Only a week left till Dr. Jane Goodall attends the Roots & Shoots International School Summit at Western Academy Beijing (WAB). But what’s that "X factor" about Dr. Jane Goodall that has lots of Roots & Shoots students looking forward to seeing her in person? Well, she is a world’s well-known primatologist and was named UN Messenger of Peace in 2001. Wait, there’s more – she is an inspiration icon for millions.
The main reason is that many people view her as the hero who is saving the world without super hero abilities. She is an example of how to help the environment and the animals and of how one person can make a change.
Her journey started in 1960, when she decided to go to Africa and start her pioneering research in chimpanzee behavior at the Gombe National Park in Tanzania. There, she discovered her love for animals and for nature. After years living with the chimpanzees, she realized that the world has changed in many ways. One drastic change she witnessed was the disappearance of forests resulting in the loss of habitat for many animals. After this discovery she quickly came to the conclusion that she had to do something. The animals had brought a lot of joy and happiness into her life and it was her time to give it back.
Jane’s idea was to bring awareness of environmental problems and animal protection to a wider audience. She began to travel – a lot – holding speeches and lectures about her life with the chimpanzees and about the impetus for change. She had come to the realization that young people are the foundation of the society (the “roots”) and therefore, had the power to change something as they grew older, becoming the “shoots”.
That was the beginning of Roots & Shoots, the biggest offshoot of the Jane Goodall Institute, which focuses on environmental and humanitarian education dealing with three main areas: Environment, Animals, and Community.
Roots & Shoots has been active in China since 1994 when the first R&S Group was established at WAB. Now, years later, there are more than 800 R&S Groups active in China. This year’s International School Summit is very special to Roots & Shoots members as we celebrate our 20th Anniversary! Therefore, many students will come and join us on this unique event.
As described in the previous blog posts (part 1, 2, and 3), different schools will present their achievements to Dr. Jane Goodall and all in attendance. Furthermore, the audience will listen to a panel discussion, including Dr. Goodall and one representative from each school. The students have the chance to prepare questions to either Dr. Goodall or the other international schools and directly ask them in person on that day. For those who cannot attend the summit, a livestream will be provided so that they can follow the whole panel at home. More importantly, they will see Dr. Jane Goodall holding her speech live, an experience not to be missed.
Roots & Shoots Beijing and host school WAB staff are thrilled about the event, meeting all the students, and hearing about projects. And not to forget- so is Jane.