Living Routes: The Power of Practical Education

Last week I was a keynote speaker at the ESTIA Peace Conference and had the opportunity to hear another keynote by Daniel Greenberg, executive director of Living Routes, an organization that offers college students the opportunity to study abroad in eco-villages around the world. I loved this humane education opportunity – a chance to spend a semester immersed in how to live, experiencing what we might consider typical “subjects” through real life: practice rather than just theory.

In the same way that I hope to see overarching topics such as food and water, housing and structures, energy and transportation, protection and conflict resolution, products and commerce, become the lens through which we learn math, science, language arts, social studies, history, and so on, in high school, I imagined the power of a semester spent at an intentional eco-village offering students the opportunity to experience sociology, conflict resolution, economics, politics, engineering, architecture, and so many other “subjects” first hand.

Check out Living Routes.

Zoe Weil
Author of Most Good, Least Harm and Above All, Be Kind

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Sir Ken Robinson: Changing Our Education Paradigm

The folks at RSA Animate have created another visual animated feast for an excerpt from a speech by creativity guru Sir Ken Robinson. In this 11 minute clip, Robinson discusses the outdated two-tier paradigm of our current educational system and the importance of creating a new paradigm that encourages and welcomes divergent and creative thinking, rather than trying to require students to fall into a narrow definition of "educated" and "successful."

Check out the video (go here if you can't see it below):



If you like the video, check out RSA Animate's work for Jeremy Rifkin's talk about Empathic Civilization. If you liked what Ken Robinson had to say, check out these other videos of him speaking about education and creativity.

~ Marsha

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If Not Me, Who? Helping Our Children By Helping Others

This post is by contributing blogger Kelly Coyle DiNorcia, a graduate of our M.Ed. program, and a humane educator specializing in helping parents raise joyful, compassionate children. Find out more about Kelly's work at her website Beautiful Friendships, and her blog, Ahimsa Mama.

The other day, my 5-year-old daughter and I were out running errands. We were supposed to meet up with friends to pick up something we had left at their house during a recent playdate, and I (as usual) was running late.

We drove by a motorist on the side of the road who was standing near her car, which had hazard lights blinking. She was waving people by on the quiet country road.

To be honest, it didn’t even occur to me to stop. Ordinarily I would, especially in my rural community where there are a lot of cell phone dead spots and houses are far apart. But I had forgotten my cell phone, so I couldn’t have called for help anyway, nor could I call my friend who was waiting for me to tell her what I was up to. The woman was waving people on, not flagging them down. Clearly, she had it all under control. And if she didn’t, I was sure someone else would stop to help.

But as we drove by, my daughter piped up from the back seat. “Mom, that woman’s car looks broken. Shouldn’t we help her?”

All my excuses for continuing on our way leapt to the tip of my tongue, but instead, I executed a K-turn, drove back to the woman, rolled down the window and asked if she was okay. Yes, she had called her husband and he was on the way with a gallon or two of gas for her, but thanks so much for stopping, she said. Another K-turn and away we went to our destination.

On the one hand, I was glad that my daughter thought stopping was our default response to this situation, but on the other hand I came away wondering how many times I failed to do this kind of thing without even noticing. It wasn’t only about trying to help this woman; it was also about having my daughter see me try to help this woman. How often in life do we have the opportunity to make a humane choice, but for whatever reason choose otherwise? How much has our conditioning taught us to keep moving, that the clock is more important than the person before us who needs our help, that someone else will do what I didn’t?

Of course, anyone who has taken a psychology class has heard of the Kitty Genovese case, where a woman was brutally raped and murdered on the streets of New York City and no one called for help, although many neighbors heard the attack while it occurred. This phenomenon has been given the name the "bystander effect," reflecting the fact that no one stepped in, because everyone assumed that someone else already had. "Diffusion of responsibility" is another term psychologists use to describe the fact that when there is a group of people who see the same thing, the sense of responsibility decreases for each individual because they think someone else in the group should act. There have been a number of experiments done that confirm what most of us already know: the more people who are around, the less likely we are to stand up and do something.

This is the challenge of the parent trying to raise her children to be humane. How do we give our children not only an awareness of the needs and wants of others, but also the courage to do something to help? How can we teach our children to think: " If not me, who?"?

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Taxes: What's the MOGO (most good) Choice?

A number of years ago, a friend proudly told me about how she kept certain income from the government in order not to pay taxes. Her assumption was that I would find this admirable because our government was using a hefty share of our tax dollars for unethical wars. Like her, I oppose such wars. But I was not impressed at all. I asked her if she took that money that legally should have gone to pay her taxes and donated it to charities or causes she believed in. She stared at me in confusion and said no. This had apparently never crossed her mind. I explained that I thought that it could be a noble act to refuse to pay taxes, but only if one took the same amount of money and put it toward good works and did so publicly as an act of civil disobedience. She quickly changed the subject.

Over the years, I’ve been surprised by just how many people I know who withhold information to avoid paying taxes. These are not libertarians who philosophically oppose taxation, but progressives who believe in social security, medicaid, educational financial aid, interstate highways, funding for the arts and sciences, and so on. There is plenty that they don’t believe in, and I know how galling it can be to know that one’s taxes are going toward immoral, violent acts, whether to fund illegal wars or cruel experiments on animals, or to subsidize unhealthy and inhumane foods. But if that is how we feel, then I believe as U.S. citizens we have a responsibility to participate in the democratic process to the best of our ability (and to transform that process so that it actually is democratic). We have the choice to be activists and changemakers. And we have the option of civil disobedience, a brave decision to embody one’s values and then face the inevitable consequences.

What’s the MOGO (most good) choice regarding taxes? That’s for each of us to decide for ourselves, based on our values, but I would argue that "gaming" the system to avoid paying taxes and keeping the money for oneself isn’t MOGO at all.

Zoe Weil
Author of Most Good, Least Harm

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Young Eco-Heroes: Brower Youth Award Winners

You don't have to look any farther than your own community to find youth engaged in inspiring and effective campaigns and projects to help create a better world. And more organizations are starting to recognize and reward the terrific work that young people are doing. Each year the Brower Youth Awards honor young people, ages 13 to 22, "living in North America who have shown outstanding leadership on a project or campaign with positive environmental and social impact."

Winners of this national award receive a $3,000 cash prize, and a trip to San Francisco to attend the awards ceremony and to "participate in a week of speaking engagements, trainings, and environmental conferences leading up to the ceremony."

Here are the 2010 winners:

Freya Chay, 15, helped pass legislation in her state of Alaska to provide incentives for homeowners to install renewable energy systems.

Marcus Grignon, 21, has created programs to boost environmental education and sustainability opportunities for Menominee Reservation students and the larger community.

De'Anthony Jones, 18, engages youth of color in social justice and environmental stewardship.

Ana Elisa Perez-Quintero, 20, started a youth-led nonprofit focused on developing a culture of eco-citizenry through school groups that offer an integrated curriculum for environmental activism.

Varsha Vijay, 22, has helped connect the Waorani tribe in Ecuador with useful scientific and technological tools to help them better protect their rainforest home.

Misra Walker, 18, led a successful campaign to add a public transit stop to a new green space near a busy industrialized area.

~ Marsha

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Humane Issues in the News...

Each week we post links to news about humane education & humane living, and items connected to humane issues, from human rights to environmental preservation, to animal protection, to media, consumerism and culture.

Greenpeace ranks electronics companies on "greenness" (via Treehugger) (10/26/10)

"Court: No teacher speech rights in curriculum" (via Education Week) (10/21/10)

New CA law works toward reducing human exploitation in product supply chains (via YES) (10/21/10)

Is "economic integration" one of the keys to a better education? (Washington Post) (10/15/10)

Nation's first "online animal abuser registry" created in Suffolk County, New York (via Statesman.com) (11/15/10)

Alloy Entertainment's goal? To "own teenage girls" (via Business Week) (10/14/10)


Keep up with more humane issues in the news via our Facebook or Twitter pages.

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Humane Educator's Toolbox: Where Children Sleep

If you've used great visual resources like the images from Peter Menzel's books, Material World and Hungry Planet, to help your students explore issues of culture, poverty, disparity, materialism, social justice, human rights and other global issues, add James Mollison's book, Where Children Sleep, to your toolbox.

Mollison's book captures images of children from around the world and their "bedrooms," along with a brief caption that tells a bit about the child's life. The book offers powerful images and a great context for exploring important global issues.

You can see sample images from the book in this Telegraph photo gallery.

~ Marsha

(h/t to Dave and Larry.)

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Be the Change Your Want to See in the World (& in Your Own Life)

Whether you're an educator, parent, or concerned citizen, you can get support for putting your vision for a just, compassionate, sustainable world into practice through our popular, life-changing 30-day online courses. Mark your calendar for our upcoming sessions.

A Better World, A Meaningful Life

January 3-28, 2011

You want to live a life that truly reflects your values and that will make a positive difference in the world. Find the freedom, support, motivation and skills you need to bring more joy, balance and satisfaction to your life and to strengthen your impact as a changemaker.

This course is for you if you want to:
  • learn how to better align your passions and values with your daily choices.
  • connect with others committed to living a conscious and ethical life.
  • gain support and insights for deepening your personal commitment to a better world.
  • cultivate more motivation and concrete skills for becoming an effective, joyful changemaker.
  • nurture a happy, balanced, intentional life.

Find out more.



Teaching for a Positive Future

February 7-March 4, 2011

Today's youth are hungry for learning that is meaningful, empowering and relevant to their daily lives. They're concerned about the future and are passionate about cultivating a meaningful life and are enthusiastic about exploring solutions to our global challenges.

Give students what they want: learn skills, tools and insights for teaching students critical and creative thinking about social justice, environmental ethics, and animal protection, and enhance their understanding of the power they have to nurture a just, compassionate, sustainable world for themselves, other people, other animals, and the earth.

This course is for you if you want to:
  • increase your fluency in using the lens of humane education to help shape your lesson plans, activities and curriculum.
  • gain more knowledge about comprehensive humane education issues & learn how to better explore them with your students.
  • help empower your students to think critically and creatively so they can become changemakers and problem solvers for a better world.
  • improve your facility in communicating positively and compassionately around challenging global issues.
  • cultivate a network of people interested in creating a better world through education.
Find out more.


Raising a Humane Child

April 4-29, 2011

Parents are their child's first and most important teacher. Learn the skills and strategies you need to parent more mindfully and intentionally and to help your child be a joyful, caring citizen in a humane, sustainable world.

This course is for you if you want to:
  • nurture compassionate, conscientious values in your children.
  • help yourself and your children become better aware of the world around you and the impacts of your choices on yourself, other people, animals and the earth.
  • connect with other parents passionate about raising healthy, happy, humane children.
  • gain skills and support to further align your life choices with your deepest values so that you can become better role models for your family.

Find out more.

~ Marsha

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Class Desks as Office Cubicles

In response to my blog post, “What Will Future Generations Condemn Us For? How We Educate Our Children,” educational visionary and activist Kirsten Olson shared this:
"Yesterday my husband was observing an elementary classroom in a nearby state. The children in this room, aged 7-8, were sitting in desks lined up in rows, and the teacher had used her own money to buy cardboard shields that the children had to place around themselves at their desks. The shields were high enough so that you couldn’t see anything around you, or anyone around you, and you couldn’t interact at all with anyone. Behind their shields, the children were completing worksheets on blending 'gr' sounds and 'tr' sounds. The children were to sit behind their shields for their entire 'literacy block,' and they use these shields for all seat work (math, social studies), every day. They would be graded on their worksheets. The teacher calls the children’s desks 'offices.'”
If only this were a joke. If ever there were a more obvious example of how some schools really have as their primary goal preparing students to be compliant workers doing the tasks demanded of them without thought, without interaction, without creativity, without innovation, here it is. And it’s a travesty.

Let’s consider for a moment the world these children are growing up in: a warming planet where species are becoming extinct at dangerous and tragic rates; an overpopulated world where a billion people go to bed hungry and don’t have regular access to clean water; a world rife with strife where war and genocide touch every continent but Antarctica; potential peak oil creating an energy crunch we’re unprepared for socially, politically, and economically, and much more.

Lest I sound like a prophet of doom, let’s also consider some other aspects of our world: a technological wonder where information is at our fingertips connecting our minds and discoveries in nanoseconds; abundant food - enough to actually feed our billions; dramatic increases in life expectancy in developed countries over the course of a mere 100 years.

In a world with such looming catastrophes and such extraordinary opportunities the last thing our children should be doing is sitting at cubicle-like desks filling out worksheets day after day. Their world desperately needs them to be educated, able to think critically, creatively and cooperatively to build a healthy future relying upon the great and amazing strides their forebears have already achieved and solving the problems those same forebears, often unwittingly, caused. They will never learn this doing worksheets behind cardboard screens.

Zoe Weil, author of Most Good, Least Harm and The Power and Promise of Humane Education

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Enhance Your Students' Critical Thinking (& Your Own) With ProCon.org

Many educators are seeking strategies for helping their students think more deeply, critically and broadly about the challenging issues of our times, and ProCon.org is a great tool to help spark critical thinking about controversial issues. ProCon offers “research on controversial issues in a straightforward, nonpartisan, and primarily pro-con format.”

The organization provides pro-con information on more than 30 issues, from gay marriage to obesity to “illegal” immigration to alternative energy. Each meta-issue begins with a question, offers a 1-minute overview, a core question (with quotes from opposing sides), the top 10 pros and cons for that topic, and a list of “Did you know?” factoids. Each meta-issue is broken down into sub-categories, with a variety of questions about topics connected to the meta-issue. Each meta-issue also offers (on the sidebar) a whole slew of additional information, from surveys and charts to sources for additional information. Some of the newer topics include video clips.

One of the strengths of the site is their star rating of the different types of sources. Government information gets more stars than non-profit organizations or industry sources, for example. The site also offers resources and tips for teachers and librarians in using the information on the site in their classrooms. If you need convincing about the benefits of exploring controversial issues in your classroom, check out their page on “Benefits of Teaching Controversial Issues” with statistics and links to studies and other resources.

A terrific extension to the either/or lens of the site is to explore third-side and both/and thinking with your students. Most pro-con sources set the issue up as two sides opposing each other, without looking for common ground or the reasoning behind why the stakeholders hold the views they have. If you need support or ideas for how to extend the conversation this way, check out our activities such as Many Colors (pdf) or Earth Court (pdf).

ProCon is also a great tool for helping all of us, whether teachers or not, enhance our knowledge of some of the important issues of our time and to expand our understanding about the various viewpoints people hold dear.

~ Marsha
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Do You Think About the Future?

Michael Chabon wrote a thought-provoking essay, “The Omega Glory,” (pdf) which is featured on the Long Now Foundation website. The Long Now Foundation “hopes to provide counterpoint to today's ‘faster/cheaper’ mind set and promote ‘slower/better’ thinking... to creatively foster responsibility in the framework of the next 10,000 years.”

Chabon’s essay asks us whether and how we think about the Future. I’ve capitalized Future to distinguish it from thinking about one’s personal future, or a five or ten-year vision of the future. Now I consider myself someone who thinks about the Future a lot, because my work in humane education is meant to help pave the way for a peaceful, sustainable and humane Future. I’m also a big science fiction fan, so I’ve been thinking about the Future ever since discovering Star Trek in 1974.

Yet Chabon’s essay made me pause. If I’m honest, I don’t think about the Future all that often. I think about the future a lot, but not the Future. If I did, such thinking would likely profoundly inform my present and would temper and make more meaningful and wise my thoughts about actions on behalf of the future and the Future.

Take a look at Chabon’s essay, and do share your thoughts.

Zoe Weil, author of Most Good, Least Harm

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BlogSpotlight: The Hero Handbook

Our friend and colleague, Matt Langdon, has been working for years to inspire young people to become ordinary heroes through his project, The Hero Construction Company. Now he has created a guide for adults, The Hero Handbook. The Hero Handbook is dedicated to helping adults "live a heroic life," primarily by inspiring us to take positive action each day. As he says in one of his blog posts:
"Most of the heroes in the world are those doing little, good things every day. They’re doing extraordinary things every day. They’re extraordinary because the ordinary option is to do nothing. They choose action when inaction is easier. And more ordinary. And more expected."
Check out his blog and get ready to become more heroic!

~ Marsha

Image courtesy of Piotr Bizior - www.bizior.com.

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What a Humane World Looks Like: Keeping Everyone in the Lifeboat

There’s a popular thought experiment involving a lifeboat, a dog, and one or more humans, and the discussion is basically an either/or: the human(s) or the dog – who gets tossed overboard?

As in most areas of our society, most adults automatically choose the humans. So long dog. But when biologist Marc Bekoff posed this question to a group of third graders, he got a very different answer: Why does anyone have to be thrown over? Let’s save everyone.

The third-side, creative thinking of these children demonstrates the kind of thinking that all of us need so that we can nurture a just, compassionate, sustainable world for all beings. How can we secure sufficient food, shelter, transportation, livelihood, security, and the other basics that we need without throwing overboard other people, animals or the earth?

If you're an educator, you can use our activities like Spaceship Earth (pdf) and Sustainer (pdf) to help your students explore ways of living that are sustainable for all.

All of us can investigate the choices in our own lives and ask ourselves that question. We can look at stories in the news that posit issues as either/or and look for the third-side solutions. And we can strive not to give up after the first or second try at a solution and work together to dive deeper for those creative solutions that respect and honor the needs and interests of all.

~ Marsha

Image courtesy of Rupert Affen via Creative Commons.

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Life Is Short. Stretch Your Boundaries

This summer my son started CrossFit training, an intensive workout approach that amazed me. I watched one morning as he and a friend set a timer and for 15 minutes did repetitions of the following:

5 pull-ups
10 push-ups
15 sit-ups

After the 15 minutes were over they’d done 45 pull-ups, 90 push-ups and 135 sit-ups. Let’s just say that on a very good day I can do 3 pull-ups in a row, and normally just 1 or 2.

I decided that I wanted to get in shape like that. So I joined a CrossFit class. I try to go once or twice a week, and then practice on my own another one or two times. I’ve been so sore since starting this a few weeks ago. I’ve also been exhausted. But in 15 minutes, I can now do 60 push-ups and 100 sit-ups and 160 squats, and I know that’s just a start. It feels great to be 49 and getting into such good shape.

Yet my friends who are listening to me moan and groan about how sore I am are rightly asking, “Why would you do that?” It’s funny this desire to do things we may dislike for a higher purpose. I had a goal for myself a few years ago to be able to run the mile up our local 900 foot mountain. It took a summer of practice to achieve this goal, and I still do it periodically, although I dislike every minute of it. So why do I do it? It’s not for the endorphins, because I’m so depleted afterwards that it hardly feels like an exerciser’s high. It’s for the sense of accomplishment. It’s for the sense of competence. It’s for the sense of personal strength.

In a previous blog post I wrote about providing students with the opportunity to experience such a sense of accomplishment using their minds. It is not always “fun” to push ourselves to our limits, whether physically or mentally. Almost 30 years ago I began reading the book Godel, Escher, Bach. It stretched my mind far beyond its limits, so much so that after just 1 hour of reading I would fall asleep – a rarity for a non-napper like me. I didn’t make it through the whole book, but I felt fantastic about what I did learn and how I stretched my mind to its capacity, even though it exhausted me.

In answer to my friends who want to know why I’m doing CrossFit, I’m doing it because I want to stretch myself to achieve all of what I’m capable of achieving, physically and mentally. Life is short. I want to reach my potential.

Zoe Weil, author of Most Good, Least Harm

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Brilliant Chickens and Einstein Squids: Rethinking What We "Know" About Animal Intelligence

Last month here in Portland, Oregon, we had our 6th annual VegFest, a fabulous feast of food, speakers, chef demonstrations, kids’activities and more. I was fortunate to hear several terrific talks, including one about animal intelligence. It was one of my favorite talks, and the speaker, Rae, addressed 4 important elements in considering our understanding of animals and their intelligence.

1. Yes they can – One of the points made was that those characteristics and qualities that we use to construct the tall pedestal we put ourselves on are also true for animals. They build, have families, communicate, display emotions (and, if you agree with the premise of Marc Bekoff’s book, Wild Justice, some species have a strong sense of right and wrong), and may even have spiritual experiences.

2. Uncover the myths – There are a host of myths that we humans perpetuate and believe about animals without bothering to investigate their veracity. For example, most people think chickens are stupid. How many of us have actually met chickens and interacted with them? Rae told a story about an experiment that has been repeated many times, in which a chicken is given both chicken eggs and duck eggs to care for. The gist of the results: she raises the ducks as ducks and the chicks as chickens. Several scientists who have worked with chickens have emphasized their intelligence. In 1995, Dr. Lesley Rogers, a Professor of Zoology said, "[It] is now clear that birds have cognitive capacities equivalent to those of mammals, even primates." And Dr. Chris Evans, a Professor of Psychology said that he often lists the attributes of chickens (without mentioning chickens) "...and people think I'm talking about monkeys."

3. The test is wrong - When humans measure the intelligence of animals, they usually use a paradigm based on the human understanding of the world. For example, many species have been subjected to the "red dot" experiment, in which a red dot is place on the front of their heads and the animal is put in front of a mirror. If the animal can recognize that the dot is on them, they're considered likely to be self-aware. But what if we humans were subjected to experiments that, to other species, seemed easy-peasy, but for us where very challenging or impossible. Rae gave the example of bats telling us: "All you have to do is go to a field and, in complete darkness, run from one end to the other really fast without tripping over anything." Of course, we couldn't do it.

4. You can’t communicate when you don’t understand the language or the culture - Not only do many humans consider animals lacking in intelligence, but people of certain ethnic and geographic backgrounds often make judgments about the intelligence of people of other ethnic and geographic backgrounds, because they don't understand the language or the culture. We can't evaluate another being's intelligence without sharing a common framework and having at least a basic understanding of how and what he communicates.

As Rae said in her talk, although intelligence isn't a measure of worth, it's often a criteria we use to judge non-humans as inferior, and thus give ourselves free license to abuse and exploit them. Although we shouldn't use intelligence as a measure of how we treat other animals, we need to recognize that they have special skills, reasoning and knowledge that, while it might not help them score well on the SATs, does require that we rethink our relationship with other beings.

~ Marsha

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More Than a Label? Exploring the Meanings & Motivations Behind Them

Many people wanting to make more compassionate, sustainable choices frequently look to the labels on products to help them, but they often find themselves confused, overwhelmed, frustrated, and possibly inadvertently supporting practices they oppose, because many labels are either not regulated or don't mean what many think they do. Treehugger recently reported that the British consumer advocacy group, Which?, discovered in their survey that many citizens are "overwhelmed and confused" by all the different labels and standards and often buy products with labels, even though they aren't certain what the labels mean.

How many of your students (or you, your friends, co-workers, family, etc.) know the real meaning behind labels such as:
  • Cage-free
  • Cruelty-free
  • Dolphin safe
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Fair trade
  • Free range
  • GMO-free
  • Natural
  • Organic
  • Recyclable
  • Recycled
  • Sweatshop-free
  • Vegan
It might be an interesting lesson on seeking out accurate information and thinking critically to ask your students (or others) to define what these labels mean, and then have them research the definitions of the labels and the true meanings behind them. Tools like the Consumer Reports Greener Choices Eco-labels Center provide "report cards" on different labels, including what kind of official standards exist, what the claim means, whether or not its meaningful and consistent, etc.

Students could dig even deeper into these issues, exploring, for example, the reasoning behind having certain labels, who supports and opposes those labels and their reasons for doing so, and so on. Ben & Jerry's was recently pressured into removing the "All Natural" label from its products that contain ingredients such as corns syrup and hydrogenated oils, even though the FDA has no formal definition for "natural." The recent reversal of a ban on milk labeling in Ohio could be another example to explore. In 2005 the egg industry was forced to remove "Animal Care Certified" labels from its cartons by the Federal Trade Commission. There have been controversies over the labeling (or not) of genetically modified food, labeling meat and products from cloned animals, changing the definition of organic, and more.

Students could even develop their own criteria, definitions and standards for food and other products.

Exploring these issues helps us hone our critical thinking skills, search for accurate information, and connect more deeply with the products and services we use and their impact on people, animals and the planet.

~ Marsha

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Getting Behind the Meat of the Matter with Gristle

I had the opportunity to meet Moby – an awesome musician – when he was playing a benefit concert at the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary following a MOGO workshop that I had facilitated earlier that day. It was such a treat to meet one of my favorite artists and fellow activists, and we exchanged books. Moby has co-edited, with Miyun Park, Gristle: From Factory Farms to Food Safety, a collection of short, powerful essays. I highly recommend this book.

In his introduction, Moby writes about growing up and hearing the golden rule to "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
“When I was young this made a lot of sense to me in an uncluttered and beautifully self-evident way. But it then begged a follow up question: who are these ‘others’ referred to in the golden rule? Should this rule only apply to me and my family? Should it extend to friends? Strangers? And what about animals? To my young mind, it seemed inconceivable that I would extend the golden rule to strangers, but not to the animals in my house.... I loved the animals in my house, so I decided that I should extend the golden rule to them. Which then begged another follow-up question: If I don’t want the animals in my house to suffer, well, then what about the animals who don’t live in my house? Shouldn’t the golden rule apply to them as well? So, at an early age, I decide that the golden rule should probably extend to all animals who seem to have the capacity to suffer.”
And so Moby, like so many of us who don’t want to cause suffering and harm to other sentient beings, became vegan.

I’ve had people tell me that they need to eat meat, and so I was interested to read the first essay in the book, written by an ironman triathlete, who presented the case that not only is meat unnecessary, but that for peak athletic performance a vegan diet is preferable. But perhaps the more powerful commentary in this essay came in the form of a question and a graph. The question? “Which is cleaner, the kitchen sink or the toilet? And the answer is the toilet. That surprising finding comes from University of Arizona researchers who discovered 'more fecal bacteria in the kitchen – on sponges, dish towels, and the sink drain – than they found swabbing the toilet, even after washing everything with bleach not once, but twice, in a house with omnivores. It is safer to lick the rim of their toilet seat than the kitchen countertop... because people aren’t preparing chickens in the toilet.'” All that excrement on meat, courtesy of today’s (lack of) animal husbandry and slaughterhouses, means excrement in our kitchens. Yuck.

Bon appetit,

Zoe Weil, author of Most Good, Least Harm

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Rethinking the "They Just Don't Care" Mantra

Teachers are getting a huge helping of flack in the news media regarding the state of our schools in the U.S., but parents get their fair share, too, especially from teachers. As a former teacher, I remember overhearing grumblings from co-workers about parents not bothering to show up for conferences or not following through on homework, etc., (and I admit that I did some grumbling myself, back before I had my eyes opened). How nice to see a guest post at Learning First Alliance from teacher Matt Brown, who relates his experience with his first parent-teacher conference, and what he discovered after.

Co-workers told him. Don't bother to dress up/get excited/prepare all that much, 'cause "parents don't care." Sure enough, he only had one parent appear to talk to him. But, that's not the whole story.

In addition to the obstacle of the conference being in the middle of the work day, Brown noted this:
"I worked with most parents at least once over the course of the year, and every single one specifically pointed out that they cared about their child’s education, and that they knew how important that education was. I certainly believed them. But it also became apparent that several weren’t exactly sure of the most effective ways to be partners with teachers in their child’s education. It’s like when I go to see my mechanic. I know that my car is important, and I know I need to take care of it. I don’t have a whole lot of experience with cars though, and I can sometimes get a little intimidated when I’m around the guy. So long as my car isn’t shooting out flames, and my mechanic doesn’t specially mention anything, I don’t ask a lot of questions. It doesn’t mean I don’t care, I just don’t know the best way to express it.

"I suspect that a lot of the folks we dismiss as uncaring do care very much, they might just not know the best way to be a positive asset for their student."
That last sentence really rings true for me, both as a former teacher, and as a humane educator when I extend it to the broader lens of people who "just don't care" -- people we think have all the information they need and still choose destructive actions. They just must not care! I think it's much more likely that they "might just not know the best way to be a positive asset" in the world. We become vegan (and forget what life was like before we were vegan), and assume that everyone else should be able to flip a switch and joyfully choose likewise on the spot. We bike everywhere and shake our fingers at people in their cars. We shake our heads sadly and superciliously at the poor schmucks rushing around trying to find happiness through stuff. Obviously they just don't care.

I live in a co-housing community with about 30 other adults. They make a lot of choices that I find cruel, violent and destructive. But they're also wonderful, kind, thoughtful, intelligent, generous people. Should I assume that they don't care? I've seen them do a lot of things that show that they're quite passionate about a kind, sustainable, peaceful world. Could it be that they do care and just don't have the knowledge, tools and motivation to make kinder choices?

Let's be careful about making assumptions and labeling people as uncaring and do more to find out their motivations and sticking points, and what guidance and tools they might need to become even more of a "positive asset" for a just, compassionate, sustainable world.

~ Marsha

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My Overflowing Garden

Last weekend I faced the reality of my garden. I had food enough to feed a village, at least if the menu was zucchini and cucumbers. My husband and I gathered boxes and baskets, and after several back breaking trips filled his car to take them to the food pantry after offering some to his coworkers.

How had I allowed this to happen? Why had I tended my garden, weeded and watered, put in so many hours, just to grow food I would never eat? My family doesn’t even like zucchini! Cucumbers are always good for pickles if you can’t eat them all fresh, but I’d already made 18 jars, and enough is enough. We gathered several more overstuffed bags of cucumbers growing monstrously large even after pickling those 18 jars a few weeks ago.

I think the reason I grew so much this year was because last year the garden was a fiasco. After just as much care and tending and hours weeding, the tomatoes got some sort of fungus, as did the potatoes; the corn crop was destroyed by an animal in a single night; the brussells sprouts never amounted to more than little bumps; the squash vines died from squash beetles, and my dog ate the asparagus as fast as it poked through the ground. I was determined that this year would be different. I planted zucchini not because I like it, but because zucchini grows no matter what, and I just wanted to produce food, even if that included food that I don’t much enjoy. And boy was it the year for food. This hot summer produced the biggest bounty ever, including a beet bigger than my head (but which I’ll thoroughly enjoy in a borscht extravanganza).

What lesson did I learn? I hope I learned to stop planting foods I do not eat, but I suspect I’ll forget this lesson. Oh, I learned it for next summer, but there will always be years of lack, and I’ll likely respond to those summers the way I did this year. And then I’ll put in hours of time gathering food to give away to others. I guess that’s not so bad. Maybe it’s even MOGO.

Zoe Weil, author of Most Good, Least Harm

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Featured Changemaker: Connecticut State Representative Annie Hornish

How does a cytotechnologist with an MBA end up as a state representative working for a better world for people, animals, and the earth? She merges her passion with her talents. Annie Hornish is just finishing her first term as a State Representative in Connecticut, where she has worked for legislation that recognizes the importance of creating a just, compassionate, sustainable world. Representative Hornish was kind enough to share with us about her work.


IHE: You co-founded the Compassionate Living Project with your husband, IHE M.Ed. graduate Neil Hornish, so you’ve done quite a lot of humane education, but more recently, you’ve been elected as a state representative for Connecticut. What made you decide to enter the political spectrum?

RAH: My animal advocacy has led me along various paths. In recent years that included the political arena. In correspondence with my own Representative, it soon became apparent that we held diametrically opposite positions on certain issues. When the election year approached and I learned that my Representative did not have a challenger, I decided that I would run against him myself. My campaign had a strong message of diversity, which included not only issues of social justice -- including environmental and animal protection -- but helping small business and microbusiness enterprises. The campaign was incredibly time-consuming, and I could not have done it without the support of my husband. I canvassed my district on bicycle and knocked on many doors. In the end, I won over an eighteen-year incumbent by a 4% margin in each of the four towns that I represent.

IHE: What have been some of the successes and challenges of your first term?

RAH: Enacting change through laws can be an arduous process. Passing legislation often takes years, with each session gaining slightly more ground. In some cases, the success is not measured in passing beneficial laws, but in preventing the passage of harmful laws.

The vast majority of my successes were initiatives that promoted job growth, with a focus on helping small businesses, microbusinesses, and green businesses. There were many ways to encourage these objectives (e.g., tax credit incentives, student loan forgiveness for studies in certain fields, loans for small businesses).

I’ve also had success with animal issues. I have championed a bill that would allow students to opt out of dissections. The bill passed out of committee and through the House with a great deal of support, but unfortunately, time ran out in the session before the Senate could vote on the bill. Some bills of which I was a leading advocate made it into law: Connecticut’s “Pet Lemon Law,” which will fight puppy mills by promoting transparency to consumers (in terms of clearly posting the origin of the dogs) and through reimbursement for veterinary costs (health problems are common in dogs who have originated in puppy mills), and the “Tethering” law, which deals with helping dogs who are cruelly tethered. I also initiated and co-chair a new group, Legislators for Animal Advocacy (LAA), which will work to educate legislators and foster humane policies. The organization is only the second of its kind in the country -- California introduced the first earlier this year. Response from legislators and the public has been very positive.


IHE: You’re on the Commerce, Education, and Environment committees, three committees which can potentially wield a lot of power in helping create a better world. How did this come about?

RAH: At the beginning of the legislative term, which is two years for state Representatives and Senators in Connecticut, each legislator provides a list of committees on which they would like to sit to the leadership, and the leadership decided who will be on which committee. Luckily these were my three top choices. I chose the Environment Committee because of my passion for protecting the environment, and virtually all animal protection bills pass through this committee. I chose the Education Committee because I understand the necessity to provide students with a quality education and opportunities to pique their desire for knowledge. I chose the Commerce Committee to help local businesses and to assist in the implementation of green business methods.

IHE: How have you been able to infuse humane education values into your work?

RAH: Legislative Committees are in many ways similar to school classrooms. The committee members meet to address a certain issue, gather information from the public, lobbyists, and experts, and then debate the issue before voting on the bill. This presents many opportunities for humane education. During my first term, I have had the opportunity in public hearings, press conferences, and committee meetings to discuss issues such as animals in factory farms (intense confinement), alternatives to plastic shopping bags, the impact of plastic bottles on the environment, students’ choice regarding participation in dissections, compassionate alternatives to hunting and trapping, hunting’s negative impact on ecosystems, and the cruel treatment of animals in circuses and traveling shows.


IHE: What suggestions do you have for citizens who’d like to help get laws passed that support a humane world? What should they know?

RAH: There are a number of ways to become involved. First, consider running for a political position, at any level of government. Even positions at the local level present opportunities to promote humane policies. If people choose to advocate for humane legislation, I would suggest developing a relationship with the elected officials in your district. Join a local advocacy group that understands how the legislative process works and that is committed to developing a strong, organized voting bloc. I strongly recommend as required reading Get Political for Animals by Julie Lewin. It is an excellent guidebook on understanding the process for how laws and policies are passed. While it was written for animal advocacy, the information presented can work for any social justice issue.

IHE: What do you see happening in the world that gives you hope for a more just, compassionate, sustainable future?


RAH: The past couple of years have witnessed the most economically challenging times in decades. The media has focused on the negative reactions of certain groups, such as the volatile and occasionally violent reactions during the health care debate. However, in my position as a legislator, I have had the opportunity to hear from a large number of constituents who, even during these difficult times, have expressed a strong desire to support social justice issues that preserve the environment, protect animals, and maintain justice and equality.


IHE: What are the biggest challenges in creating a humane world?

RAH: The biggest challenge is getting people to listen to the information they need, and to work together to make compassionate choices. Often the information is controlled by the entities that have the most to gain from the exploitation of people, animals, and the environment. These entities have the funds to run advertising campaigns, hire lobbyists, and contribute to political campaigns. This results in not only inundating the public with biased or misleading information, but also allows these entities exceptional influence in determining public policy. Fortunately, the information to counter those who would exploit people, animals, or the environment is now more than ever readily available through the Internet. Often different social justice groups are focused on their own particular interest without understanding the interrelationships between their group and others’ groups.


IHE: What advice do you have for aspiring changemakers?

RAH: I would advise that once you determine what it is that you want to change, you must apply your strengths. Some people are great at public speaking, some people are good at research, some at generating funding, and others may find the political arena intriguing. No matter what you do, it’s important that you demand change from the government (local, state, and federal) that represents you. I think that it’s important to remember that while others are working on different social justice issues, there are many areas of common interest, and it is important not to compromise other social justice issues while working to advance your own.

~ Marsha

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Otter Bog Blog #2: Finding Treasures in the Moment

My husband and I headed off to Otter Bog on a crisp fall Saturday that followed a series of rainy days. We went in search of a chicken-of-the-woods, our favorite edible shelf mushroom that we often find after rains in autumn. The woods were full of mushrooms, including a giant puffball (whose time had clearly passed, alas), but despite bushwhacking for 6 hours we didn’t find a chicken-of-the-woods. We did find the largest bear scat we’d ever seen, and magnificent British Soldiers growing on a dead log, but these were poor substitutes for the delicacy we sought.

When we got back to the pond at Otter Bog it was close to 4 p.m. The beavers who live on the pond were likely to come out soon, so we sat down on one of their old lodges (across the pond from their new lodge) and waited. My husband asked how long I planned to wait, and I said that I thought they’d come out within the hour. “An hour!” he exclaimed, not planning to stay more than 15 minutes. Fifteen minutes passed with no sign of the beavers, but we saw a pair of Wood Ducks off in the distance, and then one male Wood Duck, in all his resplendent colors, flew in and landed about 30 feet in front of us. And so we stayed.

When the hour was up, I was getting cold and my butt was sore from sitting on the beaver lodge sticks, and so I got up to go. My husband was packing up his camera to follow. I waited in the car for about five minutes and then realized that the beavers must have finally come out, because he hadn’t come back yet. So I quietly walked back to the pond, and sure enough was greeted by the beavers. Turns out my husband had a leg cramp as he stood up and during the 20 seconds that the cramp waylaid him, the beavers came out.

The take home message from the day? When you’re on a treasure hunt, you’ll always find treasures you weren’t searching for if you’re open to what appears in each moment. Or, as John Lennon said, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”

Zoe Weil, Author of Most Good, Least Harm

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Get Energized & Empowered: Sign Up for One of Our November Workshops

Transform your life and the world. Get support and strategies for better aligning your life with your deepest values and for creating a just, compassionate, sustainable world for all people, animals and the earth. Sign up for one of our popular workshops:

MOGO Workshop at Farm Sanctuary
Orland, California
November 6-7, 2010
Cultivate a more meaningful life that makes a positive difference. Spend a day examining what's most important to you and exploring your talents at our MOGO Workshop. Take advantage of the chance to connect with others who share your passion to live according to their deepest values and create a just, compassionate world for all.

You'll leave this life-affirming experience energized by new possibilities and equipped with specific actions you can take to move forward.
Find out more.


Sowing Seeds web banner
Sowing Seeds Humane Education Workshop at the Detroit Zoological Society
Royal Oak, Michigan
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Our Sowing Seeds Workshop is designed to train educators to effectively teach others to think critically and creatively about social justice, environmental ethics, and animal protection, and how to broaden your students' understanding of the ways in which their choices affect themselves, other people, other species, and the Earth.

The workshop focuses on providing participants with a constructive approach for teaching about complex, controversial issues. Sowing Seeds offers participants dynamic activities and practical tips, demonstrations of the effectiveness of humane education, and an opportunity for group participation.

Sowing Seeds is recommended for educators of all types, from classroom teachers to community educators and concerned citizens.
Find out more.


Need more convincing? Check out what past workshop participants have said:

“The MOGO program is just what we need at this time in our history. It integrated today’s pressing issues into what an individual can do to create a safe and compassionate world.”
~ Clarence Widerburg

“Absolutely fantastic and life changing.”
~ Patti Gibbons

"Excellent workshop that will help me both professionally and personally in creating a more humane community. I appreciate the commitment to non-judgmental, critical thinking content.”
~ Linda Jariz

"Humane education is so important to the future of our world. The tools and information offered in this workshop will truly help me to further the cause through my teaching and to relate better to others whose world views differ from mine.”
~ Regina Milano


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Humane Issues in the News...

Each week we post links to news about humane education & humane living, and items connected to humane issues, from human rights to environmental preservation, to animal protection, to media, consumerism and culture.

Schools struggle to address anti-gay bullying after spike in suicides (via AP) (10/11/10)

U.S. Supreme Court weighs right of free speech vs. "personal, hurtful attacks" (via Global Ethics Newsline) (10/11/10)

"Huge parts of world are drying up" (via Science Daily) (10/11/10)

Peter Singer: World's leaders not keeping promises for Millennium Development Goals (via Project Syndicate) (10/6/10)

Manhattan Free School gives kids control of their education (via NY Times) (10/5/10)

New projects try to offer hope for gay teens who've been bullied (via Seattle Times) (10/5/10)

Nearly 40% of kids' calories come from junk food (via ABC News) (10/1/10)

"Food safety auditors often paid by the firms they audit" (via USA Today) (10/1/10)

"The invisible campus color line" (via Newsweek) (9/29/10)

Report highlights abuse in organic egg production (via Cornucopia Institute) (9/26/10)


Keep up with more humane issues in the news via our Facebook or Twitter pages.

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Humane Education Activity: Pedro Comes for a Visit

October 10-16 is World Rainforest Week. If you're looking for a way to engage younger children (grades K-4) in exploring the power they have to help protect the rainforest, what better way than to have the kids hear about it from a rainforest resident?

Pedro Comes for a Visit
(pdf) is a great opening activity to help teach about the destruction happening in rainforests and to involve students in creating positive solutions.

~ Marsha

Image courtesy of BotheredByBees via Creative Commons.


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Thinking in School?

In a recent Huffington Post essay, Eric Maisel presents an argument for adding thinking to school . His idea is simple. Carve out 45 minutes each day for students to ponder big (age-appropriate) questions, write down their thoughts, and present them if they wish.

I like this idea, and I would take it further. Readers of my blog know that I believe that the purpose of schooling ought to be expanded so that we are educating for a future of solutionaries, people who think critically and creatively as a matter of course so that they contribute to new systems that are healthy, just, and sustainable. What if these 45 minute sessions also built upon one another? The questions to ponder could be ones crucial to the health and well-being of the students, their school, their community, and their world. Each day would invite the students to think even more deeply and creatively so that by the end of a week or a month, groundbreaking ideas may have emerged. Imagine the sense of accomplishment. Imagine the sense of competence. Imagine the sense of personal strength and capacity. And imagine the good ideas that would be generated that could be incorporated into the kids’ lives and the well-being and health of their communities and even their world.

One of the questions Maisel suggests is this: “For seventh graders, a big question might be, "How do you decide if you should or shouldn't support a war that your country is engaged in?"

What if the next day, the question was “Why do so many human cultures resort to war rather than non-violent means of solving their conflicts?”

And the next: “What other means to solving conflicts can you think of?"

And the next: “How could people be persuaded to trade weapons for other forms of conflict resolution?”

And so on.

Mohandas Gandhi managed to think of the idea of non-violent resistance when faced with the seemingly impossible quandary of “persuading” the British to leave India. And this idea managed to take root and work. What ideas and thoughts generated by our youth might come to solve entrenched challenges we face?

I would take this 45 minute thinking class another step further as well. I would make it 75 minutes, and I would imbue it with the kind of gravity with which we present math and science and language arts (and it would incorporate these in relevant ways anyway). Students would ponder their questions long after class, doing research as necessary, so that their thinking was grounded in facts and knowledge. They would take their own ideas seriously because the school and their teachers would consider this period the most important part of school – the time when all of the basics come into play for the great purpose of utilizing their brilliant and creative minds for good.

Imagine that.

Zoe Weil,
author of The Power and Promise of Humane Education and Most Good, Least Harm

Image courtesy of srphotography via Creative Commons.

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7 Ways You Can Support Fair Trade

October is Fair Trade Month, designed to educate others about the importance of fair trade and encourage them to buy fair trade products.

The goal of fair trade is to empower producers in developing countries, advocate for a fair price for their goods, and to establish social and environmental standards for the production of those goods. (Find out more from Wikipedia.)

When we buy products, most of us want to know that our desire for coffee or chocolate or sugar isn’t harming people or the planet. Fair trade is one avenue for helping us make more positive choices.

Here are 7 ways you can support fair trade:

  1. Buy fair trade products whenever you can. Look for the certified fair trade labels from Transfair USA or Fair Trade Labeling International. Fair trade products can include coffee, chocolate, sugar, rice, tea, bananas, flowers, and many other products (including non-agricultural ones). Transfair USA, Global Exchange and the Fair Trade Federation offer resources on where to buy such products.

  2. Ask stores, restaurants and any place that sells products like coffee, tea and chocolate to stock fair trade products.

  3. Educate yourself about issues surrounding fair trade, so that you can make informed choices and share what you’ve learned with others. A few useful resources include:
    Transfair USA
    Global Exchange
    Green America
    Fair Trade Resource

  4. Teach others about fair trade issues. Host film screenings, discussions, parties, tastings and other events. Talk with your friends and neighbors. Contact retailers and legislators. Write letters to the editor. Give presentations at schools and community events. Post to your blog, get a widget for your Facebook page, share with your online communities.

    If you're an educator, you can use curriculum resources such as those from Equal Exchange, Global Exchange, and Transfair USA to teach students about fair trade issues.

  5. Introduce fair trade products and issues in your community – at work, your place of worship, school, community groups, etc. Encourage your community groups to become part of Green America's Fair Trade Alliance, or suggest fair trade fundraising for your child's school.

  6. Participate in campaigns such as Reverse Trick or Treating or Fair Trade Month to increase awareness about fair trade issues.

  7. Work to get your town or city declared a fair trade town. Use resources such as those from Transfair USA and Fair Trade Towns USA to help you.
If we stay connected to our deepest values, maintain awareness of the impact of our actions, educate ourselves about positive alternatives, and take steps to make MOGO (Most Good) choices, then we can work to help create a world that's fair for everyone.

~ Marsha

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Making the World Better Through Education

Jim Haas has written a powerful and crucial essay, “Question of Values: Are We Learning for Earning—or for Living?” in Education Week. Here is an excerpt to whet your appetite to read more:
Vartan Gregorian, the master educator and president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, has spoken of liberal education as "the soul of democracy," saying that "at its best, liberal education prepares [students] to appreciate the difference between making a living and actually living; to cultivate more than a passing familiarity with ethics, history, science, and culture; and to perceive the tragic chasm between the world as it is and the world as it could and ought to be." Making the world a better place is, or ought to be, the most cherished function of any school in a democracy. Economic prosperity is surely a part of this, but not the only part.

Amen.

Zoe Weil, President of the Institute for Humane Education and author of Most Good, Least Harm and The Power and Promise of Humane Education

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Considering Culture: Are the Cultural Norms I've Adopted Aligned with My Values?

by Mary Pat Champeau, IHE's Director of Educational Programs

In 1562, Spanish colonists burned every Mayan book they could find in the area now known as Central America, virtually eradicating the culture and pride of a people. This is, of course, a kind of death. Without our culture, we lack an important sense of belonging in the vast and bewildering human family. I heard a radio report this evening about the 33 Chilean miners who have been trapped for two months 2,300 feet below the surface of the earth and as the reporter was speaking, we listeners could hear the chants of the miners themselves (thanks to a microphone) and the chants of their friends and family gathered outside the mine. Together they were all chanting the name of their country: CHI-LE! CHI-LE! It was emotional to hear this, to hear in their voices a great hope, love and faith in each other and in their homeland. Bound by a shared goal that is larger than ourselves, we can transcend individual differences and triumph over circumstances. It not only feels good to belong to something bigger and grander than ourselves, but it is a basic human need. This is why exile was considered a punishment worse than death in ancient times; we are social creatures, we like to be accepted and admired by each other, we live in groups. In fact, sometimes we are willing to sacrifice and compromise what we value in order to fit into our social group.

In one of the courses I teach at the Institute for Humane Education, "Culture and Change," students are asked to look deeply into the ways they have been shaped by culture. This isn't easy. Culture is the ocean we swim in, and it can be very challenging to see its influences, both positive and not so positive. One of the ways we look at it is to match up our personal picture of success with the cultural picture of success as portrayed in the media. Are we driven to have certain things, look certain ways, attain certain goals because we have accepted the picture of success that has been painted by our culture?

Take time today to ask yourself: "In what ways have I adopted cultural and communal norms without examining whether they are fully aligned with my values?" This is a wonderful opportunity to do some self-examination: where do your values line up with cultural norms; where do they conflict?

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What Will Future Generations Condemn Us For? How We Educate Our Children

In his excellent op-ed in the Washington Post, Princeton professor, Kwame Anthony Appiah, imagines what future generations will condemn us for, as we have condemned our ancestors for slavery and women’s disenfranchisement. Appiah mentions our prison systems, factory farming, and the isolation and institutionalization of our elderly.

I think our descendants will also condemn us for how we chose to educate children and teens in our school systems. I believe that future generations will decry the rote memorization approaches (practiced long after facts were readily available on hand-held computers) and which failed to address a changing world in need of innovative approaches to solving systemic problems. They will wonder why it took so long to transform schooling so that it was relevant to a changed and changing world and marvel that we suppressed our children’s creativity when it was so crucial to cultivate it. They will wonder how we made “competing in a global economy” our educational goal rather than educating a generation of solutionaries who could create systems that were humane, sustainable and just, and how we justified making children sit in chairs all day while we poured often outdated knowledge into their minds and tested them repeatedly in multiple choice formats rather than engaging their minds, hands, and hearts toward learning that helped them become engaged citizens and changemakers through whatever careers they pursued.

There are so many arenas that future generations will criticize, but perhaps none is more likely to produce such a critical-thinking generation as quickly as addressing schooling, so that all the other systems that are inhumane, unjust, and unhealthy can be readily transformed. Let’s address schooling now and there will be much less to condemn us for later.

Zoe Weil, President of the Institute for Humane Education and author of Most Good, Least Harm and The Power and Promise of Humane Education

Image courtesy of sbug via Creative Commons.

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