There are many ways to get involved. This could be getting involved in your community, in an organization/club, or even doing small things at home that could help make the world a better place just through changing your daily routine. Through all of the excuses lay unenlightened, uncultivated minds that can be taught how to simplify what they are currently doing every day. You don’t need to always make big leaps to get where you are going; small steps are just as good on the path to a better tomorrow. Start simple and grow it into something larger! Make a choice to change one thing in your life and then change it throughout your family! The old adage of ‘actions speak louder than words’ may work for some people, but when you put your actions and words together, they can be that much stronger for creating a tomorrow we want to be a part of and a future we would be proud of to leave for generations to come.
Doing this alone may not always be easy, nor asking for help. The best way to invite more volunteers is to connect with those may have the spark of interest in them to help, but may feel that it is either out of their reach or they don’t know where to get started. It seems that more and more youth are wanting to join animal protection groups, but are not informed enough, or connected to information and volunteering opportunities (Bekoff, 2013). By supporting them to properly search for information, younger generations can make more informed choices that will lead to more involvement and a brighter future. Let’s consider inclusivity! Let’s inspire excitement and involvement in the changes happening to make a better world. Everyone can take part in changing the world we all share.
“Science alone doesn’t hold the answers to the current crisis, nor does it get people to act” (Bekoff, 2013, p. xvii). There needs to be a way to still prove to those who do not see a problem that one exists. Using actual scientific evidence is one way, and we as advocates need to stop talking AT people and start talking WITH people. Let’s connect on common interests and concerns. In addition, set aside passing judgement and instead offer sustainable alternatives that can model how life changes could help the overall big picture. Always keep the MOGO mindset by not judging what others do, and instead supporting what can be done with a most good, least harm mindset.
It is good to ask ourselves the question: “What does it mean to be a humane being in today’s world?”
When defining what HUMANE means you can come up with many different definitions. One of my favorites came from vocabulary.com which defines a humane person as “one who shows great compassion and caring for others, including [non-human] animals, and who tries whenever possible to alleviate another’s suffering (10).” It even concluded with stating: “The idea of being HUMANE is linked to a higher level of a person’s character (10).” Just because the word humane contains the word human, does not mean that all humans carry this trait. That is the type of world we are striving for and humane education is one way of getting there. Being synonymous with words like civilized, merciful, and humanitarian definitely helps bring in the feeling of helping those who are unable to help themselves.
Giving those who cannot speak for themselves a voice helps in this process by motivating change in the right direction. It is not always good enough to just help those who are perceived to be in need. Understanding what they truly need, what they are trying to communicate to the outside world, and explaining those needs to others are among the important missing parts that could close the gap between “us” and “them”; inclusive of whoever that may be.
One study performed in 2005, regarding human empathy and attitudes toward non-human animals, noted that E.S. Paul and J.A. Serpell (1993) suggested if we stop and realize what experiences are giving us the foundation for our underlying attitudes toward animal welfare issues, then it may end up “aid[ing] in the development of effective humane education interventions and programs (7).” Looking at why we care for non-human animals and treat them the way we do is just as important as finding ways to change practices currently in place. “Paul and Serpell (1993) found an association between childhood companion animal keeping and increased concern about animal and human welfare (7).” By sharing education on these topics and exposure to non-human animals at young ages, we can create a brighter future, not just for non-human animals, but also for humankind. Empathy can be shared across all species if you teach that everything and everyone is connected, doing their part to keep the world in harmony.