Monthly Archives: June 2013

Zoe Weil answers the question, “What is humane education?”

These definitions are taken from a recent blog post of Weil’s. For the complete post, go here: http://zoeweil.com/2013/06/06/what-is-humane-education-8-answers/

girl holding globe of earth

1. Humane education is based on the premise that if we address the root system underlying all other systems—schooling—we can transform unjust and unsustainable systems wherever they occur and solve the challenges we face in the world.

2. Humane education is a field of study that explores the connections between all forms of oppression and exploitation—whether to people, animals, or the environment—and seeks to inspire solutions that are healthy for all.

3. Humane education helps students put core values of kindness, empathy, generosity, respect, responsibility, and integrity into practice in a complex, globalized world in which our daily choices affect people, animals, and ecosystems across the planet.

4. Humane education cultivates critical and creative thinking and problem-solving so that complicated issues are perceived in all their complexity, and answers to persistent challenges are addressed holistically.

5. As Matt Hummel, a student in our graduate program, said, “Humane education answers the questions nobody is asking.”

6. Humane education turns students into solutionaries who are knowledgeable and empowered to ensure that the systems within their future professions are just, sustainable, and compassionate.

7. Humane education is itself humane: engaging, inspiring, exciting, meaningful, and relevant to students’ lives and futures.

8. Humane education is the best hope for a healthy and peaceful world.

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“Allow pets in domestic violence shelters”- editorial

A great editorial piece in the The Register Citizen (Connecticut):

http://www.registercitizen.com/articles/2013/06/04/opinion/doc51ae66b26ac7c036148252.txt

Why do victims of domestic violence stay in an abusive situation? According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, as many as 40 percent say that it’s in part due to “fear of what would happen if they left their pets behind.” It is common for an abuser to threaten to hurt or kill a beloved animal.

We know how strong the emotional bond between people and their pets can be. It is so strong that in far too many instances, women and men are putting themselves and their children at risk of physical and emotional abuse because of it.

Most pet owners look at the animal as a family member, so leaving that pet behind would be much like abandonment to them. Leaving them to the care of a person who has already acted out violently toward humans.

Across the country, a simple solution is in the works. Domestic violence shelters are beginning to accept pets.

“As we witnessed during Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy, pets are members of the family and no one should have to make the impossible decision to leave them behind during times of crisis,” said Nathaniel Fields, president of the Urban Resource Institute, which recently created 10 pet-friendly apartments in a Brooklyn domestic abuse shelter.

There are similar shelters in 25 states, but surprisingly, this is the first and only one in New York City, and the Humane Society of the United States lists none in Connecticut.

It costs money to open up separate living spaces that can accommodate animals, but government and charitable dollars directed at domestic violence prevention would be well-spent on addressing this problem.

In a culture where, according to the American Pet Products Association, more than $55 billion will be spent on pet care and products this year, there should be an opportunity for the charities that run domestic violence shelters to raise funds to help the pets of these victims.

Add to that, pets can help in the healing process, as medical professionals increasingly look to pet therapy to lessen the effects of depression. Victims of abuse clearly have much emotional healing to deal with. Having their beloved four-legged family members at their side can obviously help that process.

The crime fighter’s revolution — police in Canadian town use trauma-informed approach

This is brilliant work happening in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. It is an approach to community violence that works across boundaries (police, social workers, etc.)– called “trauma-informed” or “Community Mobilization”.

ACEs Too High

crime….but they don’t call it trauma-informed. They call it Community Mobilization.

This is a must-read about a police department in the small Canadian town of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, pop. 35,000, that was dealing with 35,000 calls a year, which was double the number in 2001. The calls were on track to double again in eight years, until the department instituted what they call Community Mobilization, a concept they borrowed from police in Glasgow, Scotland.

Here’s an excerpt from the excellent story by Winnipeg Free Press reporter Randy Turner.

Seated around the table are representatives from every policing and social-services agency in the city: addictions, municipal police and RCMP, mental health, child services, probation, education. The works.

The analyst cites the first “case” — a 13-year-old girl recently reported missing by a guardian and found intoxicated by patrol officers. The girl was returned to her home. She had been truant…

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Models of Nonviolence

I find this list of “models of nonviolence” to be a helpful introduction to some ways that people can think about and practice nonviolence. Oddly, it is missing two key figure: Gandhi and MLK Jr (although they are represented in the “Links” section). However, there are some stellar examples of lived ethics in each person they identify– and I salute them for including three women!

See the “Models of N-V” tab at their website: http://www.nonviolencefestival.com/

The Nonviolence Festival itself is based in Waterloo, and is a group of volunteers that work together to plan and promote events that “raise awareness about the importance of nonviolence.” To see their activities, go to the link above.

Nonviolence Canada: grassroots activism in Ottawa

I just came across this organization, Nonviolence Canada. They provide nonviolence training workshops based on the philosophy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr (i.e. Kingian Nonviolence). As their blog explains, they are an Ottawa-based grassroots organization with the following intentions:

  1. Introducing Kingian Nonviolence to Canadians through two-day interactive workshops.  This provides a common understanding of  concepts, terminology and a concise framework (embodied in 6 principles and 6 steps).
  2. Helping people to think about what nonviolence means to them and what it means to apply it in their lives.
  3. Evolving the concepts, terminology and  framework espoused by Martin Luther King, Jr. to encompass Canadian perspectives on nonviolence.

Their website can be found here: http://amydillonnv.wordpress.com/about/