US 2013 Humanist of the Year, Dan Savage, is perhaps best known for his adult advice column. But his major contribution to humanity may be his LGBT activism, particularly the It Gets Better Project, founded in 2010 as a response to anti-LGBT bullying. Savage had hoped that 100 people might contribute videos in support of young LGBT people; but within weeks he had received thousands of videos, including one from then-President Barack Obama. Kevin Rudd and NASA also offered support.
Such is the power of humanism: finding common humanity and offering compassion and uncompromising support where it is most needed.
A humanist perspective can be life-changing. NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, whose year in space allowed scientists to investigate the long-term effects of spaceflight, as measured against his Earth-bound twin brother; has spoken about how a cosmic perspective can create awareness of environmental and humanist ideals.
As we experience the COVID-19 crisis, we have the opportunity to apply such principles and remould Australian Humanism into a twenty-first century powerhouse – and beyond that, to determine what sort of future world we wish to create.
© 2020 Geoff Allshorn