Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots: Inspiring Youth Activism (VIDEO)


It’s been half a century since Jane Goodall first ventured to Africa to study chimpanzees in the wild. The impact she has had not only on animal research but on fighting global climate change, protecting the environment and as a humanitarian, is immeasurable.

Today Goodall travels the world, inspiring people to take action, but what inspires her? As she told NPR’s Ira Flatow last year, it’s her youth organization Roots & Shoots. Here’s an excerpt from that interview on the program Science Friday:

Flatow: …What is at the top of your list now, Jane?

Dr. Goodall: I think the top of my list is the fact that – everywhere I go, there are particularly young people who seem to have lost hope for the future because of climate change, because of the threat of nuclear warfare, because of human population growth, because of scarcity of water, because of pollution -different people latch on to different problems. And, you know, if we all lose hope, if all youth loses hope, then there’s really very little point in any of us trying to save anything.

Flatow: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Goodall: So that led to our youth program Roots and Shoots. And of all our programs, that one is the most to me, the most inspiring.

Goodall started Roots & Shoots in 1991 with a group of 16 students in Tanzania. Today, 20 years later, tens of thousands of young people, from pre-schoolers to university students, from every state in the U.S and more than 120 countries, are involved in its initiatives.

“We began Roots & Shoots to help young people understand that they could make a difference; that they really could change their communities,” Goodall reflected in a statement on the 20th anniversary of her organization in February.

At the core of Goodall’s philosophy is that everyone has the ability to make the world a better place. Roots & Shoots works by engaging young people to identify problems in their communities and then take action through youth-led service projects and campaigns. Groups connect with their global community through the organization’s interactive website.

Watch and Listen to Goodall talk about Roots & Shoots in this video about the 20th anniversary of the organization:

“Little did we realize we had started something that would have huge global impact,” Goodall further reflected in February. “These young people give me reason for hope. Hope for the future of our much-abused world. Hope that, together, we can gradually restore the health of this planet we share—Planet Earth, our only home.”

Does Jane Goodall inspire you? Here’s your chance to meet Jane Goodall and go backstage at “Jane Goodall Live in Los Angeles.” One person will win a trip for two to Los Angeles and backstage passes to meet Jane. Care2 will also be giving away tickets to neighborhood theaters across the U.S. for the one night Jane Goodall Live event. To register, visit www.care2.com/jane. (Only open to U.S. residents).

Related Reading:

Meet Jane Goodall!

Jane Goodall Offers Hope For Chimpanzees

My Professor: Dr. Jane Goodall

Photo credit: kafka4prez via flickr

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Aimee A.
Aimee A.3 years ago

This is great! Thanks for posting!

Caterina L.
Cat L.3 years ago

What an uplifting and timely message for all. Youths are our hope. Blessings.

mary l.
mary l.3 years ago

wonderful story

Dianne Marchie
Dianne Marchie4 years ago

Jane Goodall is an amazing person.If only more people were like her.

joanna e.
joanna e.4 years ago

When you do something (important) life slows to a nature pace instead of man made.
We created time....let's take time to smell the flora.

Harshiita Sharma
Harshiita Sharma4 years ago

What an inspiring Lady Jane Godall is!!! Hats off to her.
I wish more and more people could be like her,then our world would become such a brilliant place.
Long Live Jane Godall:)

Bethany M.
Bethany M.4 years ago

I'm so glad to see this Care2 article about Dr. Jane and Roots & Shoots. As a group leader at Western Connecticut State University, I can say that R&S is a wonderful way for young people to express their concerns and get involved. It is very empowering for them to design a service project, carry it out, and see they positive results.

Roots & Shoots is gearing up for their 2nd annual North American Training Summit in New Orleans, Oct 21 and 22. I can't wait to go and meet other people who love R&S and who want to be better inspirations for their young group members. Anyone interested, check this out: www.rootsandshoots.org/summit2011

K s Goh
KS Goh4 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Maxine Brindle
Past Member 4 years ago

Jane, you are one inspiring human being. Keep up the good work.

Christine S.

Yay Jane! We need to help kids understand HOW they can help, instead of just telling them that the environment needs help- kudos to Jane for giving kids the tools to actually get out there and HELP!