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The Health Science Podcast | Episode 061. | January 04, 2024
061: Humane Education is the Solution with Zoe Weil 
061: Humane Education is the Solution with Zoe Weil 

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Zoe Weil, co-founder and president of the Institute for Humane Education (IHE), has emerged as a visionary in the realm of humane education. During this episode of the NHA Health Science podcast, Dr. Frank Sabatino explores Zoe’s transformative journey, her profound contributions to education, and the innovative Solutionary Framework that defines her approach.

Early Influences and Awakening

Zoe’s evolution into a humane educator was a gradual process shaped by personal experiences and ethical considerations. From her early affinity for animals to encounters with vegetarianism in unexpected places, Zoe’s ethical connections crystallized. A defining moment with a sheep named Wooly Baba underscored the intersection of personal choices and ethical considerations, setting her on a path towards transformative education.

From Passion to Purpose

Zoe’s academic journey, spanning pre-med, law school, and divinity school, took a decisive turn with the reading of Peter Singer’s “Animal Liberation.” This pivotal moment led her to focus on animal issues and eventually become a humane educator. In 1989, she founded a humane education organization in Philadelphia, later co-founding the Institute for Humane Education in 1996 to extend the impact globally.

Founding the Institute for Humane Education

The inception of IHE marked a shift from reaching thousands to training educators worldwide. Zoe envisioned a transformative framework, and IHE became the platform for realizing this vision. The institute’s global initiatives, including graduate programs, Solutionary Micro-credential Program, and teacher resources, reflect Zoe’s commitment to reshaping education on a global scale.

Solutionaries and Transformative Framework

Zoe’s visionary concept of “solutionaries” emphasizes identifying and transforming unsustainable, unjust, and inhumane systems for the greater good. The Solutionary Micro-Credential Program empowers teachers globally to integrate humane education into their classrooms. The four-phase solutionary framework — identify, investigate, innovate, and implement — serves as a practical guide for students to address real-world problems.

Challenges in Educational Paradigms

Humane education faces challenges within traditional systems, including standardized testing and limited teacher autonomy. Zoe’s approach addresses these hurdles by seamlessly integrating the solutionary framework into existing curricula, allowing students to engage with academic material in a way that resonates with their concerns.

Nurturing Creativity and Individuality

At the core of Zoe’s humane education model is the support for nurturing creativity and individuality. By empowering students to address problems of personal significance, the framework encourages diverse perspectives and innovative thinking. Humane education celebrates the unique strengths and interests of each student within the context of shared projects.

Zoe Weil’s transformative journey from personal convictions to the forefront of humane education exemplifies the power of passionate individuals. Through the Institute for Humane Education and the Solutionary Micro-credential Program, Zoe continues to inspire educators to instill a sense of agency, compassion, and critical thinking in the next generation.

Episode Highlights

[00:00]             Introduction

[01:45]             The World Becomes What We Teach… the book.

[05:00]             Making the ultimate connection to animal cruelty.

[10:00]             Peace begins with the children.

[16:00]             Breaking problems down to create solutions for children.

[23:00]             Teaching is the profession that holds the future in our hands.

[31:00]             Preparing children to be Solutionaries.

[33:30]             The True Price of the mindless purchase of a cheeseburger.

[41:15]             Collaboration is the common denominator.

[45:00]             Understanding the impact of all our choices.

[47:30]             Closing thoughts.

About Zoe Weil

Zoe Weil is the co-founder and president of the Institute for Humane Education (IHE), where she created the first graduate programs (M.Ed., M.A., Ed.D., Graduate Certificate) in comprehensive Humane Education linking human rights, environmental preservation, and animal protection, offered online through an affiliation with Antioch University.

IHE also offers a Solutionary Micro-credential Program for teachers, a free Solutionary Guidebook for educators, How To Be A Solutionary guidebook for students and changemakers, Solutionary Workshops, and award-winning teacher resources to help educators and changemakers bring solutionary practices to students and communities so that together we can effectively solve local and global challenges.

Zoe is a frequent keynote speaker at education and other conferences and has given six TEDx talks including her acclaimed TEDx, The World Becomes What You Teach. She is the author of seven books including #1 Amazon best seller The World Becomes What We Teach: Educating a Generation of Solutionaries; Nautilus silver medal winner Most Good, Least Harm, Moonbeam gold medal winner Claude and Medea, and Above All, Be Kind: Raising a Humane Child in Challenging Times.

Zoe was named one of Maine Magazine’s 50 independent leaders transforming their communities and the state and is the recipient of the Unity College Women in Environmental Leadership award. She was also a subject of the Americans Who Tell the Truth portrait series and received the Distinguished Alumnae Achievement Award from the Nightingale-Bamford School. She holds master’s degrees from Harvard Divinity School and the University of Pennsylvania and was awarded an honorary doctorate from Valparaiso University.

More information on Institute of Humane Education:

About Dr. Frank Sabatino

As a recognized authority on the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle, Dr. Frank Sabatino has cared for and inspired thousands of people for over 40 years. Dr. Sabatino has a PhD in cell biology and neuroendocrinology and has done extensive landmark research on calorie restriction, stress, and aging. He currently is on staff at the TrueNorth Health Foundation in Santa Rosa, CA, and serves as the Director of Health Education at the NHA.

Dr. Sabatino’s passion and life’s work include raising awareness about the benefits of whole-food, plant-exclusive nutrition (without added salt, oil, or sugar), health rejuvenation and stress management.

About NHA

The National Health Association (NHA), founded in 1948, is a nonprofit organization that promotes the benefits of a plant-based diet. The Association provides educational materials, educational events, and services to thousands of people around the world.

The mission of the National Health Association is to educate and empower individuals to understand that health results from healthful living. The NHA recognizes the integration of all aspects of health: personal, environmental, and social.

The NHA also provides travel experiences around the globe through the NHA Plant-Based Travel and cruise division.

More information:


A unique benefit of the NHA Conference is the selection of two medical students who receive a full scholarship to the conference.

Contact Wanda Huberman for more information on how to apply for the scholarship.    [email protected]

NHA membership

For a very nominal investment, you can enjoy incredible benefits of the NHA membership.

Members of the NHA enjoy a subscription to the award-winning quarterly health journal, Health Science, access to the “Members Only” section of the NHA Website (which contains all 43 years of back issues of the magazine),  the ability to download for free many classic out of print eBooks on the history of the Natural Hygiene Movement, including Fasting Can Save Your Life and The Greatest Health Discovery, discounts on books, and early notice of the NHA events.

Only $35 a year for basic membership within the United States.

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