Roots & Shoots is an international hands-on environmental and humanitarian education program that is about making positive change happen – for the environment, for animals and for our communities. Started in 1991 by Dr. Jane Goodall and a group of Tanzanian students who wanted to make a difference in their community,R&S is now a growing global program based on the principle that everyone has the ability to bring about change.
Dr. Jane Goodall spreads her message of “making a difference” across the world. This is also the message that Roots & Shoots is working to spread across China. The Roots & Shoots program came to Beijing in 1994, and established the Beijing office in 2000. The current 600 active Roots & Shoots in China, encompassing universities, middle schools and primary, supported by offices in Beijing, Shanghai, and Chengdu.
The impacts of R&S are wide-ranging and large in scale:
- impacted over hundreds of thousands young people, permanently changing attitudes towards the environment;
- trained over 10,000 teachers from schools across the country;
- inspired alumni to effect change in key roles such as Greenpeace Campaign Manager, Friends of Nature Director of Survey and Research, or Founder of Green Eyes, a local green NGO.
In 2007, a group of Masters′ students from Columbia University conducted an evaluation of Roots & Shoots’ activities in Beijing. When compared to regular students, the report proved students that joined R&S had:
- greater knowledge of environmental and animal welfare issues;
- greater awareness affecting attitudes and behaviors toward the environment;
- greater compassion for wildlife and endangered animals;
- more empowered to take action on key issues;
- more optimistic and confident their actions yield positive community impact.
Roots & Shoots helped strengthen participants’ “confidence level regarding environment-related knowledge,” as well as changed participants’ “attitude and behavior towards the environment”. Thanks to Roots & Shoots programs, members were “optimistic and confident…that the initiatives they took in their daily lives to address environmental issues would result in an overall positive impact on their local environment.”