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Humane Education The Goal


By Rae Sikora

 

 

 
 

Overview: The Goal

Program for Arab Schools

Animal Abuse & Human Aggression

Arab & Jewish Children's Program

Campus for Compassionate Living

Resources for Teachers

 

 

 

In so many areas of our lives as humans, we have come to understand the importance of looking at prevention rather than only focusing on symptoms. Political involvement and activism have been and are important avenues for dealing with the symptoms of what we humans have created on earth. Now there is a strong movement toward dealing with the prevention side of our impact on the planet. As with everything else, the best way to prevent wasteful and destructive habits in adulthood is to instill a humane ethic in children, through education. The humane education movement is growing worldwide with a powerful focus on the potential of all children to expand their circle of caring and carry this into adulthood.

 

We care for whom and what we love. We learn to care at a young age. And we learn our cultural norms for caring as children. We learn early what the boundaries of this caring are. Do we care only for people or also for animals, trees, flowers, the planet, and every living thing on it? Humane education inspires young people to discover who and what they care about, to see beyond the often arbitrary boundaries placed on caring, and to learn ways to live these values. It is truly the preventative work for living a compassionate life on our home, planet earth.

 

As humans, we have created a world that suffers from human and animal oppression and exploitation, environmental damage, and deteriorating communities. By allowing young people to discover who and what they care about, and by empowering them with choices that reflect that caring, humane education is one way for individuals to understand that they, themselves, are the most important tools for positive change. Humane education is not propaganda. It provides young people with an environment to explore and question the many influences in their daily lives and to examine their own impact on earth. It provides an opportunity to question who and what we call "other" and to find out just how inclusive our circle of compassion can be. It is possible to care for all life, not just those we consider our family or friends or closest animal companions.

 

Our everyday actions have effects reaching far beyond our own backyard. Evoking critical thinking, humane education inspires everyone to look at every aspect of our lives on earth. It is a means to examine the many obvious, and not so obvious, ways that all of our choices, large and small, change the world.

  


 

Rae with black bear cub she rescued from hunters

Rae Sikora is a respected spokesperson for animals, the environment, and human rights. She is the founder of Simply Enough, an organization that offers workshops internationally to help people see how implementing changes locally can bring about change globally, and she co-founded the Center for Compassionate Living and the International Institute for Humane Education. Ms. Sikora has led conferences in Israel for CHAI, and she is writing our new course material. She holds degrees in Cultural Anthropology and Environmental Education from the University of Wisconsin.

Rae with black bear cub she rescued from hunters

 

 

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