The Importance of Humane Education in 2 Minutes

I was recently asked by a potential funder to give my best 2-minute statement for why someone should support the work of the Institute for Humane Education (IHE).

I really need 10 minutes, and even then I’m not doing justice to the complexity of global issues that humane education helps to solve; the many ways in which IHE prepares people to be humane educators, provides humane education, and promotes the field itself; or the profound impact humane education has on people of all ages who learn about the grave challenges of our time and become solutionaries for a better world. I have hundreds of testimonials from people of all ages who’ve said that IHE has changed their lives for the better and enabled them to become changemakers. But if you need to raise money to do good work, you have to be able to tell busy people why they should support you, and you have to be able to do it succinctly, often in just two minutes.

I feel like my best effort at explaining the power and promise of humane education came in my TEDx talk, The World Becomes What You Teach, and judging by the response it has gotten, others agree; but when I only have 2 minutes, it’s too long.

So here’s my pared-down, 2-minute pitch for supporting humane education and our work at IHE:

Why is humane education important?

1.    The world needs it: We face grave and escalating challenges. Our planet is warming, our population is growing, our resources are dwindling, and half of all species are threatened with extinction by century’s end. Given these and other global problems, humane education is paramount so that we graduate a generation with the knowledge, tools, and motivation to address growing threats and to create just, healthy, and restorative systems.

2.    Schools need it: Schools that incorporate humane education into their mission and curricula prepare students to solve problems rather than perpetuate them. Humane education enables schools to graduate solutionaries who are able to use the foundational tools of literacy, numeracy, and critical and creative thinking as engaged citizens and problem-solvers.

3.    Students need it: Students deserve an education that is relevant and meaningful to their lives and future. As one 11th grader said after I gave a humane education presentation at her school: “We should have been learning this since Kindergarten!"

Why is the Institute for Humane Education important?

1.    IHE offers the only comprehensive humane education graduate programs in North America. The more people that IHE trains who can bring humane education into every educational setting, the more solutionaries there will be to solve our pressing challenges.

2.    IHE develops and offers award-winning free online resources to people across the globe who use them in classrooms, board rooms, and living rooms, bringing humane education to the world.

3.    IHE changes lives through online courses, workshops, books, and presentations. As David Berman, who took my first week-long humane education course in 1987 when he was 13 years old, said recently: “That course changed my life!” He in turn has changed many other lives.

Humane education is a profoundly effective way to create a better world. I hope you will consider donating to our 15th anniversary “Creating the Future” campaign to help this work spread. Also, I encourage you to experience humane education for yourself by participating in one of our online courses. Or perhaps you’re ready to be a fully-trained humane educator and want to get your master’s degree through our online accredited program. And no matter where you are or what you are doing in the world, please avail yourself of our free activities and bring humane education to your community.

For a humane world,

Zoe

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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Why I Gave Up Horror Novels & Other Gruesome Stuff

Image courtesy of elward-photography
via Creative Commons.
From the time I was young, I was fascinated with the macabre. I checked out all the books on monsters, ghosts, demons, and other scary stuff my library had (the librarian even called my parents to let them know she was concerned about my reading choices) and devoured them with a hunger to learn more.

As a bibliophilic teenager and adult, I moved on to horror novels; Stephen King was one of my favorite authors. I also liked thrillers and would read about serial killers and truly gruesome murders, relatively unfazed, as I was so caught up in the story and the puzzle unfolding inside. I adored dystopian stories on page and screen, fascinated by the dark, hopeless futures predicted there.

The trouble was, I wasn't unfazed. As a child (and as an adult) I had violent nightmares almost nightly. I looked upon the world with a dark lens, simultaneously longing for connection and distrusting and disliking most people. I felt little joy, was quick to anger, and brought judgment to many of my interactions with others. (My husband said that one of the things that initially attracted him to me was my "dark aura." Yikes! Don't worry; we're both better now!)

I'm not sure how, but eventually it occurred to me that ingesting all this negativity and violence probably wasn't that good for me and might be affecting my worldview. But it wasn't until I read an essay in a Buddhist philosophy book that the connection between the kinds of media and messages we surround ourselves with and how we experience ourselves and the world became so clear to me. I realized that all the violence and horror that I was letting into my mind and heart were influencing the way I saw myself, others, and the world, and were hurting my ability to live a joyful, compassionate life.

So I stopped reading horror novels and watching gruesome movies. I stopped watching mainstream news. I stopped reading about serial killers. I stopped surrounding myself with images and messages of violence.

 And I started filling those spaces with reading about living a joyful, mindful life and about characters and real people seeking a kinder, better way of living in the world. And eventually, I started noticing a difference in myself. I was more easily able to tap into joy, to empathize with other people, to feel compassion for those with whom I disagreed.

I'm not saying that reading or watching violence make us more prone to violence (though there are studies that support that view); nor am I saying that all exposure to violence and negativity should be avoided. But when we surround ourselves with violence and negativity, we're going to internalize much of that energy and be influenced by it. When we surround ourselves with positive messages, that, too, is going to have an impact. One great example of this is one of our icebreakers, called Human Picture. Volunteers make two collective human statues that depict positive and negative emotions, in order to help demonstrate that what we feel on the inside is reflected in our actions, so if we want to promote a just, compassionate, joyful world, we must be able to draw from a well of joy, compassion, and justice within us.

As humane educators who are inundated daily with examples of violence, oppression and destruction perpetrated on people, animals, and the earth, we cannot choose to ignore all the horrors that we're working to overcome. But we can make sure that we balance that by filling our lives with messages and experiences that enrich and feed the joy, compassion, and hope in us and by choosing to avoid the media and other messages that don't serve us in our journey to help create a better world for all.

~ Marsha

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Why We Need Humane Education: To Bring Solutionary & Critical Thinking to Our Careers

Here in the U.S., we're taught to consult (and believe) the experts in the field. After all, they've been trained, so they should know the best answers, right? Want to know about the law? Consult a lawyer. Need advice on nutrition? Contact a registered dietitian. But what if those experts have been educated and trained in their fields using a narrow lens and without the encouragement to think critically about what they're learning -- to question and to challenge it? What if they're surrounded by conflicting information and trained to accept the status quo and the information of the "experts" they're exposed to?

Recently, public health lawyer and writer, Michele Simon, reported on her experience at the annual conference of the American Dietetic Association, where around 7,000 registered dietitians converged to learn about the latest and greatest in nutrition. Who might we think would co-sponsor a conference dedicated to healthy eating and living? How about:

"The top-paying sponsors, whom ADA called 'partners,' were Coca-Cola, Aramark, the National Dairy Council, and Hershey (their 'Center for Health and Nutrition' - really). 'Premier sponsors' included PepsiCo, Mars, and General Mills."

Simon says that even worse than the "partners" and the exhibit hall were the "educational sessions," which she asserts should have been "off-limits" from marketing influence. Not so, according to Simon. She mentions panels such as:
  • "Dairy Innovations" by the National Dairy Council
  • "Are Sugars Toxic? What's Wrong with Current Research?" by the National Corn Refiners Association
  • "Snacking and the 2010 Dietary Guidelines" by Frito-Lay
  • "A Fresh Look at Processed Foods" and "How Risky is Our Food? Clarifying the Controversies of Chemical Risks" both by an industry front group
Simon reports that in the panel on chemicals in our food, the "experts," both academic researchers, were "apparently hand-picked by IFIC for their industry-friendly positions." Simon says,

"And indeed, each speaker downplayed any risks of chemicals in food such as pesticides, food dyes, and other additives, while practically making fun of organic production. Jones lamented about organics being too expensive and offered tired arguments about how risks are everywhere, so really, why worry? She also claimed people automatically fear something because it is artificial. But Andy Bellatti, an RD in attendance told me he found this 'rather insulting; she's trying to argue we have no capacity for rational thought. The concern with artificial ingredients is over studies showing harmful effects.'"

Read Michele's complete post.

Of course we don't know the minds of the 7,000 registered dietitians in attendance. But, if this is typical for an ADA conference -- the "experts" in the nutrition field in the U.S. -- then we can imagine that many of the attendees went home with a certain amount of incorrect information and confusing and misleading messages.

This is another example of why humane education is so essential. Imagine if, when they were younger, all these RDs-to-be were taught to seek out accurate and credible information; to think critically; to question and challenge; to make choices aligned with their values; and to become problem-solvers and solutionaries in their field. Imagine how such a conference might have been different if the organizers had been immerse in humane education. Who might the conference "partners" have been? What kinds of educational sessions would have been featured, and who might have been the expert speakers? And, even if faced with a conference just like the one Simon describes, how might attendees who grew up thinking critically and systemically have reacted to being offered education panels by sponsored by the junk food industry?

Imagine in how many other careers new graduates are taught to perpetuate destructive and harmful systems and practices.

Humane education is designed to help all students, regardless of the careers they pursue, to become solutionaries for a better world, so that they can bring the humane education lens to their work and help create systems and solutions that are just and healthy and restorative for all.

~ Marsha

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"Ask For Something & Then Do Something": Young Changemaker Fiona Lowenstein

Fiona Lowenstein was only 12 when she started relentlessly asking for what she wanted in order to create change. She’s heard “no” more times than she can count, but the yeses have been adding up, and Fiona now provides the inspiration and information for other girls to step up, step out, be heard, and make a difference through her website, Barbara’s Angels.

Watch Fiona’s TEDx talk, read her interviews of changemaking women, and then share her talk and website with every girl you know. Watch the talk now:




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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The Possibility of Possibility

This post is by contributing blogger Lynne Westmoreland, long-time music instructor and a humane educator. Lynne is a graduate of our M.Ed. program, and is the instructor for our online course, A Better World, A Meaningful Life, which is designed for people who want to put their vision for a better world & a more joyful, examined life into practice (next session starts November 4).


Image courtesy of zzzack
via Creative Commons.
I awoke this morning with the realization of how much is right with the world. My mind and heart were filled with gratitude for the heron that flew over us yesterday and landed in a tree in our back field. I looked out the window and saw a doe feeding in our front field as I went in to make coffee.  Ah, coffee!! A whole world of gratitude right there in that cup. I was remembering the deep, honest, and vulnerable conversation I had the other night about compassion with members in my reading group. I am anticipating the Occupy Canandaigua witness that our Unitarian Church is hosting here on Saturday. I have a date with my partner tonight to hear poetry by Native Americans at our community college. The house is quiet right now with the three dogs sleeping and the cats not yet demanding their breakfast.

I’ve seen a huge healthy fox and a magnificent coyote in the past week. Sunday is dedicated to an outdoor fundraiser for a spiritual, physical, emotional, and environmental renewal center that is taking shape in the minds of many here in the Finger Lakes.

Too many times I awake thinking of all of the complicated issues of our times. War, poverty, hunger, animal exploitation, slavery, environmental degradation -- you get the picture. I begin my day under the weight of those issues and sometimes even forget to appreciate my amazing partner, or become impatient with our dogs because I perceive them as being in my way, or feel the compassion fatigue set in before I’ve even begun. I still work for justice, peace, animal protection, and environmental responsibility on those days, but my work is informed from a place of despair and cynicism. Not very inspiring to others and certainly not very inspiring to me.

This morning I became fully aware again of how important hope is to doing good work. When we approach our challenges from an open heart, a belief that change is possible, a certainty that good is always more powerful than evil -- and the kind of softness (not weakness) that comes from living with a compassionate view of our most entrenched problems and attitudes -- we are then able to open a space for dialogue, action, introspection, and renewed energy. I once read an article asking what would be different if Martin Luther King, Jr., had titled his most famous speech “I Have a Nightmare.”  The author of the article was examining the difference between framing our vision from a place of fear, despair, and cynicism, versus viewing our future through the lens of possibility, hope, and optimism.

I am not referring to the kind of head-in-the-sand cheerfulness that is so often marketed in our society as the way we should be in a world that has serious problems now, and even more serious consequences if we don’t address them today. I’m talking about approaching our problems from an attitude of  gentle strength, realistic optimism, and the kind of dogged tenacity required to approach each day as the day that a permanent shift will occur. In my sangha (Buddhist community) we always begin with a song (prayer, if you like) that is intended to send loving kindness out to all other beings in the world. Imagine if we began each meditative sitting with a rant against all that is wrong in the world and tried to repair all those wounds from that attitude?  Instead, we prepare our hearts to open and expand, and as the heart opens so does the mind. We are then able to see endless possibility where before we saw only limitations.

Susan Werner reminds us in her song “May I Suggest” that if we “just turn your head and you’ll begin to see the thousand reasons that were just beyond your sight” that it only takes a slight shift in our perspective to create a world of possibility that we were blind to only a moment before.  In our sangha we sing:

May all beings be peaceful,
May all beings be happy,
May all beings be safe,
May all beings awaken to the light of their true nature,
May all beings be free.

May it be so today! 

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8 Children's Books About Families with Same-Sex Parents

Some schools may try to ban or discourage talk about homosexuality or about families with homosexual parents, but that doesn't belie the fact that there's a growing number of children who have parents who are gay. If there's no discussion of the diversity of families and no encouragement of acceptance of people who are different, children who are gay or who have parents who are gay can feel more confused and alone than ever. And, as one young student said, "That's not fair!" Whether you're a teacher who would like to explore this issue in your classroom, or a parent who wants to discuss it at home, there are several helpful resources available. To get the conversation started, we wanted to highlight these 8 picture books about families with same-sex couples:

King and King by Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland. 2004. (32 pgs) Gr. 2-5.
A prince reluctantly agrees to marry, but none of the eligible princesses strikes his fancy...and then he meets Prince Lee.

Mommy's Family by Nancy Garden. 2004. (32 pgs). Gr. K-3.
When a classmate tells her "No one has two mommies," Molly is upset and confused. But as her mommies and teacher help her understand that all families are different, she becomes proud of her own family.

Antonio's Card/La Tarjeta de Antonio by Rigoberto Gonzalez. 2005. (32 pgs) Gr. 2-5.
With Mother's Day coming, Antonio has to decide what is important to him when his classmates make fun of the unusual appearance of his mother's partner, Leslie.

Daddy, Papa and Me by Leslea Newman.  2009. (20 pgs) Gr. Pre-K-1.
This board book with rhyming text shows a toddler spending the day with his/her daddies.

Mommy, Mama and Me by Leslea Newman. 2009. (20 pgs) Gr. Pre-K-1.
This board book with rhyming text shows a toddler spending the day with her/his mommies.

In Our Mothers' House by Patricia Polacco. 2009. (48 pgs) Gr. 1-6.
The oldest of three adopted children recalls their childhood with their mothers, Marmee and Meema.

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell. 2005. (32 pgs) Gr. K–2.
Two male penguins at the Central Park Zoo become mates and work to hatch and raise their own baby penguin. (Based on a true story.)

A Tale of Two Daddies by Vanita Oelschlager. 2010. (32 pgs) Gr. 1-4.
A young girl describes how her two daddies help her through her day.

~ Marsha

Parents: get help and support in nurturing compassionate, conscientious children. Sign up now for one of our sessions of our six-week online course, Raising a Humane Child.

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We Will Protect Who and What We Love

One of the core elements of humane education is fostering reverence, appreciation, and wonder. Since we are inclined to care for and protect who and what we love, “falling in love” with the natural world and experiencing love toward other people and animals is a key ingredient for creating a peaceful, healthy and just world.

With all the media that stirs our anger, frustration, and hatred, it’s critical to find those places that stir our awe and wonder. This Facebook page, Our Beautiful World and Universe, is worth a “like” to feed that part of us that spurs our efforts to make a difference and protect our gorgeous planet and the myriad species who share it with us.

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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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.

"Cost of subsidizing fossil fuels is high, but cutting them is tough" (via NY Times) (10/24/11)

Rape as "weapon of war" against men (via Alternet) (10/24/11)

Students take stand against racist costumes with new campaign (via Huffington Post) (10/24/11)

The additive that destroys forests, kills animals, & enslaves children (via Alternet) (10/24/11)

"Are we reaching 'peak car'?" (via Globe & Mail) (10/22/11)

"285 Indian girls replace names meaning 'unwanted' to rise above gender discrimination" (via Washington Post) (10/22/11)

Indiana students help bring clean drinking water to students in Haiti (via Edutopia) (10/21/11)

Independent analysis backs other studies that confirm the earth is warming (via Treehugger) (10/21/11)

Students help solve real-world problems with challenge-based learning (via InverGroveHeightsPatch) (10/21/11)

YoRiciclo brings recycling to Mexico (via Treehugger) (10/19/11)

New recommendations for limiting TV exposure of young children (via NY Times) (10/18/11)

Study says college students not learning to think critically (via Common Dreams) (10/17/11)

Interests collide in Keystone pipeline controversy (via Washington Post) (10/16/11)


Keep up with more humane issues in the news via our Facebook or Twitter pages. 
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Young Eco-Heroes: 2011 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 2011 winners:

Victor Davila, 17, created EcoRyers, a series of summer workshops that combine health, environmental issues, and skateboarding.

Alexander Epstein, 20, has co-founded two community organizing groups for youth, including The Philadelphia Urban Creators, which builds relationships with Philly communities to help them develop equitably and sustainably.

Tania Pulido, 21, is a passionate & effective community organizer who has created a community garden that caters to youth, and is involved in several issues that impact her community.

Kyle Thiermann, 21, has created a video series, Surfing for Change, which has inspired others to make small changes in their daily actions for a better world.

Rhiannon Tomtishen and Madison Vorva, 15 & 16, we've reported on before. They started a campaign to get the Girl Scouts to replace palm oil (where commercial plantations are destructive to animals, people & the planet) for a more eco-friendly alternative.

Junior Walk, 21, travels around the U.S., educating others and campaigning regarding the environmental, health, and community impacts of coal mining.

 ~ Marsha

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5 Resources for Teaching About Occupy Wall Street

Image courtesy of edenpictures via Creative Commons.
Alive for more than a month now, the Occupy Wall Street (and beyond) protests have sparked a wildfire of controversy, debate, and participation. Whatever our thoughts about the events unfolding, this is a significant time in the world's history and something that students should be exploring and discussing. Where to start? With younger children, stories, songs, and hands-on activities are great tools. While not directly related to the Occupy issues, in her article about exploring clothing, data, the labor movement, and even protests, teacher Mary Cowhey offers a useful example of how young students can deeply and meaningfully investigate important issues; (and there is no shortage of kid-friendly materials about organizing, protesting, and other relevant issues out there). For teachers with older students, here are 4 resources to get you started.

  1. The New York Times' Learning Network offers the most comprehensive and organized collection thus far. It provides suggested questions, links, and activities for exploring the Occupy movement, with sub-categories unpacking everything from politics, to economics, to the role of social media, to a comparison with other movements, to challenges with law enforcement, to the local impact.
  2. Teachable Moment, which provides lessons and resources for teaching about social responsibility, offers several useful lesson plans, including lessons directly about Occupy Wall Street, as well as broader explorations of joblessness, nonviolence, and economic inequality.
  3. On his blog, Brooklyn, New York, social studies teacher, Stephen Lazar, recently posted links to several resources that he's been using to explore the Occupy movement in his classroom.
  4. While no lesson plans are offered, Yes! Magazine's special ongoing coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement offers numerous video clips, essays, and other content that can provide an excellent source for discussion.
  5. Update: I just found out about a new Facebook Group called Teach Occupy Wall Street, which is designed for teachers to share ideas, lesson plans, resources, etc., in teaching about the Occupy Wall Street Movement.
In using resources like these, it's important to remind students to bring a critical thinking and questioning lens to their exploration. News, other media, and opinion accounts, regardless of where they're from, use certain framing, language, statistics, and coloration because of the reporter's or speaker's biases and worldview. You can help students better understand and analyze the information they're exposed to by using humane education activities such as IHE's Be a C.R.I.T.I.C.

And, we were excited to see that one of our M.Ed. graduates, Susanna Barkataki, was recently featured in the Los Angeles Times for taking her middle school students on a field trip to the Occupy L.A. scene to help them learn more. (We recently interviewed Susanna about how she integrates humane education into her teaching.)

What else have you seen about teachers exploring the Occupy movement in their classrooms?


~ Marsha


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What We Can Learn From Finland's Educational System

At the TEDxDirigo conference in September, I had the pleasure of hearing Alan Lishness' excellent talk, "Indigenous Innovation: How Small Places Can Change the World." Eventually I'll be posting a longer piece I have written about Finland's educational system and what it can teach us about solving our own schooling challenges. In the meantime, enjoy this excellent talk!




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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Celebrate Humane Education & IHE in NYC at Our Crystal Ball

We're having a party, and you're invited! Join us on Sunday, October 30, from 7- 9:30 pm, for our Envisioning the Future: Crystal Ball/NYC. We'll be celebrating IHE's 15th anniversary with president and co-founder, Zoe Weil, IHE graduates, and new and old friends of the Institute.  You'll enjoy delicious vegan food, an awesome silent auction (including a Peter Max print!), a talk by Zoe, fun activities, music by Veggie Voices, and more.

And, one of Zoe's first ever humane education students will be there! David Berman, who was 12 when he took Zoe's first humane ed course and is now an AIDS/HIV activist who works for Mayor Bloomberg, will be giving the closing toast.

The event is part of IHE's Creating the Future campaign and will help propel IHE into the next 15 years. Tickets are $50. Space is limited so register early! 
Location: JivamukTea Café, 841 Broadway.

We so appreciate IHE M.Ed. graduates Kim Korona, Carol Moon, and Shawn Sweeney, who are the organizers for Crystal Ball/NYC, and JivamukTea Cafe for hosting the event.

We are pleased to offer a 20% discount to people who register for both the Crystal Ball AND our NYC MOGO Workshop. Use cb_workshop_combo discount code when registering. For more information about either event, call 207-667-1025 or email.


CAN'T ATTEND but want to send IHE a BIRTHDAY GIFT? Be there in spirit and send IHE a donation to support the Creating the Future 15th anniversary campaign. Your contribution helps create a just, compassionate and sustainable future. (And we'll acknowledge all contributors to the campaign in our program at the Crystal Ball event.)  
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Occupy Yourself: Action is the Antidote to Despair

Image courtesy of Mat McDermott
via Creative Commons.
For my blog post today, I’m sharing a recent post I wrote for Care2.com, an online community for people passionate about creating a better world. Here’s an excerpt from Occupy Yourself: Action is the Antidote to Despair:
"As I’ve watched and read about the Occupy protests spreading around the world, I’ve found myself growing ever more optimistic that at long last, fueled by a combination of righteous anger, passionate concerns, as well as growing fears, we are waking up from a trance and are taking the necessary steps to create viable solutions to our complex, interconnected and growing problems.

There’s a Star Trek episode called 'This Side of Paradise' in which a group of colonizers on a bucolic planet are drugged by the spores of a flower that make them wholly happy, yearning for nothing. When the starship Enterprise visits the colonists, the entire crew becomes exposed to the spores and abandons the starship to live a life of bliss on the planet’s surface. Only Captain Kirk, loving his starship so much that his anger and fear served as an antidote to the spores, remains immune to the siren call of a life of ease. He manages to provoke and enrage Mr. Spock, his first officer, enough that the drug’s effects wear off him, too, and together they come up with a plan to break the spores’ effects on everyone else. Freed from the spores’ power, the colonizers realize that they have done nothing on the planet in all the years they’ve been there. Recognizing, however, that he’s taken away their seeming happiness, Kirk is compelled to soliloquize that we must struggle, work and face meaningful challenges to be fully human, arguing that this is our essential nature."

Read the complete post.

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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Get Energized & Empowered: Sign Up for One of Our October 29 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 (Most Good) Workshop
New York, New York

On Saturday, October 29, the Institute for Humane Education (IHE) and the Catskill Animal Sanctuary (CAS) are hosting a day-long MOGO (Most Good) Workshop, led by Zoe Weil, IHE's president and co-founder. The MOGO Workshop helps you to put your values, concerns, and passions into action to make a difference for people, animals, and the environment, while simultaneously cultivating a more meaningful and joyful life. You'll leave energized and equipped to take action toward positive change with a new network of engaged and enthusiastic people. Register here; space is limited so register early! Workshop location: The Center for Arts Education, located at 14 Penn Plaza, 225 West 34th Street.



Sowing Seeds Workshop
Royal Oak, Michigan

Our Sowing Seeds Workshop, Saturday, October 29, at the Detroit Zoological Society, 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 and register here.




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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Solutionary Ideas You Can DIY: Tool-Lending Libraries

Image courtesy of juanpol
via Creative Commons.
You know what I love? Well, I love lots of things, but one of the things that I love is that I don't own a single shovel, lawn mower, pressure washer, ladder, drill, or a whole slew of other tools. And yet, I have access to any of those -- and more -- any time I want. I'm fortunate, because I live in a co-housing community in which we share all those things; we own most of them collectively, rather than singly, so, in my community of 26 households, we don't have to have 26 lawn mowers, for example.

But, you don't have to live in a situation like co-housing in order to reap the benefits of not having to own a bunch of stuff you rarely use. One of the great ideas popping up around the U.S. and beyond is tool-lending libraries.

Our friends at The Center for a New American Dream recently posted an essay by Jason Hatch, who founded the North Portland Tool Library, Oregon's first tool lending library. Hatch and his friend, Laura Dalton, didn't just dive in. They visited and interned with other tool libraries to understand how to create a useful and sustainable model. As Hatch says,
"The doors of the North Portland Tool Library opened to four North Portland neighborhoods in October 2004; 16 people signed up, and some 20 tools left the building. I truly wondered during the course of that week, would those tools return? They did. And they’ve continued to return. When one borrower had a drill and a miter saw stolen from his car, he bought replacements before the stolen ones were due. A house fire claimed most of the possessions of another borrower, but when his homeowner’s insurance came through, so did replacement tools for NPTL. Laura developed tool safety and other workshops to help borrowers use the equipment and expand their skills."

And now there are more than 2,500 registered members and hundreds of tools.

Read the complete essay.

And get even more inspiration from what Treehugger blogger Sami Grover did. Inspired by reading Jason's essay, Sami contacted the people in his neighborhood listserv (another great idea) to see if anyone was interested in starting a tool-lending library. Sami says,
"Within two hours of logging back into my emails, we had a functional system for offering and requesting tools and resources—and an amazing array of items available.

"... Neighbors emailed with encouragement, and sent long lists of items including chainsaws, tillers, ladders, trailers and even a couple of kayaks that they would be willing to share. We immediately set up a group email, a system for tagging email subject lines, and a Google Docs spreadsheet for listing what's available. And we were done."
 Find out more about starting a tool-lending library in your community or neighborhood here (or just search the web for start tool lending library.


~ Marsha

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New Humane Education Activities Available in Spanish

Last year we launched our first batch of humane education activities translated into Spanish. Now, thanks to our generous volunteer, Estela Diaz Carmona, we have more of our popular activities available, including Find Your Tree, Choices Cards, Do You Want Slavery With That?, and Amazing Nature.

You can find all 22 activities here.



~ Marsha

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Top 10 Reasons to Support Humane Education

The Institute for Humane Education (IHE) is celebrating its 15th anniversary with a “Crystal Ball” at the JivamukTea Café on October 30. Delicious vegan food, a fab silent auction, great crowd, IHE’s president, Zoe Weil giving an inspiring talk, and you get to support perhaps the most effective strategy for creating change: humane education.


Why is humane education so important?







  1. Humane Ed is the preventive approach to creating a humane world. Why put out fires when you can prevent them?
  2. Humane Ed gives students the knowledge and tools to be SOLUTIONARIES.
  3. Humane Ed links human rights, animal protection, and environmental preservation; i.e., it addresses everything!
  4. Humane Ed is fun and engaging. Students LOVE it.
  5. Humane Ed is relevant education for the future our kids will face and shape.
  6. Humane Ed is empowering. Students become changemakers.
  7. Humane Ed invites kids to use their head, hands, and heart for a better world.
  8. Without Humane Ed our graduates will likely perpetuate problems instead of solve them.
  9. Without Humane Ed our kids may not realize the role they can and must play in creating a better world.
  10. As one 11th grader said when getting a brief taste of Humane Ed: “We should have been learning this since Kindergarten!”
Image courtesy of tracitodd via Creative Commons.  


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Authentic Patriotism

I just watched a fantastic TEDx talk by Stephen Kiernan on “Authentic Patriotism” (also the title of his book which I will be reading). He echoes so much of what we at the Institute for Humane Education teach. Enjoy:



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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On Our Must-See List: "Miss Representation"

We can't recommend it yet since we haven't seen it, but definitely on IHE's must-see list is the documentary Miss Representation. I've had so many people recommend it to me recently (even my husband!), that I had to check it out for myself, and thought it was definitely worth sharing here.

Miss Representation exposes and challenges mainstream media and culture's portrayal of women and girls. As the website says,
"In a society where media is the most persuasive force shaping cultural norms, the collective message that our young women and men overwhelmingly receive is that a woman’s value and power lie in her youth, beauty, and sexuality, and not in her capacity as a leader. While women have made great strides in leadership over the past few decades, the United States is still 90th in the world for women in national legislatures, women hold only 3% of clout positions in mainstream media, and 65% of women and girls have disordered eating behaviors."
You can watch the extended trailer (about 9 min) here (Note: some of the imagery may not be safe for work):



Producers of the film also offer an accompanying education curriculum, but it's not free.

If you have cable TV, you can catch the national broadcast on OWN tomorrow (Thursday, October 20), or look for a screening near you.

This looks to be a powerful and important film, and something that humane educators could pair with films like The Bro Code, which looks at how media and culture encourage sexism and sexual violence from young men and how they portray narrow definitions of masculinity.

~ Marsha

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National Conference Focuses on Prevention of Gendered Violence

For the 3rd time, the Oregon Sexual Assault Task Force  and Men Can Stop Rape are sponsoring a national conference that focuses on the prevention of gendered violence. Roots of Change: Social Justice and Media, which is being held at the Benson Hotel in Portland, Oregon, November 2-4, explores contributors to and prevention strategies for gendered sexual violence, with "a strong focus on media, entertainment, and pop culture." Keynote speakers include Jessica Valenti of feministing.com and Jaclyn Freeman of WAM! (Women, Action & the Media), and there are a variety of workshops, film screenings, and other events.

As humane educators we know about the connection between media and culture and the perpetuation of gendered violence. This conference provides a great opportunity to learn more, especially about prevention and how other organizations are working to change destructive systems.

Find out more.

~ 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.

Young changemaker works to end Japanese whaling (via The Dominion) (10/18/11)

Report shows "gadget and appliance energy use up 600% in 40 years" (via Treehugger) (10/18/11)

Pennsylvania school district allows advertising to help deal with budget cuts (via Philly.com) (10/16/11)

Impending foie gras ban has foodies, activists at odds 'til the end (via NY Times) (10/15/11)

Shopping malls owner to ban sales of pets (via Zoe) (10/14/11)

Conference explored links between chemicals, obesity (via Bangor Daily News) (10/14/11)

Day laborers take back their power, start own eco-friendly business (via NY Times) (10/13/11)

Research shows turning chimps into entertainers makes us care about them less (via Smithsonian) (10/13/11)

New report says marketers purposely confusing consumers with "natural" food labels (via Treehugger) (10/12/11)

"High gold prices trigger rainforest devastation in Peru" (via Mongabay) 10/11/11)

"California governor signs shark fin ban into law"(via Treehugger) (10/11/11)

California's new B Corp law allows social, environmental considerations (via LA Times) (10/10/11)

China to impose tax on energy, some resources (via AP) (10/10/11)

Georgia factory farms rarely cited for polluting (via Atlanta Journal Constitution) (10/9/11)

Keep up with more humane issues in the news via our Facebook or Twitter pages. 
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Speaking Out Anyway: Challenging Stereotypes and Racism in Your Child's School Play

Image courtesy of rosemariekovic
via Creative Commons.
We've blogged recently about the importance of speaking up anyway (even when we're afraid) and offered a few tips to make it easier to do so. So, I was glad to come across a perfect example of the positive results that can come from speaking up.

In her Teaching Tolerance post "Challenging Stereotypes in Peter Pan," teacher and parent Kellie Cunningham Bliss talks about how her "blood went cold" when she discovered that her young son was cast in the school play, Peter Pan. Especially as a Native American ("Alaskan Native to be more precise. I am Haida. I am Raven moiety, Brown Bear Clan"), Kellie is outraged that her son's school would so blithely perpetuate stereotypes and racism. As Kellie says,

"Native Americans are characterized, marginalized, counted in number books (see Ten Little Rabbits by Virginia Grossman), depicted with incorrect images, and otherwise represented in hurtful, derogatory ways. Growing up in America, we are bombarded with images, toys, and stereotypes.

Stereotypes surround us and we, as a native culture, become invisible. Only the stereotype remains."

So Kellie emailed the school (before making too many assumptions and judgments) to share her concerns and to find out how they were going to handle the play. She says,
"I asked if there were to be props such as tomahawks and feather headdresses. I wondered if the children would use the Hollywood 'war cry.' The response was yes to everything. I asked to see the script. After reading the line when the Indians say to Peter, 'You are our Great White Father,' I wanted to burn it."
Kellie didn't give up in frustration, pull her son out of the play, or launch a campaign castigating the school. She continued to speak out, firmly and compassionately, and although they went through with the play, the school made several changes. Kellie notes,
"They added a scene in the beginning to explain that the story was written 100 years ago by J.M. Barrie, who never actually visited America. He wrote a completely fictional story about completely fictional humans.


The line about the white father was changed to 'Great White Feather.'  The headdress and tomahawks were taken out. The children playing Indians wore nondescript brown tunics with the school logo painted on the back, creating a kind of 'tribe' of the school."
Read the complete post.

As we've said before, speaking out to say "enough" can be extremely scary and intimidating, but if we act with integrity and compassion, even if we don't get the results we hoped for, we've still planted seeds for a more just, compassionate future.

(Note: If you teach about American Indians in your classroom, check out our 5 tips.)

~Marsha

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Guest Post: Get Involved When It's None of Your Business

This post is by guest blogger Laura Grace Weldon. Laura is a writer, editor, and non-violence educator. Her recent book is Free Range Learning. She lives on Bit of Earth Farm where she and her family regularly indulge in movie nights.


 Editor's Note: We recently posted about speaking up anyway, so we're pleased to share this guest post by Laura about the importance of practicing nonviolent intervention. Enjoy!


Working in a retail job, you think you’ve become accustomed to bad behavior on the part of children as well as parents. But you are appalled to see a mother use an umbrella to spank a small boy.


Will intervening threaten the child or endanger your job?

Walking through a grocery store parking lot, you notice a crying toddler in the grocery cart and a woman screaming at the child as she loads packages in her car. She slaps the child’s face and arms as you walk past.

If you say anything will you make it worse?  

Looking out your apartment window you see a young man standing next to a motorcycle, pushing and yelling at a teenage girl from the building who seems to be his girlfriend.

Would the police consider this abuse if you called?

Leaving work later than usual on a wintry evening you have the feeling you’re being followed. As you turn a corner you see an ill-dressed youth close behind you. He holds out a gun and asks for money.

Are there any options that don’t leave a victim?

Driving past a cluster of youths on a city street, you realize that they are clubbing a boy with a piece of wood. It’s safer for you to continue in traffic, but you want to defend this teen from his aggressors.

Can your heart and head agree on a course of action?


Violence is familiar. It’s highlighted in news, movies, and video games. It erupts in our homes or homes nearby, even if few people admit it. It’s insidious and damaging. Violence at all levels, from the personal to the global, is highly ineffective in creating lasting positive change.

Yet we know very little about nonviolence. We may be aware of Mohandas Gandhi’s satyagraha. This philosophy, which Gandhi called “soul force,” inspired the passive resistance successfully used in the U.S. civil rights movement and the healing honesty of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. But most people don’t think these approaches are relevant. In fact, pacifism is often confused with those who are passive. Nothing could be further from the truth. Nonviolence requires a level of conviction and inner strength that makes violence look easy.

Nonviolence doesn’t imply lack of anger or conflict. Strong emotions like anger can be a catalyst for change; rallying us to become more aware, to take action or to seek help. Conflict is an inevitable part of human interaction. Dealing with conflict constructively, creatively, and with mutual regard lets conflict serve a useful purpose.

The tactics of nonviolence have worked throughout history. But, as it’s often said, history is written by the victors. Scholar Antony Adolf writes in Peace: A World History, “The champions of peace, momentous and everyday, intellectual and activist, expert professional and lay, have for too long been considered exceptions that prove this rule, when in actuality without their efforts there may not have been a history to live, let alone write.”

Nonviolent principles work today, although they continue to be little known. According to the Human Security Report, from the University of British Columbia, peacemaking efforts by the United Nations, as well as voluntary activism, continue to have a powerful impact. Although little reported by the media, the world has seen a significant decline in violence. The overall number of armed conflicts has declined by 40% in the last 16 years with the deadliest conflicts dropping by 80%. Three decades ago 90 countries were governed by authoritarian regimes; now fewer than 30 suffer this oppression.

The efforts of individuals may make the biggest difference. Paul Hawken writes in Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Social Movement in History Is Restoring Grace, Justice, and Beauty to the Worldabout the efforts of caring people everywhere around the world. Before the abolitionist movement there were pitifully few groups working on behalf of others. Since that time the number of people collaborating for the greater good has grown at an unprecedented rate. Now there are over a million organizations seeking environmental sustainability, social justice, cultural preservation, and peace. Hawken says that never before in history have there been so many people working on behalf of others.

In fact the success of humankind is based on peaceful person to person, group to group interaction. The unwritten span of prehistory makes up 99% of our time on earth. Most anthropologists affirm that cooperation was pivotal for survival during this long stage, when people lived in nomadic hunter-gatherer bands. A lone human would not last long. No claws, fangs or heavy fur protected them. Interdependence was key. Together our forebears developed language, healing arts, and methods of procuring food. Cooperative efforts in child rearing, protection from predators, and shelter from the elements gave them a survival edge. This entire period of our development was characterized by generally peaceable human interactions. No convincing evidence of warfare exists in this span of prehistory. Planned aggression against others apparently began around the start of agriculture.

From the larger perspective of time we are barely out of prehistory, still adjusting to the complexities of civilization. As anthropologist Douglas P. Fry notes in Beyond War: The Human Potential for Peace, cooperation and empathy accurately represent our species. Violence is not “human nature.” We flourish best with gentle nurturance and continued cooperation.

So what’s the first nonviolence principle we should know? De-escalation. A major characteristic of violence, verbal as well as physical, is that it tends to escalate.  It is most easily reversed at the beginning and becomes progressively more difficult to stop as it spirals into more intense violence. Those who study the effects of intervention in violent situations have found when others object or actively intervene, their efforts tend to slow or stop the violence.  Dr. Ervin Staub, who survived under Nazi rule, reports in The Roots of Evil: The Origins of Genocide and Other Group Violence, that the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and the Nazis in Germany began their campaigns of genocide with small persecutions which citizens allowed to continue.  He reports that action by “bystanders” (those who are not victim or perpetrator) empowers the victim and diminishes the power of the aggressor. But ignoring the suffering of others allows the violence to escalate.

That’s true in our daily lives as well. When we deal with signs of conflict right away, firmly and with compassion, we don’t permit problems to get worse. That’s just one principle of nonviolence. The more we know about nonviolence, the wider the range of options we have to choose from in each situation.


Personally Violent Approach                  Personally Nonviolent Approach

Avoid or ignore signs of conflict.                   Speak up early, before conflict  
Suppress problems. Allow tension                                  escalates.
to build.

Slander others, incite anger,                              Show positive regard for others
distort truth.                                                        as well as oneself. Maintain honesty.

Highlight differences, provoke                          Find common ground, ways to agree.
defensiveness.

Show impatience                                                Act with patience and high regard for the
                                                                           process. Recognize change
                                                                           may be slow.

Attack the other person, typically                   Be open to ideas, different perspectives,
escalating situation.                                           possible changes.

Inflict suffering on others.                                Refuse to inflict suffering even at one’s own 
                                                                              expense.

Aim to “win” or destroy others.                      Accept only equitable solutions fair to all.

Ends justifies the means.                                 Process important as outcome.

Expectations not fitting circumstances.          Act with integrity and understanding,
                                                                         instilling  respect and empathy.  
                                                                         Operate with openness, justice,
                                                                         compassion. 


What about situations you might encounter at work, in a parking lot, in your neighborhood, while driving, or walking down the street? All of the circumstances described at the beginning were actual experiences. Fortunately the people facing these situations had studied nonviolence and they decided to take a stand.
The store clerk who witnessed a mother using an umbrella to hit a child intervened quickly. She stepped next to the mother and said quietly, “You have to stop that right now.”

The mother was furious. She protested that she had the right to discipline her child. The clerk agreed, keeping her voice low and calm, “Yes, you do. But how you do it makes a difference.”

She listened as the child’s mother continued to argue with her, then said, “Can I tell you something? I’m sure my mother took good care of me. But she got mad easily and hit me a lot. Not one person ever stuck up for me. When I grew up I decided I’d never speak to her again and I haven’t. I’m not saying it’s the same for you and your child, but I just had to say something.”

The mother responded by describing to the clerk the many ways she was a good mother to her son. The tone of the woman’s voice as well as her attitude changed as she focused on her parenting strengths. On her way out of the store she picked up the child and said, “Momma loves you even when she’s mad, you know that don’t you?”
~~~~~
The man about to walk past the woman slapping her toddler in the parking lot had an idea. He reached into his pocket, pulled out a ten dollar bill and covertly dropped it near them. He made a show of leaning over and finding the bill.  He held it out to the woman and asked if it might be hers.

Although she insisted it was not her money he gave it to her, considering it money well spent. As they spoke he made some positive observations about her child. He sympathized with her difficulty, mentioning that when his kids were young he found it easiest to take along a few snacks and small toys to keep them busy. They talked and by the time he walked away the woman and toddler were both smiling. His simple act stopped the violence and for that moment he’d brought a positive element to the situation.
~~~~~
The neighbor who witnessed a motorcyclist pushing and yelling at his girlfriend decided he couldn’t stand by. He walked casually out of his apartment and just as he was about to pass the couple he paused. When the boyfriend noticed his glance the neighbor made an admiring comment about the bike. His attention disrupted the abuse. He and the young man struck up a brief conversation about motorcycles. His observations on treating the bike well may just as easily have been about treating a person with loving attention. By interrupting the abuse he offered the girl time to leave, if she chose, and he hoped it established a rapport that might be helpful if the girl wanted to talk at a later time.
~~~~~
The commuter walking late along a cold, dark street confronted by a gunman was afraid he might lose his wallet, coat, and perhaps his life.  He also empathized with the poorly dressed youth. Ignoring the gun and disrupting the man’s plan to make him a victim, he said, “It’s cold. Why don’t you take my jacket?”

As he took off the coat he kept talking about the wintry weather. He offered to purchase food, even give the young man money. The aggressor was confounded by the man’s generosity and lack of fear. Acting embarrassed, he refused the food, money and jacket. The commuter insisted the youth take the jacket as a gift. He may have gone home without his own jacket but he transformed a potential crime into an encounter of compassion.
~~~~~
The woman who drove past teens pummeling another youth with a piece of wood chose to stop her car in traffic. Standing at her open car door she called to them, telling them to stop what they were doing. They were surprised but held their ground. One jeered at her asking why she would care about some kid who was a stranger to her while the others laughed. She answered that she cared about all of them. And then she said she would stop if she saw any of them being hurt.

“Next time I might need to stop for you,” she told the youth who questioned her. Anger defused, they walked away. She left when she saw the youth who’d been hurt get up and walk in the other direction.
~~~~~
These people chose action over despair.  Their creative, unique solutions served as peaceful de-escalations of violent situations.  They may not have eliminated the causes or “solved” the issue but they pointed a way out.  Making a stand does make a difference.

Our anger and our concerns about violence can be shaped into purposeful, peaceful action. This is the greatest antidote to despair.


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by guest posters are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Institute for Humane Education or its staff.

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It's Time for a Radical Shift

A few years ago I went to Bioneers and had the pleasure of hearing Fritjof Capra speak. Capra, a physicist, systems thinker, innovative writer, professor, and environmental educator, said this:

“Solutions require a radical shift in our perceptions, thinking, and values.”

I agree. So how do we create this shift? Embedded as we are in dysfunctional and outdated systems that have influenced our perceptions, thinking, and, to an astonishing degree, our values, how do we step outside these systems far enough to assess them clearly and transform them wisely? Some thoughts:

1) Our perceptions, thinking, and values are malleable.

If, for example, people immigrate from one culture to another, they begin to live on a hyphen, carrying their perceptions, thinking and values from their original culture, while slowly absorbing and accepting new perceptions, thinking, and values from their new culture. Their children continue this hyphenated existence, generally moving further toward the new culture. Their children’s children are likely to be fully enculturated in the new society. What does this mean? It means that we are capable of holding disparate views and perceptions simultaneously, and that our thinking and values can shift, with new information and new experiences. This bodes well for the radical shifts we must make in our perceptions, thinking, and values.

2) Most of us share core values.

Many, if not most, of us subscribe to the Golden Rule to do unto others as we would have done unto us (or the reverse, to not do to others what would be anathema to us). Many, if not most, of us know that the accumulation of things (beyond what is necessary and a bit more for enjoyment) does not bring us happiness, whereas joyful and helpful relationships with family, friends, and neighbors do. And, many of us know that a restored environment secures our health and the health of generations to come. In other words, we value kindness and peaceful, sustainable human and ecological communities.

Yet we have created and perpetuated systems that defy these values in favor of other values and interests, pursuing profits at the expense of the biosphere and creating and using products and systems that cause terrible harm to other people, other species, and the environment. We fail at living according to our deepest values, not because we don’t value kindness and peaceful, healthy communities, but because our perceptions and thinking are molded by faulty systems and because other competing interests take root. Instead of recognizing this conflict and trying to resolve it practically and wisely, we fail to acknowledge it, choosing sides and clinging to false options. We create either/or choices (Republican v. Democrat, Socialist v. Capitalist, Christian v. Muslim, Urban v. Small Town, Elitist v. Joe Sixpack), as if these options are at all viable for the radical shift required. They are not. We need to find systems that support our shared core values of creating a peaceful, healthy, sustainable world for all, and shift our perceptions and thinking toward the attainment of this goal. This may not be easy, but it is absolutely possible.

3) We need humane education at all levels of society.

I have said for years that if we can raise a generation with the knowledge, tools, and motivation to solve our greatest challenges, infusing all curricula with humane education, we will transform our world. But, we do not have the luxury of waiting a generation to reverse the trajectory of global warming or to slow population growth, two of the most frightening challenges we face. This is why humane education must be offered everywhere – in schools, of course, but also for and through the media, health care providers, architects and engineers, entrepreneurs, executives, legislators, farmers, and more. Humane education – that is, education about the interconnected issues of our time that promotes inquiry, introspection and integrity, as well as far-reaching systems transformation – allows us to step outside our current perceptions and thinking in order to deeply examine our values and make long-term, wise decisions representing the radical shift we need.

 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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