspiration, and tools for living healthy, sustainable, humane lives that contribute to a peaceful world. How we achieve this is the substance of my book-to-be, and my intention is to offer a variety of approaches and ideas which policy-makers, teachers, parents, and educational administrators can explore to create spectacular schools and healthy educational systems for the next generation.

I would love to hear your ideas. Do you know a school that works, teachers I should meet, administrators who are exceptional educational leaders, policy-makers who have vision and expertise, books or films I should read or see? Please share with me what you know and have experienced.

Thanks for your help!

~ Zoe, IHE President
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It's Been a Privilege: Why Black Children Chose White Dolls

In a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, “only” 3 in 10 Americans admitted to a racial bias. According to the poll more than half of whites in the U.S. feel pretty confident that things are well in the kingdom of race relations and equality. If things are so great, and the color of someone’s skin has ceased to be a factor of discrimination and bigotry, then why are black children still choosing white dolls over dolls that are black?

In her documentary A Girl Like Me, (about 7 minutes long) young filmmaker Kiri Davis highlights the sad racial divide that still exists in American culture. In addition to interviewing young African-American women about the difficulties of finding their place and of not being accepted, Davis conducts a “doll test,” in which she asks young black children to choose the doll they prefer (between a white and black doll who look and are dressed the same). According to Davis, 15 of the 21 children chose the white doll. When asked which doll was good, several children picked the white doll. When asked which doll was bad, those same children chose the black doll. Why is that?

Why, as reported in a recent article from EW.com, are all the characters of color fading from TV?

Why, when we see ads on TV, online, billboards, magazines, etc., do we see mostly white faces, and when we do see faces of color, they’re often associated with a stereotype, such as something “ethnic” or tribal?

Why are many of the toxic waste facilities and polluting industries situated next to neighborhoods of the poor and usually non-white?

It’s easy for white people in the U.S. to accept and assume that discrimination and racism are the exception, rather than a too frequent occurrence, because we live in a culture of white privilege. As Allan Johnson says in Privilege, Power & Difference:
“That’s all that’s required of most white people in order for racism to continue: that they not notice, that they do nothing, that they remain silent….We don’t have to be ruthless people in order to support or follow paths of least resistance that lead to behavior with ruthless consequences.”
Take some time to observe: when you see ads, watch TV, browse through a brochure – who’s represented there? When you read the news, how are people of color portrayed? Are there as many positive, uplifting stories about people of color as there are ones about illegal immigrants, criminals and celebrities? Think about your daily actions and ask yourself: Does everyone have this same opportunity? Would everyone be treated equally if in this situation?

What needs to happen – what choices do we each need to make – so that our world becomes one of love, acceptance, justice, and one where children of all colors and cultures have plenty of positive role models to choose from?

~ Marsha
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Humane Education Issues in the News...

Each week we post links to news about relevant humane issues, ways that people all over the world are manifesting humane education & humane living, and items that provide excellent material for discussing humane issues, from human rights to environmental preservation, to animal protection, to media and culture.

Limits, bans on food exports by some nations mean other nations go hungry - New York Times (6/30/08)
“Is it best to specialize in whatever food grows best in a country’s soil, and trade it for all other food needs — or even, perhaps, specialize in services or manufacturing, and trade those for food? Or is it best to seek self-sufficiency in every type of food that will, weather permitting, grow within a country’s borders?”

More cities choosing to “take back” their water - AlterNet (6/30/08)
”The announcement by the Paris municipality that water services will return to public hands by 2010 is in line with a global trend of ending privatisation of such services.”

Do gun laws make a difference? Yes and No - New York Times (6/29/08)
“Do gun control laws reduce crime? Do they save lives? Is it possible they even cost lives?”

Some farmers exploring “stock-free” farming - Baltimore Sun (6/29/08)
"Much like certified organic farmers, veganic farmers use no synthetic chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides or genetically modified substances. Veganic farmers take it to another level by not using any manures or slaughterhouse byproducts. They don't even use organically approved pesticides."

Should we be preparing for an oil-free lifestyle? - Telegraph (UK) (6/29/08)
“World shortages of petroleum and the belief that supplies will become too scarce are driving some to seek an oil-free lifestyle….Rowena Mason asks whether this new movement is the product of panic or a common-sense solution.”

Scientists predict good chance all Arctic Circle ice will melt this summer - Treehugger.com (6/28/08)
”While a complete melt of all arctic ice will not lead to direct increases in sea level, unlike Greenland and the Antarctic, the flow-on effects could be dramatic.”

As citizens become more eco-conscious, companies try to cash in - Seattle Times (6/28/08)
”Legions of marketers are trying to infiltrate your overtaxed eco-consciousness, with pitches ranging from earnest to ridiculous.”

Utah state workers shift schedules to help save green, go green - Treehugger.com (6/28/08)
”Around 17,000 or 20 percent of all Utah state workers will shift to a new four-day, ten-hour work schedule beginning in August as part of the state’s one-year 'Working 4 Utah' pilot program to save energy and money.”

Spain “resolved” to give apes legal rights - Times Online (UK) (6/27/08)
”In what is thought to be the first time a national legislature has granted such rights to animals, the Spanish parliament’s environmental committee voted to approve resolutions committing the country to the Great Apes Project, designed by scientists and philosophers who say that humans’ closest biological relatives also deserve rights.”

Toxic waste to developing countries on the increase - Common Dreams (6/26/08)
“Is it worth the short term monetary gain? Is it worth people falling sick … precious water sources contaminated permanently?...I believe that we need to think of a better solution to generate income and development.”

Whaling adversaries meet to try to find common groundNew Zealand Herald (6/26/08)
”Key issues: Animal welfare; bycatch; coastal whaling; commercial whaling moratorium; compliance and monitoring; ocean governance; marine protected areas; sanctions; sanctuaries; whalewatching.”

Coalition calls for end of torture - AlterNet (6/25/08)
"’Though we come from a variety of backgrounds and walks of life, we agree that the use of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment against prisoners is immoral, unwise, and un-American,’ asserts the declaration, which stresses that such practices are also deeply counterproductive.”

Supreme Court cuts damages to Exxon Valdez victims - New York Times (6/25/08)
”The Supreme Court on Wednesday slashed the $2.5 billion punitive damages award in the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster to $500 million. The court ruled that victims of the worst oil spill in U.S. history may collect punitive damages from Exxon Mobil Corp., but not as much as a federal appeals court determined.”

Brazil seizes illegally-grazing cattle - New York Times (6/25/08)
”Officials carted off 3,100 head of cattle that they said were being raised on an ecological reserve in the state of Para, in an operation intended to serve as a warning to other ranchers grazing an estimated 60,000 head on illegally deforested land in Amazonia.”

New Sierra Club report explores role of faith in caring for the planet - USA Today (6/25/08)
"According to the report, 'Faith in Action: Communities of Faith Bring Hope for the Planet' 67% of Americans said they care about the environment because it is God's creation."
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