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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hamburger

Moving Beyond “It’s a Personal Choice”

by Marsha  Rakestraw “It’s a personal choice.” If you’ve been a humane educator or changemaker for any length of time, you’ve probably heard those words frequently. You may even have said them yourself. We use them when we want to justify the choices we’re making and remove any sort of ethical consideration or right-or-wrong-ness from…

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Resources: Dead Zone header

A Solutionary Unit

What Do the Primary Causes of Death in the US Have to Do With the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico? What are the biggest killers of people in the U.S. today? What is the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico? How can these two seemingly disparate problems possibly be connected? This unit…

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rainforest in the classroom

Are the Holidays Wearing You Down or Filling You Up? It’s Your Choice

by Lynne Westmoreland This is the time of year set aside to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, the winter solstice, and Kwanzaa. The themes of the season are the return of hope, abundance, and protection, the return of the light, and a reminder to return to our spirituality and personal transformation as well. But in the last…

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holiday gifts

Tips for Happier, More Humane Gift-Giving

by Marsha Rakestraw This time of year the news is full of headlines about online sales, various shopping frenzies (Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc.), and an even earlier start on holiday buying. Juxtaposed with the high-energy holiday consumer craze are stories giving us tips for reducing our holiday stress and finding ways to make the…

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social media

Empower Don’t Paralyze: 6 Tips for Sharing About Global Ethical Issues

by Marsha Rakestraw As I scroll down my Facebook wall, I skim across a horrific image of cruelty that someone has posted, with a caption that merely says “This has to stop!” and no other information. The image is so traumatizing that I quickly skip by it, and even consider hiding that person’s posts from…

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dictionary

The Trouble With “It”

by Shannon Finch I’d like to discuss a small word with a big problem: “it.” First, a little grammar review for you. “It” is a pronoun, like he or she, that takes the place of a noun. An antecedent, such as “the butterfly,” “the child,” or “the tree,” comes first so that readers know what…

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kids

8 Videos Exploring Empathy

by Marsha Rakestraw Empathy is a key component of humane education, and something our society is increasingly recognizing as essential to our well-being and that of the world. Studies show that we’re innately wired to be empathetic. When we’re able to put ourselves in the place of another, and to imagine the kind of world…

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Resources: Think Therefore I Act

I Think Therefore I Act

Based on the Privilege Walk, this activity encourages students/participants to develop an awareness of the kinds of choices we make every day that impact other people, nonhuman animals, and the environment. Recommended for grades 9 and up. Time: A few class periods

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