April 23, 2008

Jane Goodall Gathers Young Activists for Summit

Participants from 28 countries on six continents have gathered in Orlando, Florida to take part in the Jane Goodall Global Youth Summit.

The summit brings 100 youths from around the world to youth-led panels, roundtable discussions, workshops, keynote speakers and other activities based on the themes of the environment, water issues, poverty and wildlife conservation.

"The 100 (young people) who are here represent hundreds of thousands of others," Goodall told the audience on the 38th annual Earth Day. "You hear them debate some of the problems of the world, and you know there is hope for the future."

"I was determined not to die until Roots & Shoots could survive," Goodall said, referring to her youth organization, which started on her front porch in Tanzania in 1991.

"Now I know it will. It's got its own life without me," she said.

The young people were chosen from around the world because of previous efforts they had made toward a specific cause.

For example, 21-year-old Chih-Chung Lin, pushes for reusable chopsticks to be utilized by restaurants in Taiwan where around 2.8 million disposable wooden utensils are discarded each day.

Weldon Korir, 23, founded a youth group in Kenya for HIV and malaria prevention. And Manoj Gautam, 22, runs what he calls a restaurant for vultures in a pasture in Nepal where birds, who have been dying in large numbers from tainted food, can feed on clean carcasses.

Karoline McMullen, 17, of the United States, published a textbook on the threatened native Ohio brook trout.

"It makes me hopeful for what I can do and reassures me that it's possible do what seems impossible," she said.

Goodall earned recognition in the 1960s because of her study of chimpanzees in East Africa.

She now spends the majority of a year touring the world to highlight critical issues for young people.

Other speakers slated to address young people at the summit include 2006-2007 Roots & Shoots Youth Leadership Fellow, Chase Pickering, Dan Goodman, of Biodiesel University, Henri Landwirth, founder of the Fanny Landwirth Foundation, Give Kids the World, Dignity U Wear and Building for Life.


On the Net:

Global Youth Summit

Roots & Shoots

Jane Goodall Institute