by Marsha Rakestraw

While it’s vital that we as humane educators help teach others about challenging issues so that they can make informed choices aligned with their values, it’s equally vital that we do so in a way that empowers and inspires, rather than causing them to shut down and feel helpless and cynical.

Spoken word poet Shane Koyczan’s animated video of his poem “Shoulders” is a terrific example of a positive and powerful resource that we can add to our humane educator’s toolbox.

Part of the Blue Dot campaign of The David Suzuki Foundation, Shane’s poem offers a reframing of and guiding star for embracing our collective responsibility for taking care of our “blue dot” home. He doesn’t sugarcoat the direness of our situation:

“… this one world is all we get. There will be no reset button, no new operating system, or downloadable upgrade. We will not be able to trade in our old world for a new one …. We get one shot at this. Dismiss all reports of second chances. We get one.”

And acknowledges how scary it all is:

“The most alarming part of the statement ‘We are facing crisis’ isn’t the word crisis, it’s the word ‘we’ — because those two letters take responsibility away from one and rest it squarely on the shoulders of everybody.”

But he also emphasizes the joy and power of coming together, and how true it is that “We can do this.”

See the video here:


Use this video to spark discussion about our roles and solutionaries and the power and importance of meaningful collective action.

Image via screenshot of “Shoulders” by Shane Koyczan, The Short Story Long & Johnny Jansen