Our blog author Jen Duffy is the Manager of Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots in Canada, Co-Chair of the Global Roots & Shoots Committee and Chair of the Global Roots & Shoots Peace Day Committee. She lives in Edmonton, Canada with her wonderful wife and amazing 2-year-old and has a background in palaeontology and education. She aspires to encourage anyone who will listen to celebrate the diversity of the world around us.
On the eve of this year’s International Day of Peace (September 21st) I received word from my colleagues in the Democratic Republic of Congo that violence had erupted in the northeastern part of the country. Amidst the photos of blood and gore they were sending me were a few serene images of their Roots & Shoots team building a Giant Peace Dove. The picture to the left is of the Roots & Shoots DRC team flying their Giant Peace Dove ©Roots & Shoots DRC. The juxtaposition was stark and tremendously moving and underscored the beauty of the work Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots does.
Roots & Shoots
Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots is the environmental and humanitarian youth engagement program of the Jane Goodall Institute. Created in 1991 by Dr. Jane Goodall, and active in nearly 100 countries, the program engages 150,000 young people in youth-led campaigns and projects that break down barriers within humanity and between us and the natural world. The key message of the program is that every individual matters, every individual has a role to play, every individual makes a difference—everyday.
A United Nations Messenger of Peace, Dr. Jane founded Roots & Shoots Peace Day in 2004 to honour the UN International Day of Peace. Each September, our members around the world take action on ways to live peacefully and sustainably with people, other animals and our environment.
In the words of Dr. Jane Goodall: “Each Roots & Shoots project is a step towards a future in which humans can live in peace in an environmentally sustainable way.”
This year, Roots & Shoots members in community centres, zoos, and preschool to post-secondary schools led peace-building activities around the globe.
Peace Building Activities around the World
In Kampala, Uganda, the community planted a Peace Pole inspired by the World Peace Prayer Society that declared May Peace Prevail on Earth. In Toronto, Canada, university students educated their peers about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and how they are building blocks for peace. In Karachi, Pakistan, university students created posters celebrating diversity. In Brussels, Belgium, young people wrote messages on cut-outs of the Common Swift and mailed them to peers along the birds’ migration paths. In Bogotá, Colombia, university students wrote and performed a peace play in the local theatre.
In Melbourne, Australia, elementary students painted peace messages with local clays. In Holbrook, USA, elementary students created a public service announcement contrasting incidents of horrible violence with pathways to peace. In Singapore, young people held an international cuisine picnic, celebrating their differences and sharing their love of food.
And in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, they flew their Giant Peace Dove high and proud despite the turmoil around them—as they did in Burundi, Israel, Colombia and dozens of other countries, providing a powerful symbol of the hope our founder and our members have of peace prevailing on Earth.