Jane Goodall is confident that something can be done to help save our precious earth, but we just need to roll up our sleeves and do it. 

It is no secret that given the state that our environment is in, if we do not act now, we may destroy our planet completely.World-renowned environmentalist Dr Jane Goodall has spent her life addressing this very cause. She now is urging young people to champion the movement for environmental awareness and protection, for the next generation.

Jane’s work with the protection of chimpanzees and environmental conservation efforts has been recognized the world over for more than 60 years. Jane today travels the world to raise awareness on the threat of extinction of chimpanzees as well as to raise awareness on the importance of conservation efforts for our natural world.

In a recent visit to Kuala Lumpur, in honour of the Roots & Shoots Malaysia Awards (RASMA), Jane fielded a few questions on the state of the environment globally as well as her efforts to raise awareness of the desperate state that our ecosystem is in. She calls for the youth to take action in their own ways, to start making real changes and protecting our earth.

We need to roll up our sleeves

“Young people can come together to discuss what are the issues facing the environment, and what can be done about these issues. Something can be done, we just need to roll up our sleeves [and do it],” Jane said.

President of Roots & Shoots Malaysia TP Lim and Jane Goodall

Jane emphasized that our earth has limited resources and if we do not act now to save it, there will be none left for the next generation.

“To me, it’s not right to go up to a Government official and say ‘you’ve got to change, this is our future you are messing with’ unless [we are] doing something to help [our own] future,” Jane said, adding that the change should start with us, and what we can do to help the environment.

“Young people are good at raising money for causes, writing letters and lobbying, trying to get the government to answer their questions, and they care about the future. Because it’s their future,” she added.

Jane also explained that what is important is for young people to create awareness of the real dangers of climate change, and the other myriad of issues plaguing our natural world and to get their parents, grandparents, family and friends to get involved in making a change.

It’s difficult to stay positive, but we have to do what we can

“[It is difficult] to stay positive amidst the onslaught on the natural world, so we just have to try and give young people some hope that if they take action and don’t give up, hopefully our combined efforts result in some protection [for the earth],” she added.

Jane emphasized that it can feel helpless to see species becoming extinct, and to watch our natural world deteriorate in front of us. However we cannot and should not let this deter us from trying to save what is left of our planet.

Roots and Shoots Malaysia

Roots & Shoots Malaysia is a programme under the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) and was started in 1991 pushing for positive changes for people, animals and the environment.

The 36 Malaysian volunteers who were given the RASMA Award and Jane Goodall

The RASMA Awards this year recognized 36 Malaysian youths  who volunteered with at least one of the 15 Partner Non-Governmental Organisations across Malaysia. The work that the youth were involved in was focused on conservationist activities across Malaysia’s forests, namely the Central Range, Greater Taman Negara, Cini-Bera and Endau Rompin.

The Awards were in partnership with Yayasan Hasanah, an impact-based foundation of Khazanah Nasional Berhad.

Some of the activities that were carried out during the volunteer programme included education and waste-management programmes with Orang Asli and local communities, tracking tigers and elephants in rainforests, turtle and sun bear conservation and replanting endangered species of trees.

For more information on the Roots & Shoots initiative  and the kind of causes they focus on, click here.