I’m working on the road most of this week, and am currently in Sudbury . I had the good fortune last night of seeing Dr. Jane Goodall at Laurentian University. She presented her 2010 documentary Jane’s Journey and then answered questions from the audience (you can see the trailer here). I have always thought of Dr. Goodall in terms of her work studying chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania. However, there is so much more to her work.
As the documentary explains, at a certain point she realized the chimpanzees she was studying were declining in population. And with that realization, she became an activist. Not just an activist for wildlife, however: she has become an activist for the world’s peoples and the planet itself.
Unlike many activists who create dismal visions of a planet heading irretrievably to its doom, she instead advocates the fostering of hope. Part of her philosophy is to help young people gain back what has been stolen from them by their forebears: hope for the future. She advocates saving the planet by helping the children do so.
A key program in her work is the Roots & Shoots youth action program. Roots & Shoots programs exist around the world. Essentially what it does is bring children together to accomplish three things:
- a project to help people
- a project to help animals
- a project to help the environment
The projects the children undertake are different depending on their community, but amazing things have come as a result of this program. In some communities, elders and children have been brought closer together. Communities have grown closer. And lands and animal populations have started healing in places where past devastation was seen.
I’m interested now in learning more about Jane Goodall and the work of the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada. I found her talk last night truly inspiring: how to help communities learn from the wisdom of others and embark on their own storytelling.
A lot of what she is doing is such a positive model for other similar worthy work. I hope others will have their candle of hope ignited by her work and help spread this positive vision of the future.