What is humane education and why do we need it?
Teaching children about social justice, animal protection, and environmental ethics develops more compassionate youth and creates a more humane, sustainable world for all life on earth.
To prepare our children for life after school, we teach them reading, writing, history, math, art, and science. In a society facing global issues like interpersonal violence, pollution, institutionalized animal cruelty, and poverty, the next generation needs to be given instruction on more than just the basics. They need to be taught how they can help make this world a better place for people, animals, and the environment.
In its broadest sense, humane education fosters compassion and respect for all living beings and the environment, and empowers students by giving them the tools to make more compassionate and informed choices that combat real-world problems.
Humane education not only allows students to grow and develop into more caring, critical-thinking individuals — it has the ability to transform our world into a more humane place. Although we live in a time of incredible technological advancement, new perils are continuously presenting themselves, and future generations will inherit a beautiful planet, unfortunately fraught with undeniably significant problems. By allowing students to learn crucial information and develop solutions for many of the modern issues facing our world, humane education promises to usher in a global community that is truly prepared to make the planet a more peaceful and sustainable place.
Humane education connects the dots between environmental ethics, social justice, and animal protection issues. Instead of isolating problems and encouraging students to develop similarly narrow solutions, comprehensive humane education invites learners to think about the interconnected nature of many problems. This holistic approach allows students to understand how one seemingly isolated issue, climate change as an environmental example, is tied to people and animals, both in creation and consequence.
Humane education can be incorporated into any classroom or out-of-school setting. From reading humane literature and writing letters to legislators in English class, to exploring climate change in science, to creating PSAs in art, critical social justice issues can be used as a vehicle to teach the fundamental skills every child needs to be successful. And on top of those skills, it transforms our children into changemakers, eager to help solve our world’s biggest problems.
In short, humane education promotes the following outcomes:
- Creates better students, more tolerant and compassionate citizens of the greater community.
- Cultivates empathy for animals and, as a result, decreases animal abuse in our society.
- Helps reduce and prevent violence in school and at home.
- Motivates students to strive for a sustainable society.
By educating our youth in humane education, we are teaching them the value of kindness toward one another, animals, and the environment, and shaping attitudes toward different cultural and human rights issues. It provides students with an opportunity to integrate qualities such as compassion, tolerance, and integrity into their daily lives, traits we as a global society will undoubtedly need as we look to our future.
“Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.” – Albert Einstein