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10 Tools to Help You Find More Ethical Products

by Marsha Rakestraw From the time we arise in the morning until we fall asleep, we participate in a continuous cycle of using stuff that affects ourselves, other people, animals, and the planet. And during holidays our consumption of stuff tends to jump. We do what we can to buy products that do more good…

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Tips to Simplify Your Holidays for a More Memorable, Meaningful Season

by Marsha Rakestraw It’s the holiday season. Which of these better describes your state of mind: Joyous, meaningful, balanced? Or, exhausted, stressed, conflicted? The winter holidays have gained a reputation for reaching the epitome of the “overs”: overspending, overbooking, overstressing, overconsuming. And more people are expressing a desire to simplify their holidays and bring more…

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12 Children’s Picture Books About Families With Gay Parents

by Marsha Rakestraw In November 2017 California announced that it is adopting “LGBT-inclusive” history textbooks for grades K-8. It is the first state in the US to do so. Some schools may try to ban or discourage talk about homosexuality or about families with gay parents, but the fact is that there are a growing…

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How Do Your Electronic Gadgets Rate on Their Environmental Impact?

by Marsha Rakestraw A friend of mine is a technology early adopter. He wants the latest version of his favorite gadgets, and sometimes he’ll buy two. He tries to resell or give away the older (or extra) models, but that’s still a lot of electronics to dispose of. And while more people are deciding to…

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Getting the Child Slave Labor Out of Your Shopping Cart

by Marsha Rakestraw We hear about forced and child labor, reading about specific instances in the news, and we may wonder whether the sugar, cookies, or bananas we bought last week, or the cellphone we’re using, or the fireworks we enjoy are made with the hands of children or slaves; it can be hard to…

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Human Rights Graduate Program Institute for Humane Education

8 Resources for Teaching About Unconscious Bias

by Marsha Rakestraw We all have biases. We’ve heard many times that those biases are an evolutionary adaptation that helped us survive, but even after these thousands of years, we haven’t yet learned to recognize and overcome many of our unconscious (and conscious) biases related to race, gender, disability, age, geography, and even species. Research…

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Resources for Teaching and Learning About Intersectionality

by Marsha Rakestraw All of us have a variety of characteristics that contribute to who we are: our gender and ethnicity. Our income level and beliefs about religion/spirituality. Our sexual orientation and level of able-bodiedness. Our geographic location and age. And so much more. Each of these characteristics can influence both our level of privilege…

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Becoming Humane Beings (lesson plans)

by Marsha Rakestraw Right at the start of the school year is a great time to encourage students to think about the world they live in, the choices they make, what a humane world looks like, and the power they have to help bring such a world to reality. What does it mean to become…

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#FridayFeature: 3 Videos About Intersectionality

by Marsha Rakestraw Less than two months ago, Justine Damond was shot and killed by a Minneapolis police officer for an unknown reason. Her story has repeatedly made international headlines. Many people are now familiar with her name and her tragic story. Justine was a white woman. Many people also recognize these names: Eric Garner….

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5 Minute Changemaker: Say No to Plastic Straws

by Marsha Rakestraw Plastic straws are one of those little things we don’t think much about. We pop them in our to-go drinks. Restaurants often automatically include them with our beverages. They’re readily available at restaurants, bars, cafeterias, special events, and so on. But ask this turtle and all the other sea animals, and they’ll…

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