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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book cover

Zoe Weil’s New Book Calls for An Education Revolution

How can we create a just, healthy, and humane world? What is the path to developing sustainable energy, food, transportation, production, and other systems? What’s the best strategy to end poverty and ensure that everyone has equal rights? How can we slow the rate of extinction and restore ecosystems? How can we learn to resolve…

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girl power

14 Picture Books About Women Changemakers

by Marsha Rakestraw There is no shortage of examples of how sexism continues to pervade our society. One recent example is this video of women actors reading casting call character descriptions (most of which are pretty demeaning) for female characters. Numerous studies show how much gender imbalance continues to exist in business, politics, pop culture,…

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anti-bias teacher resources

Tips for Selecting Anti-Bias Children’s Books

by Marsha Rakestraw Stories are a powerful tool. They teach us about the world and ourselves; they influence our values; and they help shape our worldview. With children’s books, we’re usually looking for a good story to share with our children. Less often are we paying much attention to the kinds of messages those stories…

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Why You Should Use These Images to Inspire Climate Change Action

by Marsha Rakestraw While images of polar bears clinging to bits of ice or of widespread deforestation might motivate those of us who are biophiliacs, many people find them uninspiring. Images can influence and galvanize us, but it matters what those images depict. When it comes to climate action, photos of polar bears and protesters…

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father and son playing with dollhouse

11 Children’s Picture Books That Shatter Gender Stereotypes

by Marsha Rakestraw Just as we like to pretend that we live in a post-racial society, many of us want to avoid talking about sexism, stereotypes, and gender inequities. After all, women are CEOs and scientists and MMA fighters. And men can (sometimes) express their feelings (in certain cases), and can be stay-at-home dads and…

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civil rights march

Resources for Integrating Social Justice Into Your Classroom

by Marsha Rakestraw As we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr., and his legacy, today, it’s important to remember that, with global challenges growing and violence, injustice, cruelty and destruction flourishing, it’s vital that we address issues of social justice (human rights, environmental preservation, animal protection, media, culture, and changemaking) with students — to help them…

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A group of protestors with two talking on megaphones

Don’t Fall Into the Changemaker Trap That Makes People Resist Positive Change

by Marsha Rakestraw Awhile back I had dinner with some new non-vegan friends and colleagues. I was the only vegan there, and it came out that they’d been a bit concerned that I’d pull out my “vegan police” badge and start lecturing them about their food choices. When I told the person next to me…

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war & peace

Children’s Picture Books About War and Peace

by Marsha Rakestraw Some children have known war their entire lives. As journalist and peace teacher, Colman McCarthy says, “Why are we violent, but not illiterate? Because we are taught to read.” We teach children science, math and competition, but not peace. We offer them lessons on good character and anti-bullying, but often don’t model…

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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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