Once upon a time there was a little English girl called Jane who loved animals and loved to read comics. Her favorite was, “Tarzan of the Apes.”
Jane loved the fact Tarzan lived with animals and married a girl called Jane. In her mind she fantasized, “That’s what I want to do when I grow up. I want to live with animals.”
For most, childhood dreams remain a fantasy. Not for this young girl. In fact, this young girl went on to live with chimpanzees in Tanzania and become a world-renowned conservationist. You probably know her name: Jane Goodall.
About 2 months ago I was listening to one of her many podcasts about HOPE.* She said in spite of all of the challenging and depressing news about the world and the condition of our planet, she holds out much HOPE for people and the world.
She gave 3 reasons:
1) HUMANS because of our advanced cognitive development, abilities and, desire to survive, have the ability to solve the climate crisis. While much of what we have done has been destructive, much has been good.
2) NATURE is resilient. She used as an example the small weed that finds life and creeps out of a crack in the sidewalk. You have likely seen this yourself. Today trees, plants and mammals have returned to Mount St. Helen’s, which in 1980 was the site of one of the most destructive volcanic eruptions. The area is now a part of the Gifford Pinchot National Park and is open for camping and hiking.
3) YOUNG PEOPLE“It is young people who will change the world.” She spent a lot of time with young people and was fascinated by their enthusiasm and desire to make change.
In fact, she said, they are already doing just that. At first, she found many young people discouraged somewhat depressed and without much hope for their future.
Jane, unlike many who just listen to people complaining, did something about it. In addition to her amazing work with chimpanzees, in 1991 she started an organization aimed at helping young people learn to live in harmony with each other and the natural world. The organization is called Roots and Shoots. It is in 65 countries including Canada, the U.S. and the U.K.
In general, she encourages young people to find something they are passionate about and act on it. She has found young people start small, but they quickly see the results of their actions and become more involved, often encouraging their friends to become involved.
1) Green Pac is a Canadian action-oriented green organization. Among other things, it supports young people becoming government interns to parliamentarians concerned about climate. Their website is https://www.greenpac.ca/
2) Rotoract is a Rotary programme for High School students. Rotoract is for people under 30. Rotary’s motto is “Service Above self.” Ask someone you may know who is in Rotary or go online for info about Rotary: https://trfcanada.org/ or for Rotoracthttps://www.rotaractcanada.org/
3) Malala is a young person who defied the authorities in Pakistan in support of education for girls. You likely know her story, being shot, hovering close to death, surviving, and continuing her work on education for girls. She went on to win a Nobel Peace Prize. For inspiration go online under Malala or read her book. There is much to inspire you.
1) Another source of inspiration is Autumn Peltier, a young Indigenous person from Manitoulin Island who from the age of 8 has advocated for clean water for Indigenous Peoples. For more information about Autumn Peltier go online to https://naaee.org/about-us/people/autumn-peltier
2) We have all heard of Greta Thunberg, a young Swedish girl who advocates for political action on climate change. Her actions have motivated thousands of young people to become involved. For more inspiration and information about Greta Thunberg, go online to: https://fridaysforfuture.org/what-we-do/who-we-are/
3) Scouts were an early reason for much of my involvement in volunteering. I am now somewhat removed from the Scouting organization. Much of their work is still about volunteering and service. Go to Scouts Canadahttps://www.scouts.ca/ or Scouts U.S.https://www.scouting.org/
4) Schools in Ontario and other jurisdictions require students to spend 40 hours volunteering in order to graduate from High School. Many teachers also encourage their students to get involved. It is unfortunate about the demise of WE, who worked with students to transition from ME to WE with very practical and hands-on programmes. If interested the book, “What WE Lost,” by Twafiq Rangwala explains their programmes and the tragedy of their demise. https://www.whatwelost.com/
My guess is you do not fit the profile of Roots and Shoots and most of the other programmes mentioned. However, you likely have children and grandchildren who do. You might find by encouraging them to become engaged in one of these or similar programmes you are leaving a great legacy.** Setting an example yourself can also help pass the torch to the young and help to improve/change or save the world.
Till next time,
*Jane Goodall has done many podcasts and YouTube discussions, many to do with Hope (which she calls HOPECASTS). You can Google Jane Goodall podcasts, hope or Jane Goodall YouTube.
** If you like this blog, please pass it along to your friends