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.

"A case for humane education" (via Independent Teacher) (Spring 2011)

"The secret world of child brides" (via National Geographic) (June 2011)

Some shareholders want Wal-mart to make global suppliers report on treatment of workers (via NY Times) (5/30/11)

Group grabs park land to grow food for homeless (via Treehugger) (5/29/11)

Record rise in carbon emissions, despite recession (via The Guardian) (5/29/11)

The politics of unschooling (via The National Post) (5/28/11)

Students explore impacts on wetlands (via Nola.com) (5/26/11)

Fish fraud: new tech shows masses of mislabeled fish (via NY Times) (5/26/11)

Author travels to Kenya and re-learns "how to be an environmentalist" (via Alternet) (5/25/11)

U.S. government releases new fuel economy labels (via NY Times) (5/25/11)

"Groups sue FDA to stop addition of antibiotics in livestock feed" (via Washington Post) (5/25/11)

"Sex trafficking of Americans: The girls next door" (via Vanity Fair) (5/24/11)

Campaign strives for "Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth" (via Common Dreams) (5/24/11)

Solving our problems by exporting them (commentary) (via Grist) (5/24/11)

"Colors are just colors" and "people are just people" - elementary school teaches children about gender (via MercuryNews.com) (5/23/11)


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"Everything Causes Cancer!": Thinking More Deeply & Critically About the News

Yesterday I happened upon a website that posts the Facebook responses of people who mistake stories from The Onion as serious, legitimate news. (For those who don't know, The Onion is a popular and well-known satire news site.) While the primary purpose of the site I discovered is to poke fun at these folks, it also highlights how easily we accept "news" as factual, accurate, and credible, without questioning more deeply, and how quickly we pass it on, unexamined, to others.

I made a similar mistake recently when I reposted a quote I thought was from Martin Luther King, Jr., on IHE's Facebook page. Usually I take time to verify the credibility of quotes before I post them, but that day I was tired, and it was late, and it struck a chord with me. Turns out someone had posted a quote by King and added their own commentary above it, and people had mistaken the whole thing as from King, and off went the viral sharing of this inaccurate quote.

We're busy. There's an endless amount of information out there. We have to protect ourselves from becoming overwhelmed and use our time wisely. Those are all great excuses for neglecting to think critically and deeply about news and other information we come across. But to ensure that our choices are aligned with our values, we have to be able to make those choices based on accurate information. Which means we need to take a little more time to verify what our brains are consuming.

Yesterday I came across a great example of thinking more deeply and critically about our news. Umbra Fisk is a columnist for our friends at Grist, and in her Ask Umbra column, she responds to a question concerning a recent news story highlighting a study stating that compact fluorescent bulbs "release cancer-causing chemicals."

Here are some examples of the cool critical thinking Umbra does:
  1. She dissects the framing of the title, which includes "contains cancer-causing chemicals." As Umbra notes, lots of products we come into contact with every day contain "cancer-causing chemicals."
  2. The story mentions several chemicals scientists say the bulbs emit when they're on. Umbra notes some of the other products that contain those same chemicals (such as mouthwash, certain plastics, and shoes). As Umbra says, "(Shoes! I would love to see a piece in The Telegraph about how we should stop wearing shoes because scientists discovered they contained a carcinogenic ingredient.)"
  3. She points out that "...buried below the fold -- unseen by skimming web-surfers who have already forwarded the link, I'm afraid -- one finds" statements from other scientists that "further independent studies" are needed to verify and back up the research. So, this is just one study.
  4. She considers the source of the story. As Umbra says, "...I'm not a regular reader of The Telegraph, so I can't speak as to its reputableness, but it's a historically conservative paper that's also currently running stories on how Viagra 'could' make you deaf and about a man who says he had sex with a thousand cars. Food for thought."
Read Umbra's complete response.

We certainly can't expect to conduct in-depth research on every news article we read or skim, but, especially before we pass something on to others and/or add it to our mental arsenal of evidence to support our beliefs, we can ask some basic questions, such as:
  • How accurately does the headline reflect the gist of the story?
  • What's the purpose of the story?
  • How is it framed?
  • Who are the sources for the information in the story and how credible are they?
  • What are the author's biases?
  • Does the story look at the bigger picture, or only provide a snapshot?
  • Does the story make sweeping generalizations or draw broad conclusions from minimal information/data?
  • What relevant information may be missing?
  • How can I find out more, if I want/need to?
Once we bring mindfulness to our news habits, and begin to ask such questions, we'll begin to notice new patterns, framing, and bias in those stories, and gain confidence in our ability to quickly assess the news with a critical, thoughtful eye.

~ Marsha

Image courtesy of Derek Gavey via Creative Commons.

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What Can We Do About Psychopaths?

On my long trip from Maine to Seattle for Green Fest, I read journalist Jon Ronson’s new book, The Psychopath Test, about psychopaths in our society. It was a fascinating, unsettling read by a exceptional writer. That Ronson can take a grisly subject like psychopathy and actually fill it with witty and pleasurable-to-read writing is quite a feat. Ronson is never one to research a subject from afar; for him, a book on psychopaths requires intimate and indepth contact with psychopaths. Which means we readers have an inside view into such minds.

The title of the book comes from a checklist of questions that comprise a psychopath test created by Canadian psychologist Robert Hare. Hare’s study of psychopathy reveals enough consistency that if someone scores high on the test they are likely to be psychopathic, without conscience or the kinds of fears that “normal” people have. They are, he attests, not curable or treatable.

And this creates a thorny problem. If psychopaths are not curable or treatable, and if, as the book reveals, they make up one percent of the general population, 25% of the prison population, and scariest of all, four percent of those at the top of the corporate ladder, we have a big problem. Psychopaths appear normal, but without conscience, with no restraints on causing harm and suffering to others; and, with honed manipulative skills and a penchant for pathological lying, they wreak havoc. When they are in positions of power (as corporate, religious, media, or political leaders), they harm thousands, even millions. A psychopathic criminal who rapes, mutilates, and kills stirs our terror, but their victims are far fewer in number than those skilled, but still psychopathic Wall Street moguls, religious manipulators, government leaders, and media heads.

And because humanity is easily manipulated, swayed, and susceptible to influence (note the Milgram and Stanford Prison experiments and the brown eyes/blue eyes exercise), the potential for harm by psychopathic manipulators is even greater.

So what to do?

It will come as no surprise to readers of our blog that my best suggestion is this: humane education that is dedicated to teaching critical and creative thinking skills and fostering reverence, respect, and responsibility. Only when we have these skills honed, practiced and employable 100% of the time, are we able to discern misleading and manipulative words and behaviors. These skills are hardly foolproof, but they are a good start. When psychopaths mastermind religious, political, media, and economic control, and an easily manipulated populace blindly follows – as we so often do – we should not be surprised by the outcomes. When a generation truly taught to be investigative thinkers, to deeply self-reflect, to understand connections between behaviors and outcomes, to be system-analyzers and system-changers, and to hold fast to their deepest values, which they are taught from the earliest ages to cultivate with conviction, then there is hope that that powerful 4% of conscience-less people will not go unchecked.

I recommend Ronson’s book for a fascinating, albeit disturbing, view into the mind of psychopaths and to hone your own skills in recognizing psychopathy for your sake and the sake of our world. And I recommend the resources and programs at the Institute for Humane Education for training in this field that offers real hope for combating the power of psychopaths in our midst.

Zoe Weil, President, Institute for Humane Education
Author of Most Good, Least Harm, Above All, Be Kind: Raising a Humane Child in Challenging Times, and The Power and Promise of Humane Education
My TEDx talk: "The World Becomes What You Teach"

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Humane Educator's Toolbox: Map of Factory Farm Investigations

Attention to factory farms only continues to grow in the media, from the recent announcement that several groups are suing the FDA to halt the use of certain antibiotics in livestock feed, to animal cruelty charges brought against workers at a Texas cattle farm. With proponents of industrial animal agriculture insisting that what undercover investigations have revealed at their farms and slaughterhouses are isolated and rare incidents, and calling for legislation to make it illegal to document such animal cruelty, Mark Middleton, founder of Animal Visuals, has created a map that documents numerous undercover investigations conducted by animal protection groups that have revealed horrific acts of animal cruelty, including, as Mark says, "animals living in filthy conditions, animals intensively confined for their entire lives, animals mutilated without painkillers, sick and suffering animals left to languish for extended periods, violations of animal welfare and food safety regulations, and egregious criminal acts of animal torture."

The map tracks investigations by state, type of animal(s) involved, and what group led the investigation. There are also links to video and news stories related to the investigations.

Additionally, the map notes which states have tried or are trying to pass "ag-gag" laws, which would make investigations of cruelty and abuse like those featured illegal.

Since food is such an integral part of all our lives, and since an awareness about our skewed relationship with nonhuman animals is growing, tools like this one serve as an important component of a thoughtful, critical exploration of the impact of our food choices, as well as whether practices like the ones exposed in these types of investigations reflect our values regarding how animals should be treated.

~ Marsha

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My Failure to Live By the MOGO Principle on Flight 35

This past weekend I had a long trip ahead of me to Seattle for Green Fest. Although thrilled by the opportunity to speak on the main stage about humane education, I was dreading the travel. In the best case scenario, I would have a 17 hour trip, with three separate flights and a five-hour layover in Boston. Plus I was stuck in a middle seat across the country.

When, about an hour from Portland, Oregon, a flight attendant asked if there were any medical personnel on board, I didn’t think much of it. I’ve been on lots of flights when this question has been asked, and it’s never been a big emergency. This time, however, it was. A man a few seats behind me had had a heart attack. Within minutes, he was laid in the aisle as two doctors tried valiantly to save him with CPR and oxygen. For 25 minutes they worked, shouting things as he flat-lined, contorting themselves in the aisle and standing on seats and armrests to position themselves properly during a choppy flight.

We made an emergency landing in eastern Washington, and the EMTs came on board and dragged the man down the aisle and off the plane on a cloth stretcher, but when I spoke to the doctor who was performing CPR on him (a cardiac anesthesiologist), he said that the man wasn’t going to make it.

And while we were a quiet group of passengers who didn’t interfere, intervene, or get riled up ourselves, we were also strangely unengaged. I talked to the two men on either side of me about what was happening, but as I felt tears ready to stream down my face, I quickly suppressed them. That a man was dying in our midst and the best we could do was sit quietly, was surreal. And even as I felt helpless and horrified, I also felt myself focusing selfishly on the delay in the flight and worried that I wouldn’t make it to Seattle that night. And then I found myself horrified that I could even be thinking about that while a man lay dying.

When I missed my connecting flight – the last to Seattle that night – I did my utmost to ensure that I got in line quickly to get a hotel, and took a seat at the front of the hotel van so that I could get in line quickly for a room at the hotel desk. I had a long weekend of tabling and speaking ahead of me, and I knew I’d be sleep-deprived enough without waiting in a long line for a bed for the night. The New Yorker in me came out in no time. And indeed, I was near the front of the line, and, it turned out, the last to be able to check into that particular hotel. The doctor who had worked to save this man’s life was one of many who would be transferred by the van to another hotel to wait in another line, only to awaken in a few short hours to continue his trip for a conference in Vancouver. I never even thought to let him take my spot. I regret that. I regret my lack of generosity. Oh, I had my big emotional reaction, sobbing the next morning as I thought about this man’s death, but I couldn’t even muster enough gratitude for this doctor’s efforts to give him a room sooner the night before. Granted I, too, had a big day and weekend ahead of me, but really. He had tried to save a man's life, while I sat quietly in my seat following instructions.

So now on my flight back home, I’m doing a bit of soul-searching. I’m thinking of the MOGO principle – to do the most good and the least harm to myself, other people, animals, and the environment – a principle I try to live by. I put myself ahead of everyone else when I disembarked that night; I did not live by a principle I profess to hold dear.


Zoe Weil, President, Institute for Humane Education
Author of Most Good, Least Harm, Above All, Be Kind: Raising a Humane Child in Challenging Times, and The Power and Promise of Humane Education
My TEDx talk: "The World Becomes What You Teach"

Image courtesy of sylvar via Creative Commons.

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Hiking the Junk Paper Trail

This post is by contributing blogger Daniella Svoboda Schmidt, an experienced public school master teacher, a graduate of our M.Ed. program, and a humane educator specializing in engaging others in the positive power of food citizenship through The Thinkatarian Food Club. She currently lives in Germany with her husband and son.

How ubiquitous paper is in our everyday lives, from the daily newspaper, to paper packaging, books, magazines, and the "to do" notepad stuck to the fridge -- not to mention all the paper we use to keep clean.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the typical American uses on average the equivalent of one 100-foot-tall Douglas Fir per year in paper and wood products. It is easy to forget the obvious--that all that paper is more than just paper. How many of us really think of our pad of sticky notes as a part of a former tree, a 100-foot-tall Douglas Fir to be exact?

I find it quite a tragedy to know that the take-out menu for the local pizza joint that gets shoved through the mail slot uninvited was once a carbon-uptaking, photosynthesizing, air-cleaning, ground-stabilizing, soil-enriching, water-cleaning, fruit- or nut-producing (you get the point) living being with its own purpose in the web of life. And now it has the banal task of advertising the pizza deal of the month with free delivery for orders of over $15. And over our lifetimes, each of us uses a small forest of trees for our important and, far too often, mundane paper needs.

Of course, most of us who live in urban areas can easily recycle our paper, and we Americans have made great strides in keeping paper out of our landfills to be reused in new paper products. According to the EPA, Americans now recycle about 60% of their paper. But as always, we cannot rely on recycling and think that it is enough. Reducing our paper usage, and reusing the paper we have used--like using the other side of a sheet of paper to print and copy on--need to be steps that occur before recycling. Recycling is our last resort, and the last step in the "reduce, reuse, recycle" mantra. Some even argue that paper recycling is problematic and that the benefits of recycling paper may not outweigh the environmental costs of sorting, transporting, and processing it into usable paper again.

Now that I have lived outside of the United States (in Japan, and currently, Germany), I have some perspective on how much unsolicited paper (aka Douglas Firs disguised as junk mail) came to my home back in Seattle. From catalogs to the daily credit card offers, to credit score reports, loan offers, surveys, etc., my mailbox was inundated daily. I never realized that this was unusual until I moved abroad. Both in Japan and Germany, I receive a mere two or three pieces of mail...now brace yourself: A WEEK. I find it such a pleasure to go to the mailbox and find it empty, as it most often is. What a refreshing contrast to the overwhelming assortment of oddly sized envelopes and slippery magazines spilling out when I opened the mailbox each day back in the U.S. And, going through the mail after a long vacation is an experience I care not to revisit! All those beautiful trees for a pile of junk mail that I never wanted in the first place.

Two years ago, I contemplated a useful, non-material, and environmentally friendly gift to give my family back in the States at holiday time. I came across 41pounds.org, a non-profit organization that serves as your advocate for reducing your junk mail by 80-95% for a five year period. My family loved the gift of virtually no junk mail over the next five years, and, forgive me if I go out on a limb here, but I believe the Douglas Firs are pretty pleased with my gift as well.

If you'd like some additional ideas for stopping junk mail and thereby reducing your paper consumption Adam Bjerk has a post with some useful suggestions. How wonderful it would be if each of us got just the mail that we really needed!

When making small changes in my daily life to be kinder to the planet, like reducing my paper consumption, it helps for me to focus on a poignant fact or a visualization that reminds me of how important what I am doing is, though it may seem like a small contribution to conservation at that moment. From now on, when I'm taking that extra effort to politely refuse some unneeded paper napkins or reusing my paper bags for the umpteenth time before I recycle them, I will picture in my mind a regal Douglas Fir standing proudly in a forest and know that I am doing my part to save it from other far less noble reincarnations.

Image courtesy of Wunderboy via Creative Commons.

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Why We Need Humane Education: May 21 and the Failed Rapture

Six p.m. came and went and no rapture on May 21. It seemed that almost everyone I talked to that weekend knew about Reverend Camping’s prediction. And most of us laughed it off. After months of media attention, billboards, emails, tweets, discussions on Facebook, and more, we could be snarky about such a silly prediction. And so the jokes ensued. My husband joked that I'd better not be on a plane that day in case the pilots were raptured in flight. I made my own jokes the morning of May 22 to our staff at the Institute for Humane Education, and we agreed that with no rapture forthcoming, we’d have to keep working on fixing the world.

But the more I think about this whole hoopla, the more unsettled by it I feel. Camping preyed on people’s gullibility and vulnerability. And those who believed and spread his message did likewise. And the media gave this silliness attention, so we all knew about it. Who knows how many people gave up their jobs, spent their life savings, and changed their lives in anticipation of rapture, only to have rent to pay and food to buy and lives to continue? It’s easy to think that it serves them right for being so foolish, but this is who we are as humans -- easily manipulatable and eager followers (as the Milgram and Stanford prison experiments and the brown eyes/blue eyes exercise reveal).

Once again, there is a solution to this sort of thing: humane education. We must educate youth to use their minds, their reason, their critical thinking capacities, and their ability to research, investigate, inquire and learn. Only when we are able to think clearly and rationally can we hope to keep at bay the brainwashing, influences, and manipulations that come our way constantly: through media, advertising, religious crusaders, and politicians who prey on our emotions and create a fervor of (pick one or more): fear, rage, and/or greed, while simultaneously fostering self-aggrandizement and overconfidence in what has been fed to us as “truth.” Fear-mongering and hatred and the instigation of rage come from both left and right. We are preyed upon as much by the purveyors of beauty products endlessly generating self-doubt as we are by pundits on opinion shows encouraging us to hate others and to feel empowered when we follow their true path, and equally by religious zealots telling us what to believe, as Camping did.

Before we scoff at Camping’s "silly followers," let’s remember how susceptible we all are to influencers and manipulators (even when we think we are not). And let’s commit to educating the next generation to have the skills they desperately need (and which the world desperately needs) to think well and clearly for a healthy world for all.


Zoe Weil, President, Institute for Humane Education
Author of Most Good, Least Harm, Above All, Be Kind: Raising a Humane Child in Challenging Times, and The Power and Promise of Humane Education
My TEDx talk: "The World Becomes What You Teach"

Image courtesy of Analogick via Creative Commons.

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Paul Gorski: 10 Commitments of a Multicultural Educator

We're big fans of our friend, Paul Gorski, Asst. Professor of Integrative Studies at George Mason University and founder of EdChange, and his work in social justice education, so I was excited to read a recent guest post he did for the Canadian Federation of Humanities and Social Sciences about multicultural education. Here are a couple excerpts:
So when I consider the future of multicultural education, my fear is hastened less by resistance from naysayers than by misdirection by multiculturalists. My worst fear is that a vast majority of the initiatives, practices, and policies enacted in the name of diversity or multiculturalism appear, at closer look, to resemble, at best, cultural fluffery and, at worst, cultural imperialism.

I’ve traveled around the world studying this phenomenon: a “multiculturalism” which has been whittled down so far that its equity and social justice roots no longer are evident in practice. Particularly in the colonized lands of the Americas, multiculturalism seems to be heavy, and getting heavier, on Taco Nights, intercultural dialogues, and multicultural festivals, and light, and getting lighter, on economic justice, racial equity, anti-sexism, and queer rights. And to whose benefit? Who or what are we protecting?
Paul goes on to outline "10 commitments of a multicultural educator":
  1. I commit to working at intersections.
  2. I commit to understanding the "sociopolitical context" of schooling.
  3. I commit to refusing the master's paradigms.
  4. I commit to never reducing multiculturalism to cultural activities or celebrations.
  5. I commit to never confusing multiculturalism with universal validation.
  6. I commit to resisting simple solutions to complex problems.
  7. I commit to being informed.
  8. I commit to working with and in service to disenfranchised communities.
  9. I commit to rejecting deficit ideology.
  10. I commit to putting justice ahead of peace.

Read the complete post.

When I had my multicultural education class in 1990 during my teacher training, there was no exploration of social justice, equity, and diversity outside of the framework of "honoring" all cultures, avoiding stereotypes, and paying attention to the learning styles of students who came from different countries. We talked about including more "diversity" in the range of literature and people studied, and the various opportunities to celebrate the "culture-of-the-month," but we never dove into an analysis of our curriculum or issues of imperialism and colonialism, or the harm of "cultural fluffery." I'm glad to see an awareness of the need to shift our ways of thinking about and engaging in multicultural education, thanks to revolutionaries like Paul.

~ Marsha

Image courtesy of juliaf.

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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.

What does court ruling mean for our drinking water? (via Alternet) (5/23/11)

Survey shows majority of Americans support gay marriage (via Global Ethics Newsline) (5/23/11)

Chicago prepares for new climate (via NY Times) (5/22/11)

Teacher brings real world issues to classroom (via NY Times) (5/22/11)

"China food choices reshaping world markets" (via Washington Post) (5/22/11)

Parents keep child's gender secret to help relieve societal pressures (via Parentcentral.ca) (5/21/11)

Shoppers increasingly confused, skeptical of green product labels (via LA Times) (5/21/11)

Vancouver works to include "ethno-cultural environmental communities" (via Vancouver Sun) (5/20/11)

Learning experiment launches in rural Mexico schools (via Education Week) (5/18/11)

Study shows 80% of baby products contain potentially toxic flame retardants (via SF Chronicle) (5/17/11)

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

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Searching for Solutionaries at Green Festival Seattle

IHE's president and co-founder, Zoe Weil, and Marsha Rakestraw, Director of Online Communications and Education Resources both traveled to the Green Festival in Seattle last weekend. Zoe was a speaker on the main stage, and both spent a lot of time at IHE's booth engaging with people about the power of humane education to create a just, compassionate world. Marsha took a few pics from the weekend.


IHE M.Ed. graduate and eco-lifestyle coach, Gina Diamond, was one of our enthusiastic volunteers, spreading the good word about IHE and humane education.







Zoe, Marsha and our volunteers talked to hundreds of people throughout the festival, from teachers and parents to concerned citizens and activists. We're so grateful to our students and graduates who took time to staff our booth and support IHE.

Thanks to Carolin Behrend, Gina Diamond, Nadia Erdolen and her partner, Bob, and Samantha Sherman.


Zoe spoke at 4 pm on the main stage, in front of an enthusiastic crowd, about the power of education to change the world, and how each of us can become solutionaries and educators.















During her presentation, Zoe talked about how omni-present marketing and advertising are in our lives, and the plethora of "stuff" that gets in our heads without our consent. The audience was able to name all these brands, just from their first letters.





Zoe emphasized in her talk that we can all be solutionaries and educators through whatever careers or venues we choose, from teachers, artists and journalists, to health care providers, engineers, and entrepreneurs.








Zoe and Marsha were able to listen to Ohio Congressional Representative Dennis Kucinich, who spoke to a full house about the importance of reconnecting with and restoring our relationship with the natural world and taking responsibility for becoming changemakers.











The Green Festival also featured hundreds of exhibitors. Local volunteers from the Seattle area staffed a booth for the Humane Society of the U.S. to collect signatures for ballot initiative 1130, which would phase out the use of battery cages in Washington state.





We don't know what organization or business this giant polar bear was with, but she was a popular attraction, especially with the kids.









In addition to dozens of non-profit and community groups, Green Fest Seattle included a variety of businesses working to bring green products and services to people who want them, such as these paper products made from, yup, elephant dung.





That's all the Green Festivals for this spring, but there are more scheduled for this fall in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. We'll keep you posted about where we'll be.

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Gratitude in the Midst of Catastrophe

I received the spring issue of Thirty Thousand Days, the journal of the ToDo Institute, and found tears streaming down my face as I read the post-earthquake/post-tsunami reflections of Yuka Saionji, friend of the ToDo directors, who lives in Japan. I wanted to share some of those reflections with readers of our blog. Enjoy and pass along:

“Last night when I was walking home (since all traffic had stopped), I saw an old lady at a bakery shop. It was totally past their closing time, but she was giving out free bread. Even at times like this, people were trying to find what they can do, and it made my heart warm.”

“In the supermarket, where items of all the shelves fell, people were picking up things so neatly together, and then quietly stood in line to buy food. Instead of creating panic and buying as much as needed, they bought as little as they needed. I was proud to be Japanese.”

“When I was walking home, for 4 hours, there was a lady holding a sign that said, ‘Please use our toilet.’ They were opening their house for people to go to the restroom. It was hard not to tear up when I saw the warmth of people.”

“An old man at the evacuation shelter said, ‘What’s going to happen now?’ And then a young high school boy sitting next to him said, ‘Don’t worry! When we grow up, we will promise to fix it back!’ While saying this, he was rubbing the old man’s back. And when I was listening to that conversation, I felt hope. There is a bright future on the other side of this crisis.”

“At Disneyland, they were giving out candies. High school girls were taking so many I was thinking, ‘What???’ But then the next minute, they ran to the children in the evacuation place and handed it to them. That was a sweet gesture.”

“In Korea, a Japanese man got a cab ride and when it was time to pay, the driver refused and said: ‘You are Japanese, yes?’ Yes. ‘When you go back to Japan, please donate the fee.’ Beyond nationality or politics, we are all the same.”

In gratitude,

Zoe Weil, President, Institute for Humane Education
Author of Most Good, Least Harm, Above All, Be Kind: Raising a Humane Child in Challenging Times, and The Power and Promise of Humane Education
My TEDx talk: "The World Becomes What You Teach"

Image courtesy of cheerytomato via Creative Commons.

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7 Resources for Integrating Math and Humane Education

"I thought math was just a subject they implanted on us just because they felt like it, but now I realize that you could use math to defend your rights and realize the injustices around you.… [N]ow I think math is truly necessary and, I have to admit it, kinda cool. It's sort of like a pass you could use to try to make the world a better place."
~ Freida, ninth grade, Chicago Public Schools


“Why do I have to learn this?” A question many teachers dread, but probably no subject attracts that query more often than mathematics. Most school math textbooks try to interest students in math with probabilities, percentages and story problems involving pizza or shopping discounts or other consumerist and pop culture connections. What many students claim – and more teachers are realizing – is that the way math is taught today is fundamentally disconnected from and irrelevant to students’ lives. Fortunately, there’s a growing movement of social justice or humane mathematics education, which offers, as teacher Kurt Schmidt puts it, “mathematics teaching and learning that strives to help students to make good sense of and make positive change in their world.” Here are 7 resources to help educators interested in integrating humane education issues and mathematics.

  1. A Guide for Integrating Issues of Social and Economic Justice into Mathematics Curriculum (pdf) by Jonathan Osler (2007)
    From the founder of Radical Math, an overview of “social justice math” that includes benefits, pitfalls, examples, responses to critics, and suggested resources.

  2. Mathematics for a Broken, Beautiful World (pdf) by Kurt Schmidt (2011)
    Teacher and IHE M.Ed. student, Kurt Schmidt, has created a math-based project for his master’s thesis. The project strives to clarify how and why mathematics really matters in the lives of students and includes an original curricular resource package for mathematics educators who are working at late secondary and early post-secondary levels. The resource package includes three flexible teaching modules designed to facilitate educators’ re-connection of math with contemporary issues of global concern. (The resource package begins on page 32 of the pdf file.)

  3. Maththatmatters: A Teacher Resource Linking Math and Social Justice by David Stocker (2007)
    Stocker’s book offers an overview of why mathematics must be made relevant to students and provides 50 sample lesson plans that explore the connections between math and social justice.

  4. Radical Math
    Want to integrate social justice and humane issues into your math classes? This website offers hundreds of lesson plans, articles, charts, books, websites and other resources searchable by subject, math topic or resource type.

  5. Reading & Writing the World with Mathematics: Toward a Pedagogy for Social Justice by Eric Gutstein (2006)
    Gutstein, who is considered something of an expert in integrating math and social justice, offers a theoretical framework, with practical examples, for helping students connect math to the real world and understand its use in contributing to positive social change.

  6. Rethinking Mathematics: Teaching Social Justice by the Numbers by Eric Gutstein and Bob Peterson (2005)
    Another great book from Rethinking schools that offers more than 30 articles showing teachers how to integrate math-related social justice principles & issues into mathematics and other classes. Topics addressed include war, environmental racism, poverty, wealth distribution, slavery, and labor.

  7. Teaching Tolerance – Math and Technology
    Teaching Tolerance is a bastion of educational materials and ideas useful in integrating the social justice lens into your lessons involving mathematics.

There are also children’s books which explore important humane concepts. Two examples are The Rabbit Problem by Emily Gravett, which explores a puzzle by Fibonacci (as well as overpopulation) and It’s Raining Cats—and Cats! by Jeanne Prevost, which explores cat overpopulation.

And, our own downloadable activities include opportunities to explore humane education in a math context. One specific example is Too Much of a Good Thing, which uses Algebra to look at pet overpopulation.

~ Marsha

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Lightening Up and Letting Go: Learning From Fighting Dogs

Yesterday afternoon, two of our dogs, Ruby and Elsie, got into a fight. They’ve been fighting periodically over the past 5 months, and each fight has gotten worse. I had thought that their last fight, well over a month ago, was the final battle, and that they’d worked things out. Basically, Elsie, now an adolescent, has begun to irritate Ruby, soon to turn 8. When we first adopted Elsie, who was around 6 months old, she was like a fountain of youth for Ruby. The two played and played, and we were delighted that Ruby had a best friend, sister, and playmate.

But this year, Elsie’s been pestering Ruby, sidling up next to her, on her tail, challenging her status as queen bee in our household, and Ruby has been voicing her displeasure by growling. Elsie doesn’t take the hint, and Ruby has attacked her half a dozen times. The first couple of times Elsie barely fought back, but yesterday, she fought back hard. Usually, I let them work it out and no one is hurt; but this time, they wouldn’t stop. I tried everything I could think of: yelling at them, tossing a sheet over them, throwing their stainless steel dog bowls, and finally getting a broom. The broom worked. I got them apart. We were all shaken.

And when this happened, my husband and I were soon to hit the road to drive to Massachusetts to watch our son’s breakdancing performance at school, and I didn’t want to leave our housesitter to handle any fallout from the fight. So I called the motel where we’d be staying and asked about bringing Elsie. They said yes.

Elsie traveled for six hours, four hours longer than the longest road trip she’d ever been on with us, arriving at a strange motel room to spend the night. She seemed a bit anxious, but she cozied up in the bed and fell asleep. In the morning we went to the school to watch the performance and stopped to take Elsie for a brief walk in the rain. A carpet of pink flower petals lay on the ground and Elsie lay among them, a beautiful sight. A balm after the storm that had precipitated her joining us.

A couple of hours later we were back on the road home. Elsie was a good traveler, confused though she must have been. When she and Ruby saw each other upon our return they were wary. Elsie slinked into the house, obviously worried. But then they ran outside – where they are always best friends – before coming back in and slipping into their uncertain patterns in the house. Ruby growling quietly; Elsie refusing to back off.

I hope there won’t be any more big fights. I hope that Elsie will stop challenging Ruby’s status in our household, or if she simply must be the alpha, that Ruby will let go as she ages. I hope that Elsie will learn not to be such a pest around Ruby, and that Ruby will just lighten up.

As I write these words, I find them familiar. I see the ways I, too, can be a pest in my family (like Elsie), and the ways I, too, can be inflexible around my likes and dislikes (like Ruby). I see the ways in which as much as we love one another, we, too, can fight (although we do so with words, not teeth). I see the ways in which we each seek control in different forms and styles and the ways in which lightening up would be just the solution to many a conflict.

Maybe if I work on my own behavior, Ruby and Elsie will miraculously solve their behavioral challenges, too.

Zoe Weil, President, Institute for Humane Education
Author of Most Good, Least Harm, Above All, Be Kind: Raising a Humane Child in Challenging Times, and The Power and Promise of Humane Education
My TEDx talk: "The World Becomes What You Teach"

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Meet Our New Online Course Faculty

With the launch of our 5 new graduate programs in humane education, our fabulous Director of Education, Mary Pat Champeau, has her hands full. We have three terrific new instructors to teach our online courses, and we'd like you to meet them.


Marsha Rakestraw is the course faculty for Teaching for a Positive Future (next session starts July 15). She is IHE's Director of Online Communications and Education Resources and comes from a family of teachers. She has taught at the PreK-graduate levels and her experience includes teaching high school language arts, working as a school media specialist and more than a decade as a children's/young adult librarian. She has taught several sessions of IHE's online course, A Better World, A Meaningful Life, and she also regularly leads humane education workshops. Marsha has a BFA in Dance, a BA in English, and an MLS from Emporia State University. She received her certificate in Humane Education from IHE in 2005 and has been on IHE's staff since 2007. Marsha lives in a co-housing community in Portland, Oregon, with her husband, schizophrenic cat and all-weather, all-terrain puppy. Find out more about Marsha.


Kerri Twigg is the course faculty for Raising a Humane Child (next session starts September 21). She has an M.Ed. in Humane Education from the Institute for Humane Education. She has more than 12 years experience in arts education and has taught in schools, museums, theatres, galleries, hospitals, gardens, and even a boat house. Her specialty is using creative drama and the key elements of humane education to create engaging, relevant, fun and inspiring educational experiences. She has two daughters, three rescued cats, one adopted dog, and a pretty great husband. Find out more about Kerri.


Lynne Westmoreland is the course faculty for A Better World, A Meaningful Life (next session starts September 2). She holds Bachelor of Music and Master of Arts degrees in piano performance and a Master of Education in Humane Education. Lynne has been a pianist, accompanist, and piano and music instructor for 30 years. After exploring many paths as an encore career, she met Zoe Weil at a festival and immediately knew that humane education was exactly what she had been looking for. Lynne lives in the Finger Lakes area of New York with her partner, Linda, and 3 dogs, 3 cats, and 2 horses. Find out more about Lynne.


We're so excited about what these IHE-trained instructors will bring to our online courses, so we encourage you to sign up now for one of our upcoming sessions, which offer powerful, transformative learning for educators, activists and concerned citizens passionate about aligning their actions with their deepest values and becoming more effective leaders in creating a just, compassionate, healthy world for all.


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Why We Need Humane Education: The Business of Brainwashing Students

Last week the blogosphere and some mainstream media were abuzz with the story that education resource power-player Scholastic was being inundated with calls to revoke "The United States of Energy," a curriculum for 4th graders that it had created at the request of, and funded by, the American Coal Foundation. The curriculum was mailed to tens of thousands of teachers, and more than 80,000 teachers were sent a link to the curriculum. What’s of concern with the curriculum? On the surface, it seems to explore different types of energy. But, as Bill Bigelow wrote in a recent blog post about the curriculum:

“Sure enough, the lessons are full of “advantages,” but there is not the slightest hint—none—that coal might have any problems. Nothing about the mountains being scraped away throughout Appalachia, or the resulting flooding that has destroyed people’s homes, or how communities’ water supplies have been poisoned. Nothing about the busting of unions or the exploitation of nonunion miners. Nothing about the billions of gallons of toxic waste created by washing coal and, of course, by burning it. Nothing about the poisonous coal dust that blows off trains and barges as the coal travels from mine to coal-fired plant. Nothing about the toxins released when coal is burned—like sulfur dioxide, mercury, and arsenic—which kill many thousands of people a year, according to the American Lung Association.”


And this is no exception. As IHE President, Zoe Weil, says, “Corporations are literally taking over classrooms.” From curriculum created by industry and special interest groups, to fast food (and posters about junk food) in the cafeterias, to Channel One, to ads on buses, lockers and textbooks, to corporate-sponsored special contests and incentives, students are hard-pressed to find any aspect of their schooling that isn’t tagged or touched by industries trying to subtly (or not so subtly) influence their choices, beliefs, and buying habits.

Helping students think critically about these important issues, inspiring them to find creative solutions, and teaching them to identify and analyze bias, hidden messages, marketing, and other techniques designed to sway them are essential aspects of humane education.

As Zoe says, “Without the ability to think critically, to learn honest environmental or humane lessons, or to be free from a constant barrage of product ‘need-creation,’ young people will not be able to make informed, compassionate, sustainable, or humane choices. They, like all of us, will simply be too brainwashed to consider any alternative ideas -- if those ideas are even available to them.”

To help your students get started in thinking critically about advertising, industry, and other influencers, check out our free activities such as Analyzing Advertising, Be a C.R.I.T.I.C., Not So Fair and Balanced, and We Have You Surrounded.

~ Marsha

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What It Will Take to Change the World

Many years ago, when I was stuck in traffic, a cyclist zoomed by me. I’d just added a new bumper sticker to my car that read, “Earth’s best friend is vegetarian.” I thought it was rather witty, with its graphic of the Earth in the shape of an apple, and I personally considered myself far ahead of the proverbial curve, because I was promoting my personal animal protection goal to a wider audience of environmentalists. I even felt a wee bit smug about just how well I could make connections between issues and teach others about what I knew and they didn’t.

As the cyclist sped by, he yelled into my open window, “Earth’s best friend is a bike rider!” He wasn’t very friendly when he shared this. And he disappeared so quickly, without my having the opportunity to educate him about soil erosion, water pollution, depleted aquifers, greenhouse gases, fuel consumption – all caused in large part by animal agribusiness. How little he knew, and how much I had to teach him! Alas, he was gone before I could offer enlightenment (or defend my need for a car).

That bumper sticker is long gone. I realized it didn’t quite work. The sticker was smug, even self-righteous. It promoted a single act – vegetarianism – as best for the planet. Not that vegetarianism, veganism, or eating locally grown foods aren’t extremely helpful choices, but telling others what is the best choice is long gone from my activist/educator repertoire.

What the world – human and nonhuman animals and the Earth itself – urgently needs are activists and citizens who balance committed, confident energy with humility, and passionate, creative effort with wisdom. Our world is desperate for those who are willing to uncover every stone in an endeavor to understand the connections between all forms of oppression and destruction, who are eager to see problems from multiple angles, who want to work together listening and learning from each other, who steadfastly refuse to accept or promote simplistic answers to complex problems, and who diligently strive for visionary solutions that help everyone.

Slowly but surely, such people are surfacing. They are like the baseball players emerging out of Ray Kinsella’s corn field in the movie, Field of Dreams, coming because they are compelled to leave something behind that doesn’t work for a better vision that will, forming a new team neither they nor anyone else set out to create, one that doesn’t confine them to playing a specific position in a predetermined game organized by others who call the shots.

Some of these emerging players are young adults disillusioned by the polemics of organizations, institutions, and the media that focus on either/or solutions to multifaceted issues. Some are teachers scared for the next generation and despondent when misguided laws like the U.S. No Child Left Behind Act fail so dismally to live up to their own visionary titles. Some are CEOs of multinationals or politicians who realize what the future holds if they do not step up to the plate as true leaders. Some come when they suddenly see and are horrified that we’re losing our democracies to corporatocracies. Others appear when they discover they can’t afford, or even obtain, local, organic foods to feed to their families.

When they arrive some, like architect William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart, authors of the book, Cradle to Cradle, construct buildings and products that aren’t simply less bad, better at fuel efficiency, or more eco-friendly, but which are actually ecologically regenerative and restorative. Some, like Wangari Maathai, plant trees that blossom not only into restored and sustainable ecosystems, but also into democracy and empowered women. Some start community gardens to feed themselves and their neighbors, rich and poor. Some become stealth adbusters, using marketing tools to expose underlying systems of manipulation that have become the norm on Madison Avenue.

These people are engineers and scientists, nurses and electricians, parents and shop owners, artists and accountants, priests and rabbis. They are independent thinkers who see interdependency as part and parcel of the creation of a better world. They may work on separate pieces of the complicated puzzle, but they never forget how their piece is linked to the whole.

It is these people and the hundreds of connections they make, the ways in which they learn from and teach one another, and the revolution they are launching that is the real hope for the world. They are flocking to festivals, conferences, and workshops that link human rights to environmental preservation to animal protection to religion to business to democracy to the media to politics. They are bringing these interconnected issues to rotary clubs and boardrooms, villages and parliaments. It is these people and the ideas they generate that are producing brilliant, cutting edge solutions grounded in root causes and linked to broad, positive effects.

Perhaps you are part of this growing revolution. Perhaps you’ll bring your voice to the hugely diverse, but harmonic chorus that is echoing everywhere. Perhaps you’ll bring your passions and skills to bear on the enormous, but glorious work that is ahead of us. I hope so. As for me, I wish I could go back in time and smile at the cyclist who road by me and say, “Yes, please share with me what you know! Together let’s protect this beautiful Earth and all its inhabitants. I promise I’ll stop being so smug.” If you’re reading this, long ago cyclist, email me and let’s do what it takes to change the world before it’s too late.

Zoe Weil, President, Institute for Humane Education
Author of Most Good, Least Harm, Above All, Be Kind: Raising a Humane Child in Challenging Times, and The Power and Promise of Humane Education
My TEDx talk: "The World Becomes What You Teach"

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On Our Must Read List: Tomatoland

We haven't read it yet, so we can't recommend it, but Tomatoland by Barry Estabrook is definitely on our must-read list. Based on his 2009 article highlighting the connection between this favored fruit and modern slavery, Estabrook's book "tells us why the modern factory-farmed tomato in most grocery stores is a poster child for nearly everything that is wrong with industrial agriculture," according to a great review by Civil Eats blogger Kurt Michael Friese. Here's an excerpt of Friese's review:
Our enormous appetite for having pretty much any food available to us at anytime of year has led to a system where yes, you can have a tomato in February, but the cost is a lot more than the $1.25/lb you’re likely to pay at your local Wal-Mart. It comes at the cost of enormous environmental damage and shocking worker abuse. It utilizes thousands of migrant workers, some of whom are undocumented, and many of whom live and work in literal slave conditions. And since the muggy lowlands of Florida are not native habitat, a tomato plant there can fall victim to as many as 27 separate insect species and 29 different diseases, necessitating a plethora of chemicals that are as hard on the workers and the land as they are on the pests. Then there’s the 31 different fungicides in use. The list goes on.
Read the complete review.

Exploring the impacts of our food is a great way to use the lens of humane education to integrate high-level skills, such as critical thinking and synthesis, using a variety of subjects (math, economics, environmental science, language arts, social studies, etc.). If you're interested in using food as a springboard in your classroom, check out our activities such as True Price and How'd That Get on My Plate? for ideas.

~ 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.

UK sets "legally-binding" pledge to cut emissions 50% by 2025 (via Treehugger) (5/17/11)

UK store engages in "retail activism" to help protect oceans (and sell stuff) (via Treehugger) (5/16/11)

Sea lions to be killed for eating fish (via Treehugger) (5/15/11)

School to offer service learning diplomas (via News-Record.com) (5/15/11)

Produce industry wants USDA to add "context" to its annual report on produce pesticide residues (via Washington Post) (5/15/11)

New map shows "fraccidents" from hydraulic fracturing across U.S. (via Treehugger) (5/13/11)

Study links "fracking" to flammable water (via Planetsave) (5/12/11)

New report calls for "strong national policy" to reduce greenhouse gases (via NY Times) (5/12/11)

New study shows 48 women raped every hour in Congo (via The Guardian) (5/12/11)

An ever-noisier ocean causing problems for sea animals (via Seattle Times) (5/12/11)

New study: 1/3 of world's food wasted (via NY Times) (5/12/11)

Scholastic creates curriculum for American Coal Foundation (via Treehugger) (5/12/11)

"Preventing cruelty on the farm" (opinions) (via NY Times) (5/11/11)

"Green is the new red: the crackdown on environmental activists" (via Mother Jones) (5/11/11)

Presbyterian Church to allow openly gay/lesbian clergy (via Huffington Post) (5/10/11)

How much are Americans working to pay for their cars? (via Treehugger) (5/9/11)
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Little Things Mean a Lot: Finding Small Opportunities to Do Good

In our online courses, we talk about the importance of modeling our message and of finding ways to volunteer our time for the greater good. Volunteering can be a challenging topic for some of our students. “I’m already overwhelmed with everything in my life,” they say. “I want to volunteer, but I don’t see how I can squeeze it in.” The struggle of finding ways to be of service was a recurring and passionate conversation in one of our recent online courses. Participants felt guilt about “not doing enough” for others. How could they model a message of kindness and service while staying on top of the seemingly thousands of to-dos crowding their daily lives? Mary Pat Champeau, our Director of Education and instructor for that course, had some great advice:
In my experience, just being aware of opportunities and the desire to pitch in can lead to possibilities that might be sporadic and/or unusual but help contribute to a feeling of "service" in a household. I also think we might expand our definition (within ourselves) of what volunteerism IS and can be in today's world, and use things we already do (make an extra pot of soup for a friend, weed an extra garden for an elderly neighbor, buy an extra pair of mittens for someone else's child) to help children see how their every day actions can include a little dose of generosity!

One participant recounted a terrific example of finding small opportunities to do good while unknowingly modeling her message of compassionate action. On her way driving home from work during very snowy conditions, she stopped to give a teacher a ride to the train station – a bit out of the way, but not a big inconvenience and helpful to the teacher. After she dropped off the teacher, her son said:

“That was nice.”

I said, “What was nice?”

His response: “What you just did. That was nice.”

You think they’re not listening or noticing, but they are. Our actions DO speak louder than words.

If you don't have time in your life right now for bigger volunteer opportunities, then look for the little things you can do for those around you.

Do you have stories/ideas of your own small opportunities for doing good and modeling your message? Please post them in the comments; we'd love to hear them!

~ Marsha

Image courtesy of troja.

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Creating a Culture of Empathy With Humane Education: An Interview With Zoe Weil

For my blog post today, I wanted to share an interview I did with the Culture of Empathy Project, talking about empathy, compassion, and humane education.




For a humane world,

Zoe Weil, President, Institute for Humane Education
Author of Most Good, Least Harm, Above All, Be Kind, and The Power and Promise of Humane Education
My TEDx talk: “The World Becomes What You Teach"

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Journal of Animal Ethics Debuts

As those of us in the humane education and citizen activism fields know, there's no abundance of academic and professional information available. That's why we're excited to learn about the new Journal of Animal Ethics. The first journal of its kind in the world, the JAE is dedicated to both theoretical and applied explorations of progressive thought and practices regarding animal ethics. A joint project of the University of Illinois Press and the Ferrater Mora Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, the multidisciplinary, internationally-focused journal includes full-length scholarly articles, "argument" pieces "in which authors will advance a particular perspective," research reports, and reviews.

Topics covered in the inaugural issue include:
  • Can commercial seal hunts be morally justified in the 21st century?
  • An exploration of the paradox of our view of "pets" vs. "meat"
  • Can animals and humans be friends?
  • The use of animals in embryonic stem cell research
The journal is currently calling for papers on relevant topics and invites readers and contributors from both the academic and activist realms.

Find out more.

~ Marsha

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Claude and Medea Now Available on Kindle

I don't know if all authors have a favorite among their books, but I do. It's Claude and Medea: The Hellburn Dogs, which follows the exploits of its 7th grade protagonists, as they become clandestine activists in my hometown of New York City. Claude and Medea solve the mystery of a rash of Manhattan dog thefts and rescue the dogs from an evil vivisector. It was quite fun to write, and the feedback I’ve gotten from kids who’ve read it has been wonderful. A few have told me that it’s their very favorite book. Then the book won the Moonbeam gold medal for juvenile fiction, which was quite an honor.

I’ve just been informed that the book is now available on Kindle, and I wanted to spread the word. Please let others who might be interested in this book know.

Happy reading,


Zoe Weil, President, Institute for Humane Education
Author of Most Good, Least Harm, Above All, Be Kind, and The Power and Promise of Humane Education
My TEDx talk: "The World Becomes What You Teach"

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Humane Educator's Toolbox: New Sample Master's Theses from IHE Students

All our Master's students have to complete a thesis project in order to graduate. The thesis represents not only the culmination of the student’s studies, but also a creative contribution to the field of humane education. The topic must be professionally and socially relevant, challenging, and appropriate for the student’s vision. In the project the student demonstrates the ability to integrate theory, research skills, academic course work, and professional experience and goals.

We post samples of our students' theses and other works on our website, and we recently added a few new ones. Enjoy!

Teaching for Transformation: A Handbook for Adult Educators

by Sherry Gilkin

This project offers an understanding of how adults learn best and information on ways that education can lead to transformation. It uses scholarly and scientific research to develop a handbook to help educators of adult audiences teach effectively and promote positive personal and social change. It can be utilized by persons entering the field of adult education, as well as current educators seeking to enhance their practice. (The handbook begins on page 31 of the pdf file.)

Humane Education and the Bible: Understanding What the Bible Teaches About Animals, the Environment, and Us

by Garth Knox

Can we reconcile the teachings of the Bible with the values of humane education? The author believes that the teachings in the Bible are aligned with the principles of humane education, and that the scriptures are often misunderstood and/or taken out of context. The author's research has been distilled into a handbook for educators of teens and adults and presented in a way that is fresh, hip, and challenging. (The handbook begins on page 52 of the pdf file.)

Mathematics for a Broken, Beautiful World: A Modular Resource Package for Late Secondary and Early Post-Secondary Math Educators

by Kurt Schmidt

This project is an attempt to clarify how and why mathematics really matters in the lives of students. It begins with a framing of the typical disconnection between students’ lives and modern-day school mathematics. It includes an original curricular resource package for mathematics educators who are working at late secondary and early post-secondary levels. This resource package includes materials that have been organized into flexible teaching modules and that are designed to facilitate educators’ (re-)connection of math with contemporary issues of global concern. (The resource package begins on page 32 of the pdf file.)

Traveling with a Broken Compass: Compassion as Our North Star

by Lynne Westmoreland

This project is the basis of a book that will be titled Traveling with a Broken Compass: Compassion as our North Star. The purpose of the book is to help people, especially other humane educators, move out of the apathy and/or despair often associated with long-term activism work involving environmental ethics, animal protection, and human rights concerns. The book will explore some of the ways that ordinary people can claim their power to create positive attitudes, outcomes, and new visions for the peaceful, compassionate, just, and sustainable world that is our future. (The book excerpts begin on page 31 of the pdf file.)

~ Marsha

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