Every year, I am honoured to be invited back to Dr Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots Awards. Last month, I flew back from Germany earlier than planned to attend the ceremony at London’s Barbican Centre and I’m so pleased I didn’t miss this inspiring event.
Hundreds of thousands of people across the globe are signed up to Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots – a youth service program founded in 1991, which works to encourage and inspire future generations to take action to make the world a better place for all who live on it.
Each year, a select number of young individuals and groups are invited to the awards ceremony in recognition of the amazing things they have been doing to improve the environment around them for both people and animals. From organising litter picks in their local area and helping towns go plastic-free to developing beeswax food wraps and raising money to build toilets in developing countries, the UK’s young people have certainly been busy. As Jane circulated the event, talking to each of the attendees, she commented that “young people are the ones that give me the greatest hope for our environment.”
A popular highlight of the Roots & Shoots Awards is their annual ‘Trashion Show’ in which pupils from Accrington St Christopher’s Church of England High School create fashionable and creative garments using waste materials. For the first time, this year’s event also included a representative performance called ‘Dancing against the tide of plastic’ in which students from Queen Elizabeth II High School told the story of the damage plastic pollution is doing to our oceans and the creatures that live in it.
Executive Director of Roots & Shoots UK, Tara Golshan, said that “Twelve years on from when we started in the UK, the programme has gone from strength to strength. The awards were truly delightful, moving and inspirational. Our young members displayed creativity, resilience and perseverance in their endeavours to secure and preserve the future of our planet. Long may it continue.”