Humane Issues in the News

Each week we round-up the news you need to know about humane issues, from human rights and environmental preservation, to animal protection, to media and culture, to activism, education, and changemaking.


"Look, don't touch: the problem with environmental education" (commentary) (via Orion) (July/August 2012)

"The necessity of activism" (via Solutions Journal) (July 2012)

"Oregon farmers go beyond Clean Water Act" (via OPB) (7/30/12)

"Program shapes the new faces of conservation" (via NY Times) (7/30/12)

"Disrupting global poverty" by creating products for the poorest citizens (via Huffington Post) (7/30/12)

UN explores reversing ivory ban to reduce elephant poaching (via Washington Post) (7/27/12)

"Norway cuts palm oil consumption 64% to protect rain forest" (via Treehugger) (7/26/12)

Judge rules to require some protections for elephants in L.A. Zoo (via Earth in Transition) (7/25/12)

"Students answer to peers in L.A.'s teen courts" (via Education Week) (7/23/12)


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

They're older than we are, we can't live without them, and many of us can go days without ever noticing one. Trees are amazing. And often we take them for granted (as evidenced by all the clear-cutting and deforestation around the world.) Recently I came across a passage in a book I was reading that reminded me how wonderful trees are:

"A tree is not a thing, like this dish or the fruit in it. A tree is alive, and thus it is always more than you see. Roots to leaves, yes -- those you can, in part, see. But it is more -- it is the lichens and moss and ferns that grow in its bark, the life too small to see that lives among its roots, a community we know of, but do not think on. It is every fly and bee and beetle that uses it for shelter or food, every bird that nests in its branches. Every one an individual, and yet every one part of the tree, and the tree part of every one. You cannot rightly speak of a tree as an individual, apart from the earth in which it grows, the air it breathes, the sunlight that wakes it to life, the living things that surround it. And yet each tree is also an individual...." (from Oath of Fealty by Elizabeth Moon, p. 122)
We can renew our connection to trees by vowing to just notice them. We can grab a friend or loved one and go deeper into reigniting our appreciation for trees by trying activities like Find Your Tree, which challenges us to locate "our" tree using senses other than sight.

We can help our children build a sense of wonder, reverence, and curiosity about trees by reading them stories like these children's picture books honoring trees and engaging them in reverence-building activities.

Whenever I take a walk in the woods, I always take time to stop and appreciate the trees. I'll put my hand on one, feeling the bark, taking a moment to thank the tree for existing and for all the tree provides. Sometimes I'll close my eyes and send positive energy to the tree...and sometimes I feel like the tree sends me some back. Sometimes I imagine I can even feel the tree breathing, if I'm very quiet and listen very closely. My great-nephew came to visit me once when he was about seven, and I taught him about touching trees and listening for their breathing. We did lots of activities the week he was here, but he remembered for a long time about the "breathing trees."

We've heard the maxim that we protect what we love. We can fall in love with trees again (and everything else wild and wonderful), and we can start, just by paying attention.

~ Marsha

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Humane Education Activity: Learning From Our Heroes and Enemies

We're often told to look for heroes we can turn to for inspiration. How often do we seek out what we can learn from people we dislike, or those who've done evil?

At our summer residency last month, M.Ed. student, Jessica H., led an activity that explores what we can learn from both our heroes and enemies. This activity could be used for most classrooms, and it could also be adapted for companies, organizations, or even families to use.


  1. Start by sharing two versions of a quote from Confucius:

    “When you see a good person, think of becoming like her/him. When you see someone not so good, reflect on your own weak points.”

    "When we see men of worth, we should think of equaling them; when we see men of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves."


    Ask: What do you think the quote means? (Even if you don't like someone, you can learn something from them.)
  2. Say:  Take a couple minutes to think of someone you admire;  think of what about them you admire and consider how you can integrate what you admire about them into your own life.
  3. Say: Now take a couple minutes and think about someone you dislike or don't understand or agree with. Think of how you can learn something from that person, whether it's something good about them, or something you can improve upon in yourself by seeing how their words or actions have affected others negatively.

    Were you able to do that? Was it harder? (Invite volunteers to share.)


  4. Divide participants into about four groups. Give each group a set of cards with the names (or names and images) of various well-known leaders (some historical, some current - make sure everyone knows who each one is). Ask each group to discuss within their group what they can learn from each person.

    Sample list (names Jessica used):

    • Christopher Columbus
    • Aung San Suu Kyi
    • Thomas Jefferson
    • Helen Keller
    • Adolph Hitler
    • Martin Luther King, Jr

    5. Back in a full group, choose one of the names and ask each group to share what they decided they could learn from them. Repeat for each person.

    6. Debrief about the experience.
This activity could be used featuring all sorts of people -- from public figures, to people in the news throughout the year, to people we know in our own lives (both those we like and those we don't), and people whose values and beliefs we may disagree with (such as factory farmers or oil executives or owners of sweatshops, or climate change deniers).

The takeaway is that everyone has something to teach us.

~ Marsha

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Get a Graduate Degree in Creating a Better World with Our Programs in Humane Education

The deadline for the fall semester for our graduate programs is nearing (August 1 for M.Ed.; August 15 for M.A.). If you are looking to combine your passion and skills and turn them into positive action for people, animals, and the earth we invite you to apply now.

The programs focus on changemaking and deeply examine root problems and emphasize the interconnectedness between human rights, animal protection, and environmental sustainability. We asked some of our students and graduates what they'd like to tell others about IHE's graduate programs:

"Enrolling as a graduate student at IHE will give you a set of tools and a series of lenses to view the world that you simply cannot get in any other program."
~ Christopher Greenslate, M.Ed. graduate, teacher, education doctoral student

"The graduate program is as much a personal journey of discovery and growth as it is an academic pursuit. This program is highly meaningful, rich, and full of opportunity. The program design, faculty, and peers gracefully and effectively overcome any tendencies of an online program to be dull, simplified, or lacking in community and support. In addition, this unique opportunity to work with others from around the globe adds even more depth and perspective within the experience. IHE's graduate program is a gem to be discovered!"
~ Cassandra Scheffman, M.Ed. student, environmental educator


"Do it! The curriculum is carefully designed and delivered, the support and mentorship are outstanding, and the benefits are undeniable. You won't regret launching a relationship with IHE!"
~ Kurt Schmidt, M.Ed. graduate, university faculty and math educator

"When looking for educational programs to attend, I always longed for one that would not only educate me, but would make a impact on my life and help shape who I am. The program at IHE not only helped me to grow professionally, but it made significant positive changes in my life.  If you are looking for program that will educate you and help you to become a more compassionate, aware citizen, IHE’s grad program is for you!"
~ Karen Patterson, M.Ed. graduate, Humane Education Director, Humane Society of Huron Valley

“I feel like this graduate program was designed with me in mind. The content is relevant and timely and from day one I was able to find things that I could bring directly into my classroom, either as activities or lessons or other things that helped shift my attitudes and look at students and the classroom differently. Not only is the program taking me long-term to where I want to be in my career, it has changed me as a teacher, from the very first day.“
~ Rebecca Brockman,  M.A. student, classroom teacher

"It's fantastic. I was an activist waiting for this study and degree. Whether it's the earth, animals or people, this is the program that's going to get you jump started to your next great adventure."
~ Enid Breakstone, M.Ed. student, founder, Queenie Foundation


Find out more and apply now.

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How Do You Want to Live Your 30,000 Days on Earth?

Almost eight years ago, I read the book, Naikan, by Gregg Krech, director of the ToDo Institute in Vermont. Naikan is a Japanese form of self-reflection which focuses on three questions:

1) What have I received from _________?
2) What have I given _________?
3) What troubles or difficulties have I caused ________?

You can fill in the blank with just about anyone or anything. I’ve filled it in with individuals in my life, including close family members and friends; with things like air or water or trees; and, most often, with the simple concept of “today.” I find the practice powerful and transformative, providing a true reckoning of my choices and actions and an opportunity for experiencing greater gratitude and greater awareness.

No sooner had I finished the book than I contacted the author and we arranged a time to meet. We met both at his home/institute with his wonderful family and a few months later at my home/institute, again with his family. We’ve stayed in touch, but years have passed since we’ve seen one another.

I’ve continued to teach about Naikan through my writing and our graduate programs, and now I’m thrilled that Gregg has invited me to be a keynote speaker at the ToDo Institute’s Thirty Thousand Days conference August 2-5 in Burlington, Vermont. Thirty thousand days refers to the average amount of time each of us has on earth, and the conference is sure to be a powerful couple of days of talks, workshops, music, and film, all designed to help us live meaningfully, humanely, sustainably, and joyfully in the time given us.

There’s still room to attend. I hope to see some readers of this blog at this exciting event!

~ 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 TEDxConejo talk: "Solutionaries"
My TEDxDirigo talk: “The World Becomes What You Teach"

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Humane Education in Action: Cassandra Scheffman

Our students and graduates are creating a better world in a variety of ways. Read about how M.Ed. student, Cassandra Scheffman, is pairing her passion and skills to help people, animals, and the earth.

Name:  Cassandra Scheffman

Home:  Tucson, Arizona (soon to be Portland, Oregon)

Graduating from the Institute for Humane Education (IHE):  M.Ed. candidate 2013

Current Job/Position/Role:  classroom outreach presenter for environmental education organization


IHE: What led you to the path of humane education? 

CS: In past academic and professional pursuits I have felt the need to choose between the two areas in which I was most passionate: animal welfare and environmental protection. I found myself searching for a way to nurture and expand my potential to contribute in both areas, and along the way I discovered a third area that seemed like the missing link - people! Social justice issues are deeply entwined in animal and environmental issues, and in fact the three are critically interconnected. As this larger view took shape, I came across the humane education paradigm and was introduced to IHE.

Complemented by my love for working in educational settings with children, I knew humane education was the perfect path for me.

IHE: How has your humane education experience with IHE affected/influenced you? 

CS: My experience with IHE has opened my mind in incredible ways. I am surrounded by inspiring, brilliant, and compassionate people with a wealth of ideas, experiences, and wisdom to share. I am constantly challenged to think outside the box, summon my creativity, think critically, open my conscience, and let go of judgments. I am growing intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally. This is an empowering journey. 

IHE: Describe your current humane education work. 

CS: As a volunteer, I work with several local cat and dog rescue/adoption organizations and help reach out to the public about spay/neuter, responsible pet care, and community (feral) cats. Regarding these and other humane education topics, I find that everyday conversations can open doors when we meet them with open hearts and minds and without judgments and criticisms.

As part of my environmental education work, I present energy conservation programs for middle school students. A culminating component to this program is inviting students with their families to sign a written pledge that they will make an effort to conserve energy at home. In exchange, they receive a kit full of devices for their homes that will help them accomplish this goal, such as compact fluorescent light bulbs, a low-flow shower head and faucet aerator, and other items. After learning about energy use, renewable and non-renewable resources, and related environmental impacts, this program ultimately helps students feel empowered and excited about how they can make a difference in a very tangible way. 

IHE: Share a success story or two.

CS: To me, each "ah ha!" moment in the classroom, each drawing and thank you note, and even a hug represent a success story. My job is to reach every student, and I try to involve each individual as much as possible. The message I drive home is that each of us can make a difference; together we can make a BIG difference. 

IHE: What are your thoughts about the power of humane education to positively transform the world?

CS: As humane educators I believe we must try to build our own lives around the values and positive transformations we wish to foster around us. I believe strongly that through positive energy more positive energy flows. (The same is true for negativity.) If we seek more compassion and empathy in the world, then we must relate to everyone compassionately and with empathy. Drawing on the words of Gandhi, we must be the change we wish to see in the world. This doesn't mean being a "perfect" role model, but rather recognizing ourselves as fellow human beings on a journey, members of a community who support, give to, and learn from one another. Through this sense of unity we may become empowered, realize positive change, open doors to new perspectives, and even witness shifts in consciousness.

IHE: Anything else you'd like to share?

CS: IHE is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in implementing humane education into professional or volunteer work, seeking information about humane education related issues, or looking to connect with a supportive community. I have found that humane education can be as formal or informal as a situation dictates. It has become a cornerstone of my life, personally and professionally, and I feel tremendous gratitude.

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6 Resources for Talking About Traumatic Events with Young People

When we read headlines like: "At least 12 dead, 59 injured in Colorado theater shooting" we can be overwhelmed with grief, rage, despair, fear, and hopelessness. But as adults we have at least some shred of coping mechanisms and an ability to understand the deeper issues of such a tragedy.

How do such horrific events affect our young people? How do they view themselves, the world, and their future after such violence and destruction? How can we help them learn to cope and to gain a deeper understanding (as appropriate) of the issues involved? Here are 6 resources that can help educators and parents.




  1. The New York Times' Learning Network offers several suggestions for topics for teachers to explore with their students, from analyzing news coverage, to discussing how leaders should respond, to investigating gun control issues, to connecting the tragedy with other, similar events.
  2. The Boston Globe highlights 6 ways to talk to kids about the movie theater shootings.
  3. We can also focus on the stories of heroes during tragic times; in the case of the Colorado shootings, we can share the story of the young woman who refused to leave her wounded best friend's side, even though it put her in danger.
  4. The New York Times also posted an article earlier in the year outlining 10 ways to talk to students about sensitive issues in the news.
  5. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has a guide for parents and educators in talking to young people after traumatic events; it includes tips by age group.
  6. Recently we shared 8 tips for discussing challenging global issues, which can help frame how you handle discussing the Colorado shootings or other traumatic events with your children or students.
~ Marsha

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Real Liberty Means Protecting the Commons

In the United States, liberty is a core principle and a core value; but have we debased the real meaning of liberty? We seem more concerned with our freedom to make money at any cost, to pursue materialism at any cost, to manipulate through advertising at any cost. And we appear more committed to resisting any and all regulations and restrictions on such freedoms – as if protecting the commons isn’t tantamount to protecting other, vastly more important freedoms.

No one actually believes in unlimited individual freedom. We all agree that our personal freedom mustn’t tread on another’s personal freedom to be safe from abuse, harm, theft, and so on. And yet, we often forget that there are core freedoms we take for granted and therefore often fail to protect. For example, shouldn’t we all be allowed to breathe unpolluted air, drink water free from toxins dumped into it by another party, and have the ecosystems upon which we and all life depend protected from destruction? Shouldn’t we be free from the devastations that come from a planet that’s warming rapidly due to human impacts?

While some argue that regulations to protect our shared environment are limits on freedom, a different, and I believe more accurate, interpretation, is that they are true protections of our freedoms. Freedom within society is a complex affair. We depend upon one another and an intricate web of ecological balance. This, in fact, is the basis for any other freedoms (speech, religion, congregation, and so on), but we are currently treading on the very freedoms that underpin all other liberties. Ultimately, the pursuit of profits will mean little in a desecrated world, and such freedoms we once held sacrosanct will seem flimsy at best and ultimately foolish if we fail to protect the commons upon which we all rely.

~ 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 TEDxConejo talk: "Solutionaries"
My TEDxDirigo talk: “The World Becomes What You Teach"

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Webinar: Beyond "Cruelty-Free": A Critical Race and Decolonial Approach to Ethical Consumption

Image courtesy Shira Golding via Creative Commons.
We love it when we find resources that explore the complexity and interconnectedness of important issues.

A. Breeze Harper, blogger, author, activist, and academic, is leading a two-hour webinar on August 18 called "Beyond 'Cruelty-Free': A Critical Race and Decolonial Approach to USA Ethical Consumerism."

Here's Breeze's description of the two-hour webinar, which includes both a lecture and discussion and costs $30:

It seems like everyone is talking about ethical consumption in some way, shape, or form. And it also seems like there isn’t a universal agreement on what is ‘ethical’. Some folk think eating animals is ‘ethical’, as long as the animal didn’t suffer living in confined quarters and was ‘free range.’ Some folk think veganism is the way to go, but don’t think about the humans who may labor in cruel conditions to provide them their vegan foods, or the humans and non-human animals who are displaced to source ‘cruelty-free’ palm oil for vegan butter for example.
This webinar will help you think more critically about how you consume, why you consume, and how to alleviate suffering through mindful consumption that is pro-vegan. This webinar will acknowledge that all people are different and that due to racial, class, and geographical privileges (or lack there of), access to ‘ethical consumption’ varies; you will not be judged or shamed. I will meet you where you are at in your process.

In this pro-vegan oriented critical thinking course, I will teach you how and why you should consider how structural racism, classism, neoliberal capitalism, normative whiteness, and ableism affect what you think is ‘ethical consumption’, ‘healthy,’ and ‘perfect body.’ Upon finishing this webinar, you will have a better understanding of how to think critically about being a vegan consumer that is both mindful of non-human animal suffering and the suffering and pain that structural ‘isms’ (such as racism, sexism, etc.) cause to human beings who labor throughout the food chain. You will be able to bring this information to your organizations, friends, and family in a way that is compassionate and loving, not shaming or judgmental. Though there are many human injustices that the global food economy relies on, this webinar will pay close attention to the under-represented topics of how structural racism/whiteness and ableism operate within a neoliberal and capitalist driven consumer economy in the USA. This webinar is not about finding one sole solution to ‘ethical consumption’. Instead, this webinar will help plant the seed of more critical thinking in your consciousness and allow you to then self-train yourself on how to determine what pro-vegan ethical consumption lifestyle, principles, or philosophies best suit your own social, geographical, and financial statuses. This self-training will always be a process that is neverending. You will become better at it each day; this webinar will plant the seed to get you started. For example, once you learn about the human slavery used to produced certain cocoa products, this will engender you to think about the source of your vegan cotton and research if people are exploited to produce a supposedly ‘cruelty-free’ product.

Find out more.

~ Marsha

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Humane Issues in the News

Each week we round-up the news you need to know about humane issues, from human rights and environmental preservation, to animal protection, to media and culture, to activism, education, and changemaking.


Growing evidence shows urban farms reduce violence, build community (via Mother Jones) (July/August 2012)

"The new misogyny: what it means for teachers and classrooms" (commentary) (via Alternet) (7/23/12)
 
"Frackers fund university research that 'proves' their case" (via Bloomberg News) (7/23/12)

"Will the Farm Bill nullify laws against animal cruelty?" (commentary) (Huffington Post) (7/21/12)

"There's still hope for the planet" (commentary) (via NY Times) (7/21/12)

Undercover video shows egregious abuse at pig farm supplying "pork" to Walmart stores (via Daily Mail) (7/20/12)

"A new model for green schools" (via Atlantic) (7/20/12)

"Global warming's terrifying new math" (via Rolling Stone) (7/19/12)

Young Mountain Gorillas work to dismantle poachers' traps (via National Geographic) (7/19/12)

"The endless summer" (commentary) (via NY Times) (7/18/12)

"Parents need to act against climate change for their kids' sake" (commentary) (via Daily Beast) (7/18/12) 

"Extended producer responsibility would require  manufacturers to collect and recycle packaging" (via GOOD) (7/18/12)

"How America became a country that lets little kids go homeless" (via Alternet) (7/16/12)

Americans need more civic education (commentary) (via Journal Gazette) (7/15/12)

Aqua Squad middle schoolers, learn, teach, take action for water conservation (via San Angelo Standard-Times) (7/15/12)

Teen recycles cooking grease into heating oil for needy families (via Good News Network) (7/15/12)

San Francisco bay ships to be rerouted to help protect whales (via AP) (7/15/12)


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Helping Students Become Active Citizens: One Example From History Class

 "Students need to find a way into the study of their history and their roles as citizens." ~ Margaret Haviland

Our encounters with students reinforce for us again and again how hungry they are for learning that is relevant and meaningful to their lives -- for education that helps them gain a deep understanding of the world and develop the skills to become effective citizens and changemakers.

I was excited to read about a recent example of real-life learning in the classroom.

History teacher Margaret Haviland recently posted at the Powerful Learning Practice Network about a project she and her colleague implemented to help translate their "students' understanding of past actors into action by young people today." Prior to this project, students had been studying changemakers and citizen action throughout history, so the transition was well-framed and relevant.

Students began by choosing a topic of interest to them, "from puppy mills, to invasive species, to the military and the draft, to anorexia, to fracking, to robotics, to head injuries in sports" and more.

Then, for three weeks, students read articles, blog posts, and other sources of information on their topic -- from both traditional and less traditional sources -- and then wrote summaries and analyses of what they were reading and posted them on a discussion forum that all the students had access to. Students also "commented on each other's entries, offered insight and suggested links."

Students then gave presentations on their topics, and had a debrief about the experience.

But, unlike with a lot of schools, the learning and involvement didn't stop there. As Haviland says:
"From the beginning, we asked our students to consider how they might join in the ongoing public discourse on their topic. Some students added comments to articles they were reading, others wrote letters to editors and their local elected officials. Still others wrote to advocates for a particular cause.

We wanted students to find others interested in their interests and to connect with them where possible. One student corresponded with a friend at a school with a one-to-one tablet program. She then wrote a letter to our Principal about the reasons she believed we should adopt such a policy. Another student corresponded with an immigration lawyer in Los Angeles, wanting to better understand the issues from the lawyer’s point of view.

As the final individual step, students wrote essays summarizing what they had learned about their topic and how it related to their sense of what it means to be an engaged citizen."
 Additionally, students gave group presentations that summarized the common themes in their work; analyzed the citizenship and activism they had engaged in and discussed whether it was useful or just "slacktivism"; and reflected on the meaning of freedom and citizenship in 21st century America.

Read the complete post.


~ Marsha

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On Our Must Read List: Ecoliterate

We haven't read it yet, so we can't recommend it, but Ecoliterate: How Educators Are Cultivating Emotional, Social and Ecological Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, Lisa Bennett, and Zenobia Barlow (Jossey-Bass, 2012) is definitely on our must-read list.

 The book explores what the authors call "engaged ecoliteracy" and highlights what educators, activists, and students are doing to integrate important ecological issues into their learning and citizenship. The framework is based on Goleman's previous work on emotional and ecological intelligence (his book, Ecological Intelligence, is required reading for IHE graduate students), and plugs into the current popularity of social emotional learning, expanding the definition to include ecological literacy. Bennett and Barlow both hail from the Center for Ecoliteracy, which offers resources and professional development opportunities for "schooling for sustainability."

Ecoliterate offers examples of students and educators grappling with important environmental topics from our energy systems, to food and water, and includes a section of professional development strategies for helping teachers implement these ideas in their own communities.

With the increasing popularity of environmental/sustainability education, and social emotional learning, resources like Ecoliterate can help provide strategies and ideas for paving the way to integrate comprehensive humane education into schools and communities.

~ Marsha

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Why We Need Humane Education: We Protect What We Love

Image copyright Institute for Humane Education
During a recent presentation to students from the University of Richmond, I led a Wonder Walk, an outdoor activity in which people lead each other, in pairs, on an experience to awaken the senses. They take turns bringing their partner – whose eyes are closed – on a walk in a beautiful outdoor setting.

Gently guiding them, they tap their temple to invite them to open their eyes to see something they’ve noticed and want to share; touch their nose after leading them to something to smell; their ear to pay attention to a sound; their lips to invite them to taste something (such as a sprig of wild mint or a blueberry); and place their hands on objects to touch (in my case, my fingers were placed on the fuzzy, kitten-like seedpods of a lupine flower). What usually happens when people experience the Wonder Walk is that they find themselves deeply connecting with the natural world. I often describe this as “falling in love” with nature.

After sharing the Wonder Walk with them, I told the students that my reason for doing it with people is that I believe that we protect and care for what we love. While intellectual commitments to justice are motivation enough for some to work to preserve the natural world, change their destructive habits, and commit to being changemakers for justice and sustainability, for most of us it is our hearts that are the big motivators. We are willing to do much more on behalf of that which we love. And if we love the natural world and the other species with whom we share it, we may be willing to do much more than if we don’t.

Within hours of leading this activity, I read this quote from Baba Dioum in Sailesh Rao’s book, Carbon Dharma: The Occupation of Butterflies:

“In the end, we conserve only what we love. We love only what we understand. We understand only what we are taught.”

If ever there was a quote that reinforced my belief in the importance of humane education and providing people with the knowledge, tools, and motivation to be conscientious choicemakers and engaged changemakers, it is this.

~ 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 TEDxConejo talk: "Solutionaries"
My TEDxDirigo talk: “The World Becomes What You Teach"

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Making Life and Learning Indistinguishable

Imagine a school that "asks its students what it means to be a citizen of a family, of a region, of a country, of the world." That's the kind of school described by Claire Hirschmann, co-founder of Portland Maine-based Field Academy in her recent TEDx talk.

Claire notes that in schools "learning and life are so separate...that a recent study found that only 23% of high school students very much believe that school helps them solve real-world problems." She continues: "We try to teach students about the world by isolating them from it."

Claire says learning & life should be indistinguishable and that students should feel that they can learn from everything. We at IHE agree.

Watch her talk (about 6 min):



~ Marsha

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Apply Now for Our Graduate Programs in Humane Education


"So many of us long to be a part of creating a better world but we don't know how to do this; IHE showed me that each of us has a unique set of skills and talents to share with the world, and that we can be humane educators wherever we are in life." ~ Holly Clark, IHE M.Ed. graduate

If you've been looking for a way to combine your unique skills and talents with your passion to help animals and people and the earth, now is the time to consider one of our five accredited online graduate programs (including an M.Ed., M.A., and graduate certificate) that we offer in affiliation with Valparaiso University. The deadline for the fall 2012 semester is August 1 for the M.Ed program and August 15 for all others.

Here are five of the top reasons to enroll:
  1. Our programs are comprehensive & unique. Core coursework in each program highlights the interconnectedness of human rights, animal protection, and environmental stewardship. Our students don't have to settle for studying one area of social justice; they can work to help all people and animals and the earth through the comprehensive lens of humane education.  
  2. Our programs are flexible & online. IHE students come from all over the world; programs can be taken from anywhere, and the coursework allows a flexible schedule. Programs also offer flexibility with connectedness and collaboration. You will have regular contact with the other students in your program as well as IHE faculty.  
  3. Our programs are truly life changing. Our students and alumni regularly tell us how transformative their experiences have been. M.Ed. graduate, Neil Hornish called his time as a graduate student in the M.Ed. program "one of the most defining periods of my life."  
  4. Our programs are solutions-oriented and deeply examine root problems. Because IHE views education as key to changing the world, students graduate - no matter what background or profession - prepared to work towards fundamental, systemic change that transforms lives and benefits all in far-reaching ways.  
  5. Our programs are wide-ranging and long-lasting. Graduate studies in humane education are designed in ways that allow you to modify your program to best serve your own unique interests and situation. Students and graduates are involved in classroom teaching, outreach education, social business development, law, filmmaking, engineering, architecture, health care, activism, and more. And they are changing lives and creating new systems that help the planet thrive.

   
If you'd like to talk with Mary Pat Champeau, IHE's director of education, please email her at marypat@humaneeducation.org.



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The High Cost of Cheap Clothes

Most people love it when prices drop on something they want -- who doesn't love a good bargain?! But when we're stuffing all those purchases in our shopping carts, we usually don't stop to think about why those prices have gone down, and whether it's a good thing.

Elizabeth Cline over at GOOD recently wrote an article about the trend in "cheap clothes." As she says:
"Sewing clothing is very labor intensive, which is why a $10 or $20 price tag on a dress should be raising eyebrows instead of just opening our wallets. Companies like H&M place their orders in a network of factories in countries such as Bangladesh and China, where poverty wages are legal (Bangladeshi garment workers are paid $43 a month) and workers have little choice but to put in the exhausting hours needed to feed the 24/7 fast-fashion machine. Not only does this debase the skill and craftsmanship of sewing, but factories in the United States cannot compete. Between 1990 and 2012, the United States lost half of our garment and textile industries. We now make 2 percent of our clothing here."

And, as Cline points out, this new spate of rock-bottom prices on our clothes has led us to think of them as much more disposable. She says:
"Our landfills are being filled with toxic, non-biodegradable duds and our charity thrift stores are awash with disintegrating and discolored garments that won't have much of a second life.
To feed our clothing addiction, approximately 82 million tons of fiber is now being produced worldwide, largely in countries with very minimal environmental standards. In China, I've traveled through an unimaginable landscape of factories along highways enshrouded in smog and saw dyes dumped in ditches in Bangladesh. The environmental toll of the fashion industry is being taken out on countries most U.S. consumers will never visit and is not reflected in the price tag of a $10 dress."
Read the complete article.

As citizens and consumers, there is plenty we can do. We can buy less. Shop mostly at thrift stores. Swap with friends (or strangers). Make our own. Buy from companies that offer ethically-sourced options. Buy with durability and lasting-power in mind. Find creative ways to use worn-out clothes. And ask lots of questions -- of ourselves, the companies that make our clothes, the retailers that sell them, and so on.

For teachers, there are also opportunities to explore these issues with our students. Check out our free activities, such as:

Clothing Line-Up

True Price

Where in the World?


~ Marsha

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What's the Difference Between Eating Cows and Eating Whales?

As mentioned in a previous blog post, I’ve been reading Sailesh Rao’s excellent book Carbon Dharma: The Occupation of Butterflies. Rao tells a story worth repeating about Dr. Sylvia Earle, the National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, who recounts a meeting with Kuzno Shima, the head of the Japanese delegation to the International Whaling Commission during the 1990s.

Shima challenged Dr. Earle with this question: “'Americans eat beef, right? What’s the difference between eating steak from a cow and eating whale meat?’ Dr. Earle responded earnestly, contrasting the agricultural production of cows with the wild life of a whale and arguing that there were a billion plus cows on the planet, whereas there were only a few thousand whales left. Shima listened patiently but was not moved, which Dr. Earle couldn’t fathom.”

As Rao read about this encounter in Dr. Earle’s book, The World is Blue, he realized that Dr. Earle was missing a key point. “After all,” Rao writes, “to raise a billion plus cows and other livestock on the planet, humans have appropriated nearly one-third of the ice-free land area of the planet, displacing numerous other species and decimating their numbers. While Americans may not have eaten all the mountain lions, the Indians may not have eaten all the tigers and the Chinese may not have eaten all the Giant Pandas, directly, they all might as well have done so. They certainly caused the habitat losses that have resulted in the near extinction of these magnificent animals through their appetites for beef, milk and pork, respectively. It is these second-order effects on Life of our ever-increasing ecological footprints on the planet that even great scientists such as Dr. Earle have failed to grasp and articulate.”

Rao goes on to say:
“Most Hindus venerate the cow and do not eat beef, but they drink milk and eat cheese. In Western countries, the dairy cow is ruthlessly chopped up into hamburgers as soon as its [sic] milk production declines at the age of four, while the typical Indian cow lives out to an old age of 20 plus years, grazing on forest and other pasture land. This grazing reduces food for the sambhar deer and other wild ruminants which decline in population, putting a downward pressure on the tiger population. And the whole ecosystem suffers. This is why I realized that if I drink milk, then I must be prepared to eat the beef when the dairy cow ceases to be productive and I must be prepared to eat the veal from the male calves of cows in order to optimize my ecological impact. Otherwise, there would be an order of magnitude more cows alive for a given level of milk production, which does happen to be true in India. And as I drink milk in India, I’m effectively eating the tiger and the sambhar deer, etc. Once this realization dawned, I became vegan instantly.”

Given that animal agriculture and meat-eating contribute more to global warming than any other human activity, and given that it causes more habitat destruction as well, diet is perhaps the single most important choice an individual can make. If we don’t want the Japanese to continue whaling, are we prepared to discontinue our destructive habits too?

~ 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 TEDxConejo talk: "Solutionaries"
My TEDxDirigo talk: “The World Becomes What You Teach"

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The Story of Change: Bringing Our Citizen Muscle to Creating a Better World

At the Institute for Humane Education, we often talk about the importance of working to change systems, as well as our own personal choices. One doesn't work without the other.

In the newest Story of Stuff video by Annie Leonard, The Story of Change, Annie emphasizes this dual importance, highlighting that, although "living green" is essential and necessary to creating a better world, it's not enough. She offers a great example, using Gandhi:
"As Gandhi said, 'be the change.' Living our values in small ways shows ourselves and others we care. So it is a great place to start. But it’s a terrible place to stop. After all, would we even know who Gandhi was if he just sewed his own clothes and then sat back waiting for the British to leave India?"

Annie's basic premise is this: "Real change happens when citizens come together to demand rules that work."

She discusses 3 elements that are needed for successful change:
  1. Big ideas.
  2. A commitment to work together.
  3. Taking action.
And she encourages people to plug in their passion and talents in whatever way best works for them.

She says:
"I know that changing a whole economic system is a huge challenge. It’s not easy to see a clear path from where we are today to where we need to go. And there’s no ten simple things we can do without leaving our couches! But the path didn’t start out clear to all these guys either. Doctor King said, 'Faith is taking the first step even though you don’t see the whole staircase.'


So, they worked hard to get organized, practiced the small acts that built their citizen muscles and kept their focus on their big idea – and when the time was right, they were ready. It’s time for us to get ready too – ready to make change and write the next chapter in the story of stuff."
The website offers a quiz so that we can find out what kind of changemakers we are (builders, networkers, communicators, etc.), as well as suggestions for more resources.

Although at its core, The Story of Change is just a cheerleading video, with no significant concrete steps for action, it's still a great discussion starter, and an important reminder that our citizenship can't stop at changing our lightbulbs, shopping at thrift stores, and growing some of our own food.

Watch the video:




~ Marsha

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Humane Issues in the News

Each week we round-up the news you need to know about humane issues, from human rights and environmental preservation, to animal protection, to media and culture, to activism, education, and changemaking.


Study shows TV time in toddlers correlates with lack of fitness later (via Education Week) (7/16/12)

"Brazilian city offers vegetables in exchange for trash" (via Treehugger) (7/16/12)

"What your trash reveals about the world economy" (via Mother Jones) (7/16/12)

"America's new business model: sharing" (via USA Today) (7/15/12)

The connection between disease outbreaks & our destruction of nature (via NY Times) (7/14/12)

"How cheap fashion is changing the way we shop" (via GOOD) (7/13/12)

U.S. scores rock bottom on 2012 Greendex survey (via Grist) (7/13/12)

Study: children with disabilities "four times as likely to experience violence" (via Education Week) (7/12/12)

"Illegal ivory bust shows growing U.S. appetite for elephant tusks" (via Wired) (7/12/12)

"Texas judge rules atmosphere, air to be protected like water, may aid climate change lawsuits" (via Washington Post) (7/11/12)

Poll: U.S. confidence in T.V. news drops to new low (via Gallup) (7/10/12)

Survey shows shady ethics on Wall Street (via LA Times) (7/10/12)

"Charity condemns tourists' use of fresh water in developing countries" (via The Guardian) (7/8/12)


Keep up with more humane issues in the news via our Facebook or Twitter pages. 
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Kelly Keena: Children Need Nature, Not Broken Spirits

Science teacher and naturephile, Kelly Keena recently wrote an important post over at Children & Nature Network about how critical regular exposure to nature is to our children's development

She begins: "When starting out as a teacher, I heard Joseph Cornell say that keeping children inside one room five days a week is akin to breaking a horse. I’m haunted by that analogy. Our tendency is to keep children in, especially as academic demands only increase. And for discipline or missed work what do we do? Keep them in at recess. Breaking horses."

Kelly shares two anecdotes from her students' experiences with the natural world, which highlight the power of nature to spark critical thinking, creativity, reverence, and respect (all part of the 4 elements of humane education), as well as to fulfill academic requirements.

She says:
"Through contact with a natural setting during the school day, the children in 4th-6th grade found imagination and adventure, critical thinking and curiosity, respite and relaxation, peace and calm, and ownership and identity.

The outdoor classroom developed the students’ sense of belonging to the school and to the natural world. The contact these children had with nature was also in a place where the children felt safe to explore at a distance from the teachers that felt safe. In some cases, it was the children’s the first contact with nature in a exploratory way."
Read the complete post.

Regular exposure to the natural world is essential for all of us to thrive and to help us fall in love with (and want to protect) the environment that sustains us all. Even if we work in a dank cubicle or teach in an uber-urban setting, there are ways to bring the natural world inside. Studies show that even looking at an image of nature is better than nothing.

~ Marsha

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True Price: The Keystone Humane Education Activity

One of the most frequent activities we present at schools, in workshops, and conferences (Zoe even mentions it in her first TEDx talk, The World Becomes What You Teach) is our activity True Price.

We share it so often because it's the keystone humane activity: It has the capacity to address all the issues that we talk about in humane education; it asks core questions about how we create a better world, and it does so through the particulars of everyday items we can relate to; it can be used by any educator for almost any age; it can be adapted and customized for numerous situations; and it can serve as a single activity, as a course, as a theme for an entire year of school, or even as the underlying focus for the whole curriculum.

True Price Questions

At its most basic, True Price asks us to examine a product, such as a bottle of water, a fast food cheeseburger, or a T-shirt, and ask a series of questions.

1. Is the item a want or a need?

The point of this question isn't to make us feel judged about what we consider a want or need, but to help us unpack what is truly vital to our well-being and happiness. We might also have different criteria for whether certain kinds of objects are a need. For example, some people may consider products like a car, a computer, and a cell phone indispensable. And the way we'd categorize those items might be different from the way we'd categorize an item of clothing.

2. What are the effects, both positive and negative, on you, other people, animals, and the environment?

This question helps us think deeply, broadly, and critically about all the various impacts of a product throughout its entire lifecycle.

3. What systems support, promote & perpetuate this item?

This is a complicated question because our systems are very complex and there are so many underlying systems involved in the production, distribution, use, and disposal of the products we use. We can change our personal choices, but we also need to address the underlying systems involved.

4. What would be an alternative, or a change to a system, that would do more good and less harm?

When we can make choices that do more good and less harm (MOGO choices), that's great. But, many times there is no such choice available. There may be no MOGO cell phone, car, or health care plan, for example. So, it's important that we look at what changes in systems would help do more good & less harm and would also lead to humane and sustainable items becoming ubiquitous.

A True Price Example

IHE faculty led this activity at our recent residency for our graduate students. Here are the responses from one group of students, who briefly explored the impacts of soda in a plastic bottle.

1. Is it a want or a need?

It's a want.

2a. What are the positive effects?

caffeine kick; pleasure; jobs; the company does philanthropy; you could repurpose the plastic bottle for building material (e.g., creating a light source).

2b. What are some of the negative effects?

obesity & other negative health effects; plastic is a carcinogen; plastic waste; pollution; the amount of oil used; oil spills that kill animals & destroy habitat; animals consume plastic; habitat destruction, etc.

3. What systems support, promote & perpetuate this item?

economy, cultural, peer pressure, marketing/ads, multinational corporations, globalization

4. What would be an alternative or a change to a system, that would do more good and less harm?

personally: tap water from a reusable glass;
systemically: create a healthier recipe? bring more work back to the U.S.? more corporate responsibility? incentives to phase out unhealthy drinks & the use of disposable plastics?

Questions After the Activity:

After doing the True Price activity at residency, students explored the seemingly contradictory facts that there's so much we don't know about the products and services we use; and, we also have a belief that we "know" a lot of facts and information, but that "knowledge" hasn't actually come from a deep investigation of, say, research in peer-reviewed journals. We've claimed these beliefs and this knowledge based on what we've heard or read about what others have heard or read.

True Price, then, forces us to look deeper and more critically at not just the impacts of these products on people, animals, and the planet, but also at our own beliefs and assumptions about what we think we know.

True Price can be used at home, in classrooms, and even at work, as each of us examines the consequences of our decisions and systems and seeks creative solutions that benefit all.

~ Marsha

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Reclaiming Mainstream Media: Eschewing Tom Cruise's Divorce for Meaningful News

A couple of weeks ago I met a wonderful, brilliant, soft-spoken, powerful man: Sailesh Rao. We were both leading workshops simultaneously at the Voyager’s Peace Conference, and as luck would have it, another speaker scheduled to present that day cancelled at the last minute. Because there was an empty slot, Sailesh repeated his presentation, and I was able to hear him. I was captivated by this man, who had spent his career as a high-powered computer engineer and who, after learning about global warming, became committed to teaching about and promoting solutions through the organization he founded, Climate Healers.

Sailesh and I had some time to talk and connect, and we agreed to give each other a copy of our respective books. I’ve been devouring his book Carbon Dharma: The Occupation of Butterflies, and I wanted to share some sections in this and other blog posts. He says:
“Here’s what’s amazing: the greatest story to ever unfold on the planet, our imminent march over a cliff following an invisible Pied Piper, is playing out in slow motion while the mainstream media seems to be strangely apathetic, especially in the United States. As if it has also been drugged into a state of stupor.”
How often I have thought the same thing. How is it possible that in the midst of grave problems and looming catastrophes the media can be focusing on Tom Cruise’s marital problems and child custody issues? I recently met with a group of students from the University of Richmond and asked them to list what they considered the biggest problems in the world. One of the issues that came up was the absurdity of the mainstream media’s focus.

What is OUR responsibility in relation to this strange paradox of our time? I believe it’s our obligation to contact those media we follow and ask them to cover the issues that truly matter and to promulgate the important information of our time. We can also eschew what is petty, gossipy, and unimportant, and commit ourselves to be purveyors of what is of meaning, value, and importance for generations to come.

It is our job to ensure that we do not personally fall into a state of drugged stupor, no easy task in a culture that constantly feeds us messages of instant gratification, the pursuit of happiness through materialism, and satisfaction of our immediate desires over our true yearnings for joy, health, peace, and kindness. But we can be vigilant and diligent in our efforts. The world and all the species on Earth depend upon those of us committed to solving the challenges ahead.

~ 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 TEDxConejo talk: "Solutionaries"
My TEDxDirigo talk: “The World Becomes What You Teach"

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Take a Virtual Tour of IHE's New Guesthouse

At this year's student residency, IHE debuted our new guesthouse, which is tucked into a stand of woods on our beautiful campus, and just a short hop to the main building. Architect, IHE student, and humane educator, Nielsen Van Duijn, used a variety of used, recycled, and salvaged materials to transform an old barn into a simple but comfortable place for students and workshop participants to enjoy.

The guesthouse includes separate men's and women's rooms, as well as a living room, kitchen, and bathroom. A side door leads to the newly-constructed Forest Trail, which takes students on a breathtaking path down to the ocean.

 Click here to take a virtual tour.

Residency students who stayed there said it was a wonderful experience:

"I loved the camaraderie and opportunity to share with others who stayed in the guesthouse. It was also lovely and comfortable." ~ Petra P., Michigan

"I loved the shower! And I loved that it really, truly felt like anyone can build a home. It gives me hope that through the use of recycled materials and community, a very spacious and humble home can be made out of love." ~ Leslie  B., Maine

"It was great for so many reasons, not the least of which was how much I loved being on this land and being in such close proximity to residency. I loved the fun and community, and it allowed for extra time together and a deeper connection." ~ Amary T., Oregon 

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IHE Students Connect, Collaborate at 2012 Summer Residency

Eighteen students traveled from as far away as Hong Kong and Australia and as close as just down the road to attend this year's residency for IHE graduate students, June 23-29. Students gathered for a week of collaboration, exploration, and connection at the IHE campus.


Enjoy this look at our 2012 Summer Residency. (Click on "show info" to read the captions.) 


We're so thrilled that everyone at residency raved about the experience. What did they say?

"The residency exceeded every expectation and hope! It helped me see into myself, the outer world, and the relationship between the two." ~ Petra P., Michigan

"The connections I felt with both teachers and peers were phenomenal and create a triumphant beginning to my humane education journey. I am, simply put, completely changed by this week!"
~ Gwen F., North Carolina

"I will value this experience always. I feel so enriched and fulfilled!" ~ Cassandra S., Arizona

"The role-playing was invaluable. I learned to listen, validate challenges, and keep cool under pressure. The student presentations were AMAZING!" ~ Rebecca B., Florida

"It has been a wonderful and amazing shared experience for us all! I feel enhanced and equipped with ideas, resources, information, skills, and tools to take with me." ~ Alicia K., Australia


Want use the power of education to turn your compassion and convictions into positive action for people, animals, and the earth? Enroll in one of our 5 graduate programs in humane education, accredited through Valparaiso University. The deadline to apply for the fall term is August 15. Find out more!

 
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On Our Must Read List: One Small Step Can Change Your Life

As humane educators and committed citizens, we know the importance of working for both personal and systemic change; one won't work without the other. But all the demands and distractions on our time, the challenges of stepping outside the furious flow of the mainstream mindset, and the feat of overcoming fear, inertia, and the sheer overwhelmingness of working toward lasting, significant change can leave us paralyzed.

The strategies in the book, One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way, by Robert Maurer, offer a pathway for breaking that paralysis and growing our way toward meaningful, transformative personal and systemic action through small steps.

Kaizen (which focuses on small steps for continual improvement) breaks down the big picture into actions that are manageable and lead to bigger steps. In Maurer's book, he outlines several small Kaizen strategies, including:
  • asking small questions to dispel fear and inspire creativity;
  • thinking small thoughts to develop new skills and habits;
  • taking small actions that guarantee success;
  • solving small problems, even when faced with an overwhelming crisis;
  • giving small rewards to yourself or others to produce the best results;
  • recognizing small but crucial moments that others ignore.

The book is filled with examples and ideas for helping us use Kaizen in our own lives and work for a better world. And as these anecdotes show, sometimes making many small improvements has a bigger impact than trying to reinvent an entire process.

For some of us, change is scary and difficult. So starting with even tiny steps can help bypass the scary and jumpstart new habits and behaviors that are more closely aligned with our values and lead to bigger changes and actions that help transform the world and help us live with joy and meaning.

~ Marsha

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Humane Issues in the News

Each week we round-up the news you need to know about humane issues, from human rights and environmental preservation, to animal protection, to media and culture, to activism, education, and changemaking.


"3-4 times more sharks killed annually than UN stats show" (via Treehugger) (7/9/12)

Survey says kids say school is too easy; but is it just too meaningless instead? (via USA Today) (7/9/12)

"Apple walks away from green certification" (via Treehugger) (7/9/12)

"Raising minimum wage: a help or a harm?" (via NPR) (7/8/12)

Is "organic" being gobbled up, adulterated by Big Food? (via NY Times) (7/7/12)

"Food stamps: more benefit to big food than to the poor?" (via Time) (7/7/12)

"How activism forced Nike to change its ethical game" (via The Guardian) (7/6/12)

"Do 5-year-olds really need career testing?" (via GOOD) (7/5/12)

"Guatemala farmers losing their land to Europe's demand for biofuels" (via The Guardian) (7/5/12)

New report critical of GMO crops (via Common Dreams) (7/5/12)

Seabirds on Pacific Northwest coast "eating bellyfuls of plastic" study says (via Vancouver Sun) (7/4/12)

South Korea announces plans to resume whaling (via CNN) (7/4/12)

"Conservation is patriotic and has bipartisan support, according to new poll"  (via Nature Conservancy) (7/3/12)

Research shows chickens "show evidence of primitive self-consciousness" (via Humane Research Council) (7/2/12)

Studies suggest that more money makes people act less humane (via New York Magazine) (7/1/12)

WTO rules against U.S. country-of-origin labeling laws (via PR Watch) (6/29/12)

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Why We Need Humane Education: Research Shows Having More Money, Power Makes People Less Humane

In our current society, we need a certain amount of money to be able to live with adequate food, shelter, and other necessities. And studies show that our perception of how much money is enough for us to live on is always a bit more than we actually have, even though other studies (such as this one) show that after we reach a certain level of income, our happiness doesn't grow. Now some new studies show another effect of money: When we have more of it, we tend to become less humane.

According to an article in New York Magazine, a team of psychologists at Berkeley, led by Paul Piff, have shown
"... through quizzes, online games, questionnaires, in-lab manipulations, and field studies that living high on the socioeconomic ladder can, colloquially speaking, dehumanize people. It can make them less ethical, more selfish, more insular, and less compassionate than other people. It can make them more likely, as Piff demonstrated in one of his experiments, to take candy from a bowl of sweets designated for children. 'While having money doesn’t necessarily make anybody anything,' Piff says, 'the rich are way more likely to prioritize their own self-interests above the interests of other people.'"
 Piff and other colleagues are exploring a relatively new area of research that focuses on "the haves." As the article says:
"Money has a million symbolic meanings and reflects as many human yearnings; wanting it, getting it, having it, using it, and abusing it are entirely different impulses with entirely different effects on personality, behavior, and interpersonal relationships, and no single researcher has yet captured all of that nuance. But in a country that likes to think that class doesn’t matter, these social scientists are beginning to prove just how determinative money is."
In an age of increasing income inequality, scientists like Piff want to know: "How does living in an environment defined by individual achievement—­measured by money, privilege, and ­status—alter a person’s mental machinery to the point where he begins to see the people around him only as aids or obstacles to his own ambitions?" And researchers are discovering that "merely thinking about money can decrease empathy."

Read the complete article.

As Piff mentions in the article, "...having money doesn't necessarily make anybody anything," which is why humane education is so essential. It's likely easier for us to fall prey to the indifference that having more money can cause because we're part of a culture steeped in rewarding competition, individualism, materialism, and climbing over others on our way up that ephemeral and wobbly ladder of success. But what might our reactions be if our culture were based on values such as compassion, empathy, cooperation, and generosity? Humane education can help us create that culture.

~ Marsha

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