Humane Education, this World, and Us

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By Chief editor

Posted on March 1, 2024


5 min read

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Humane Education, this World, and Us

2035 has been cited as the point of no return by climate scientists with Earth targeted to surpass the 1.5 degrees mark between 2033 to 2035. We are in 2024 and we still have some time on hand to try and avert this. Wondering why we are talking of the planet and people while the header says ‘humane education’?

Humane education is born at the intersection of human rights, animal protection, and environmental sustainability. For years we have emphasized education in sciences, arts, and humanities and if we draw a Venn diagram, Human Education would be the space right at the center. In the face of the challenges the world faces today, the subject must go beyond curriculum and be a part of school and college-going education. To build a compassionate world and a world that cares is the need of the hour.

We have curated a set of extremely critical topics revolving around Humane Education for the edition this month and this one discusses the success stories, the inspiration and motivation that builds the case for humane education, and why it is as essential or more than other fields of study.

C for Conservation

The debate around development vs environment is truly absurd. When we flip open a newspaper the headlines are about the issues that surround economics and war, but there are equally important raging issues on this planet that sadly are often less discussed. Wildlife and ecological conservation is one of them. Some of the best conservationists on this planet had their share of Humane Education, both in the classrooms and on the field. To showcase the importance this field holds, here are the top conservation success stories of the century that ensure the ecological balance on Earth.

Bald Eagles– The use of DDT led to the Bald Eagle population nose dive in the middle of the 20th century. Alongside was habitat destruction due to urban development and encroachment. During the 1960s the United States government took strict action, safeguarding habitat, banning DDT, protecting nesting sites and lo behold the Bald Eagle moved out of the endangered status in the 2000s.

Black Rhinos– The horns of the Black Rhinos and humankind’s greed led to this magnificent animal being led to the brink of extinction. Combined with habitat loss, the future looked abysmal. Countries like Namibia worked hard using the community-centric approach to finally bring hope and build a sustainable model. The efforts raised sensitivity towards shared landscapes and community-driven conservation initiatives.

Blue Whale– The biggest organism in the world was once threatened by humans, killed relentlessly for blubber, bones, and meat. Whale sanctuaries had to be built across the world to protect Blue Whales against commercial whaling and overfishing, and this led to the creation of the world’s largest marine protected area in the Ross Sea.

Mountain Gorillas-Back from the brink of extinction, these mighty creatures are present in the fight today thanks to the conservation efforts focused in East Africa regions, especially Virunga Massif.  They are still part of the endangered list but there is optimism and resilience from diverse projects that aim to safeguard this species.

The Panda– Panda has been known for decades as the symbol of conservation efforts and its success across the world. In the late seventies, the Chinese government stepped up its efforts to protect the panda and devised a plan strategized by the World Wildlife Fund including habitat conservations and focused management plans. And lo behold, the numbers have risen and the future for the Pandas and us, seems promising.

Shared Landscapes and Lessons

While encroachment is a big no, learning from indigenous people and communities who have been living on shared landscapes with flora and fauna is a massive yes. There are great lessons to be learnt from them and their ways of living and cohabiting. Humane education isn’t just about theories, it is about asking the correct questions at the right time too. According to reports by the World Bank, United Nations, and National Geographic, indigenous communities comprise 5% of the world’s population but effectively manage almost 25% of the world’s lands and help conserve biodiversity up to 80% of the world’s whole.

Some of them include the Nharira community in Zimbabwe, Lakipiak Massai in Kenya, Soligas in the BR Hills, India, Chenchus in Orissa, Gundadule of Panama and so many more.

They teach us respect and responsibility when it comes to wildlife, nature, and other human beings. Isn’t this what Humane Education also symbolizes? What’s lost in centuries of Western practices is found in the knowledge protected by communities living in the lap of nature, the world over.

Human Education – The Need

It is no longer optional to have Humane Education as part of a child’s learning journey. They teach empathy, social responsibility, and compassion- attributes that are critical to leading the world today.  Socially relevant curriculums in schools that bring together theory and practice are important. There are many choices in advanced courses, career roles, and relevant projects that can be pursued by students who are passionate about the field. It is great to build national parks and reserves and yes, it’s important, but to be able to care for all components of nature which we co-exist with on this planet each day, is the higher goal.