I'm a Humane Educator: Promoting Compassion Education and Sustainable Travel
by Institute for Humane Education
(Click here to read the original blogpost)
Vincie Ho is the co-founder of Mini Acts for the Greater Good (MAGG) and the creator of the sustainable travel card game Paths Crossing. She is also an advisor to the Humane Education Coalition and the co-lead for Impact Travel Alliance Hong Kong Chapter. She is “passionate about all issues related to social justice, animal protection, environmental sustainability, and travel ethics.”
Vincie is currently enrolled in Institute for Humane Education (IHE)’s Graduate Certificate in Humane Education program. She has a Ph.D. in linguistics and worked as a university French teacher for more than 10 years prior to relocating to the US in 2014.
We asked Vincie to share about her work for a better world.
IHE: What led you to the path of humane education?
VH: I had not heard of humane education as an established academic discipline before I moved to the US. When my friend (who later became MAGG’s other co-founder) and I brainstormed about which social cause we’d like our future organization to focus on, we had a hard time deciding what to prioritize, since we found all social causes important and interconnected, and it was impossible to just single out one cause to concentrate our energy and resources on while neglecting other causes.
We both agreed that “compassion education” is the key to addressing the root causes of the most pressing issues the world is facing, so we put all our efforts in promoting the cultivation of compassion in the schools in Hong Kong. While researching resources on teaching compassion, I stumbled across IHE’s website and started to read more about humane education.
It turned out to be exactly what we’d been doing, but with a lot more structure, depth, and substance. I then took one of IHE’s online courses, which inspired me to pursue studies in humane education at the graduate level.
IHE: What inspired you to create a travel card game focused on travel ethics and sustainability (and the MOGO principle)?
VH: We as travelers, often more unknowingly than not, have a profound impact on the cultures, economies, animals, and environments of the places we visit. As a frequent traveler ever-concerned with the negative impact of the growing global travel industry, I thought to devise a fun way to spread awareness about sustainable travel — one which would spur us to think more deeply about our actions and choices as travelers. I believe that by making conscious choices about how we travel, we have the power to maximize the good and minimize the harm we do to our travel destinations.
IHE: Tell us a bit about the game.
VH: Paths Crossing is a portable card game exclusively designed for travel enthusiasts. It aims to bring people together as they cross paths around the world. Not only is the game an amazing way to connect with others and start conversations about the adventures we’ve had, it also encourages deeper reflection on our own travel habits. We hope to inspire more thoughtful, respectful, and compassionate attitudes towards the people, animals, and places we find ourselves near.
The game contains 200+ mini-cards in four main categories: “travel habits and preferences”; “travel experiences and encounters”; “travel ethics and sustainability”; and “countries and cultures.”
The first two categories are primarily conversation starters which allow players to share experiences; the remaining two categories are questions with which players discover fun facts and tips about how to travel more responsibly, ethically, and sustainably. QR codes on the cards point players to the answers to the questions, together with suggested references for further reading.
Ten percent of our proceeds will be donated to nonprofits that empower (1) refugees forced to travel hundreds of miles to seek asylum, and (2) underprivileged young people who lack the means to travel.
A portion of the profits will also benefit efforts to promote sustainable travel practices through education.
Our card game is printed on recycled paper, and our packaging is made from 100% recycled, recyclable, and biodegradable materials and fair-trade organic cotton (for the pouches).
We also have a no-refund policy, which is a mindful decision on our part that goes hand-in-hand with our philosophy. We believe the culture of free returns enables careless and impulsive shopping, leading to an astronomical excess of pollution and waste. We hope to work together with our customers to reduce carbon footprints and pollution, so that successive generations may enjoy the planet as we do.
IHE: You’ve also co-founded an organization called Mini Acts for the Greater Good. Tell us about that.
VH: Mini Acts for the Greater Good is a nonprofit organization, founded in 2015 and based in Hong Kong, whose mission is to nurture empathy and compassion among young people through service learning, educational workshops, and teacher training.
IHE: What are some of your future humane education goals?
VH: My humane education goals include expanding MAGG’s teacher training program in Hong Kong and organizing more workshops in schools on social justice, animal protection, environmental ethics, and sustainable travel. Here in the US, I’m looking forward to working with the Humane Education Coalition to publish the first peer-reviewed international academic journal of humane education, which is scheduled to release in 2019. I’m also hoping to find a paid job in the field of humane education upon the completion of my graduate certificate program. I’ll also continue to work hard on bringing the philosophy of sustainable travel to a broader public through Paths Crossing.