Each week we post links to news about humane education & humane living, and items connected to humane issues, from human rights to environmental preservation, to animal protection, to media, consumerism and culture.
Food crises could “cause government collapse” and threaten stability worldwide – Scientific American (5/09)
”States fail when national governments can no longer provide personal security, food security and basic social services such as education and health care. They often lose control of part or all of their territory. When governments lose their monopoly on power, law and order begin to disintegrate….Failing states are of international concern because they are a source of terrorists, drugs, weapons and refugees, threatening political stability everywhere.”
Thanks, AlterNet, for the heads up.
Human rights program teaches students about Holocaust, importance of tolerance – Canada.com (5/11/09)
"’What's happening in places like Darfur, with civilians being murdered and raped — it's a lot like what happened during the Holocaust.’ Erin Wadsworth, a 14-year-old ninth grader from Marshall McLuhan Catholic Secondary School in Toronto, said she has learned to ‘become less judgmental’ because of her study of human-rights issues and abuses.”
Study reveals many animals do some things “just for fun” – MSNBC.com (5/11/09)
”The findings, published in the latest Applied Animal Behavior Science, hold moral significance, argues author Jonathan Balcombe. He believes scientists, conservationists and other animal rights activists should not overlook animal joy. ‘The capacity for pleasure means that an animal's life has intrinsic value, that is, value to the individual independent of his or her value to anyone else, including humans.’"
Story of Stuff video becoming favored teaching tool – New York Times (5/11/09)
”So far, six million people have viewed the film at its site, storyofstuff.com, and millions more have seen it on YouTube. More than 7,000 schools, churches and others have ordered a DVD version, and hundreds of teachers have written Ms. Leonard to say they have assigned students to view it on the Web.”
Mexican residents point to pig factory farms for many ills – Washington Post (5/10/09)
”The overpowering stench gave them headaches and drove them from their homes. Packs of wild dogs feasted on discarded pig carcasses and occasionally turned on their children and pets. There were fears that vast lagoons of excrement from more than 1 million hogs might seep into their groundwater….The [swine flu] crisis, which appears to be abating, has inflamed tensions between the world's largest hog producer and the poor neighboring communities here that have long warned that the farms are a danger to their health.”
Thanks, Vegan.com, for the heads up.
Sierra Leone diamonds mined by children caught in “legacy of conflict” – IPS News (5/7/09)
"’The children and youth are faced with abysmal working conditions which put them at risk of accidents and diseases and expose them to collapsing mine pits,’ remarks Matthew Wells, who is co-author of the report titled ‘Digging in the Dirt: Child Miners in Sierra Leone’s Diamond Industry.’ The report paints a horrific picture of slave labour, where children - some as young as 10 - transport bags of gravel weighing between 30 and 60 kilogrammes, on their heads, working from sunrise to sunset, often without proper food or medical care.”
Thanks, Common Dreams, for the heads up.
Wolf controversy continues – Christian Science Monitor (5/7/09)
”Groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council say that the wolves are going unprotected too soon. ‘Last time the [Fish & Wildlife] Service removed legal protections, there was an all out war on wolves in the weeks that followed,’ said Louisa Willcox, director of the NRDC’s office in Livingston, Mont. ‘We are so incredibly close to fulfilling the conditions necessary to declare the wolves’ comeback as complete, but this move threatens to undo what should be an incredible conservation success story.’”
EU votes to update rules on animal experimentation – Economist (5/7/09)
”All experiments will be classified according to the degree of pain and distress they cause. If mild or moderate, animals can be used again. Those that experience severe pain will be killed. The legislation would allow mild procedures to be approved by an employer. But those causing moderate or severe pain would need the permission of a national authority.”
Media playing role in increased in persecution of Latinos, immigrants – FAIR (5/09)
”When the FBI reported that hate crimes against Hispanics had increased by an astonishing 40 percent between 2003 and 2007, professor Chon Noriega began to ask ‘whether the media plays a role in the persistence of hate speech and hate crimes.’ In a pilot study that attempts to quantify hate speech in commercial radio, Noriega tracked language on the Lou Dobbs Show, Savage Nation and the John & Ken Show. On these programs he found ‘systematic and extensive use of false facts, flawed argumentation, divisive language, and dehumanizing metaphors that are directed toward specific vulnerable groups’ —which results, Noriega argued, in marginalized populations being ‘characterized as a direct threat to the listeners’ way of life.’”
EU Votes to Ban Most Seal Products – New York Times (5/6/09)
”The ban would mainly affect Canada, where the government has allowed several hundred thousand young harp seals to be killed each year by commercial and traditional hunters on sea ice cloaking eastern and Arctic waters.... The European ban would not cover products from seals killed in subsistence hunts by the Inuit and other indigenous northern communities.”
Racism harmful to kids’ mental health – USA Today (5/5/09)
”The link between perceived racism and mental disorders is strong, he adds. For example, Hispanics who report racism are more than three times as likely as other children to have symptoms of depression; blacks are more than twice as likely; and those of ‘other’ minority races have almost quadruple the odds. Rates are also higher for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder.”
Social media becoming essential activism tool – USA Today (5/5/09)
”The proof is in the numbers: 81% of members of online communities use the Internet to participate in social causes, up from 75% in 2007, finds a survey by the Center for the Digital Future at University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication.”
Afghani girls determined to learn, despite violence, restrictions – NPR (5/1/09)
”Public education is among the many casualties of the growing war in Afghanistan, and the threat of violence is especially acute for Afghan girls. Parents, who in the past did not allow their daughters to go to school because of societal taboos, are once again keeping them at home because of the threat of attacks by militants wielding acid or worse.”
“Rights Versus Rights” - American Prospect (4/28/09)
”All the same, for Ahmadu circumcision was a choice, one she made as an adult. For the overwhelming majority of girls who undergo it that is not the case. Most only have such options when a cluster of deeply rooted values, beliefs, and hierarchies begin to deteriorate, a process that causes anguish and panic for some and offers the promise of liberation to others. The fact remains that, in general, the more alternatives girls have and the more exposure to the outside world, the less likely they are to opt for these old ways.”