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Leadership and Activism, Learning at its Best, School Stories, Student Voices

An Eighth Grader’s Letter to Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook

Image courtesy of ralphunden via Creative Commons.

I wanted to share a recent post I wrote for, an online community for people passionate about creating a better world. Here’s an excerpt from “An Eighth-Grader’s Letter to Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook”:

This past week, I taught a humane education course to an eighth grade class in Blue Hill, Maine. The course focused on changemakers, people who work to transform unjust and inhumane systems into ones that are healthy, peaceful and compassionate.

On the first day of class, I had the students listen to an episode of This American Life, which aired an excerpt from Mike Daisey’s one-man show about the production of Apple products. Then I gave them a homework assignment to write to Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, to share their thoughts, feelings and ideas. I wanted these students to have the opportunity to use their voice to help change this unjust and inhumane system, since they couldn’t use the power of their wallets to simply choose more humane electronics.

Below is just one of their letters. I hope it will inspire you to also use your voice to create change.

Read the complete post.

~ Zoe

About zoeweil

I'm the co-founder and President of the Institute for Humane Education (IHE). IHE works to create a world in which we all live humanely, sustainably, and peaceably. We do this by training people to be humane educators who teach about the pressing issues of our time and inspire people to work for change while making healthy, humane, and restorative choices in their daily lives. We also work to advance the field of humane education, and to provide tools and inspiration to people everywhere so that they can live examined, meaningful lives. I'm also a writer. So far I've written six books and several articles.


4 thoughts on “An Eighth Grader’s Letter to Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook

  1. We seldom work in any organized way to educate kids about what they consume; in the case of electronics, we usually stop at unboxing and the user interface. Kids don’t have the chance or strategies to find out how a product gets to the store or how a program limits and incentives behavior towards programmers’ ends.

    Zoe, do you have any sense of where it’s best to start with such work? With technology? Apparel? On the flip-side of what is responsible, resilient production?

    All the best,

    Posted by Chad Sansing | January 25, 2012, 7:22 am
  2. Hi Chad,
    Since I have always done humane education programs for middle schoolers on up, I can say that this kind of work is great by 6th grade. Probably could work with younger kids if done right, but it’s tough because the issues are often too grim to expose to young children. Apparel and food are easier than electronics because there are humane and sustainable options. WIth electronics, there just aren’t yet, which is why become active (e.g. the letter to Tim Cook) is the best option. Harder with younger children for them to use their voice and critical thinking skills as fully because they’re not prepared for that sort of complexity of global issues yet.

    Posted by zoeweil | January 25, 2012, 4:23 pm
  3. Very inspiring indeed! I am in Maine as well and it is always great to learn about new things going on. Keep up the good work!

    Posted by Global Civ (@Global_Civ) | January 26, 2012, 11:08 pm

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