Thursday, 28 July 2011

Discussion session with Dr Jane Goodall

I was lucky enough to be invited to a group discussion between Dr Jane Goodall and a variety of students and young professionals, who have been involved in interesting sustainability projects. Jane is a world famous primatologist, environmentalist and humanitarian, and founder of the Jane Goodall institute, an international wildlife and environment conservation organisation.

The meeting took place in Cape Town, South Africa, kick starting the Cape Town leg of Jane’s Roots and Shoots program. Roots and shoots is a youth program that connects thousands of youth of all ages, providing a platform that they can use to bring about positive social and environmental change in their communities.

The discussion revolved around Jane’s experiences with communities and animals, and certain themes that are important to begin a sustainable future were identified by the group.

  • Education – A big challenge in ensuring a sustainable future is education.  Educating kids from a young age is important.
  • Women and young mothers – Proper support for women and young mothers, especially regarding pregnancy and the number of children that can be comfortably raised, is a part of the cure to some of the underlying causes of this issue.
  • Listening – Coming up with solutions to a closely related socially and environmentally sensitive situation can be tricky. Listening to what the communities and individuals have to say before any action is taken is crucial in developing the best approach.
  • The role of the youth – Kids and young adults will play an extremely important role in fighting for a sustainable future, and Roots and Shoots is a great way to share ideas and experiences.
It’s a pity it was such a brief encounter, because she has so much valuable experience to share, but overall it was a fascinating discussion with an incredible woman.

Nicholas Wiid
Junior researcher & writer at green24

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