“There are stories of men and women brought close to despair as they battled bureaucracies to try to save a species from extinction, knowing that delay caused by human obstinacy was lessening their chances of success with each passing day,” Jane Goodall, renowned 77-year-old conservationist wrote in her latest book, Hope for Animals and Their World.
Symbols of hope described in the book’s introduction tell of Old Blue, nearly the last female black robin in the world who was saved from extinction by a biologist, and a tree, the last of its kind leaving seeds for new growth on its last branch after it was killed in a forest fire.
With co-author Gail Hudson and Cincinnati Zoo director Thane Maynard, Goodall describes the resilience of nature and efforts of those working to bring back species from the brink of extinction.
She has spent her life trying to teach others how nature works in an entwined balance to maintain each life, each part integral to the whole and the human responsibility to respect this.
Her program, Roots & Shoots, was started in 1991 and has grown to connect students of all ages, parents and educators in 126 countries who want to learn how they can change their communities and the world.
With the 20th anniversary of the program this year, Goodall is on the road talking to students and audiences about conservation and ways to improve their lives, along with the human and animal lives that surround them.
Goodall’s philosophy, shared by the program, is “based on the belief that every individual matters, every individual has a role to play and every individual makes a difference.”
With the hope being passed to the future generation, the she invites youth to “become the next chapter of hope for a local endangered species” and join her campaign, On the Edge: Hope for Animals and Their World.
With every creature serving an important role, students are asked, “How many species can we remove before everything crumbles?”
The campaign also explores success stories, ways to get involved, how to support organizations and what it takes to save endangered species.
This spring, students are also being asked to create a public service announcement about a local endangered species with a call to action to share with their communities. Groups will be able to participate in a contest with mini-grants awarded to the winners.
You can visit Goodall’s Roots & Shoots and the On the Edge: Hope for Animals and Their World campaign to learn more and find a threatened or endangered species in your area and learn about ways to protect them and the environment.
Photo: USFWS Endangered Species