What is Humane Education?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Humane Education website at http://humaneeducation.org/become-a-humane-educator/what-is-humane-education/

What if we all had the passion and skills to solve the most pressing challenges of our time, and, through our daily choices, work, and acts of citizenship, made choices that do the most good and least harm for ourselves, other people, animals, and the earth?


IMAGINE the world we would create.


Humane education is the key to creating such a world.

Humane education 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.


Humane education includes 4 elements:

  1. Providing accurate information (so we have the knowledge to face challenges);
  2. Fostering the 3C’s: curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking (so we have the tools to meet challenges);
  3. Instilling the 3R’s: reverence, respect, and responsibility (so we have the motivation to confront challenges);
  4. Offering positive choices and tools for problem solving (so we will be able to solve challenges).

It’s time to make living ethically, sustainably, and peaceably on this planet the very purpose of education.

For an overview of the vision that informs the Institute for Humane Education’s (IHE) work, please watch Zoe Weil’s TEDx talks.

Read stories about our students and graduates  and what humane educators are doing.

Learn about graduate programs and workshops to help you to become a humane educator.