Children need and deserve an education that fosters reverence, respect, and responsibility; that teaches them to be critical and creative problem-solvers; and that inspires them to make a difference in the world. I believe the biggest challenge in education today is that our current purpose for schooling is inadequate. We are not yet teaching for the future our children are inheriting. We have largely defined the goals of schooling as verbal, mathematical and scientific literacy in order to graduate students who are employable and able to compete in the global economy. But given the global challenges we face, such as climate change, war, poverty, escalating worldwide slavery, habitat destruction and extinction of species, energy, access to clean water, overpopulation, genocide, institutionalized and massive animal cruelty, genocide, and so on, it’s imperative that we educate a generation that has the knowledge, tools, and motivation to be problem-solvers and system-changers in order to create a sustainable, peaceful, and humane world for all.
~ Zoe Weil, president of the Institute for Humane Education (www.humaneeducation.org)
What is Humane Education?
It is an effective, empowering and vitally transformative means to foster kindness, respect, empathy, compassion and reverence towards all living beings—both human and nonhuman animals—and for all life-sustaining systems on Earth.
According to Zoe Weil, it is “a lens, body of knowledge, and set of tools and strategies for teaching about human rights, animal protection, environmental stewardship, and cultural issues as interconnected and integral dimensions of a just, healthy society. Humane education not only instills the desire and capacity to live with compassion, integrity, and wisdom, but also provides the knowledge and tools to put our values into action in meaningful, far-reaching ways so that we can find solutions that work for all.”
What is a Humane Educator?
A humane educator is one who makes a fervent commitment to actively research, live and share information about all pressing issues of justice in our society and to share that knowledge with colleagues, students and communities.
A humane educator will:
help foster critical thinking skills,
encourage problem solving skills that seek solutions,
encourage compassion and respect for human and nonhuman animals,
help students recognize the connection between animal cruelty and human cruelty,
make connections between human suffering, animal suffering and environmental destruction,
make connections between nonhumans, justice, environment, economy, social structures and other factors,
find ways to create a more peaceful global community,
and raise awareness about the many ways in which our thoughts and behaviours are influenced by factors including the media, advertising, education, politics, economy and more.
Please contact us for assistance in obtaining humane education resources (lesson plans, posters, videos, books, speakers for classroom presentations on animal rights issues and other materials).
You can begin your journey through humane education by visiting the following websites to learn more about the crucial human/animal/environment connections and the steps we can all take to help raise awareness in our classrooms and with our colleagues and communities.