Jessica – VIC
What does a sustainable future look like to you?
I envisage a sustainable future as one where humans have found their ‘ecological balance’ with the natural world. To achieve this we’ll have to focus on adopting renewable energies, addressing global overpopulation, improving our waste management and actively restoring damaged ecosystems. This responsibility can be shared if we each adopt some simple ecologically friendly habits. That could include anything from reducing our meat intake, using capsule wardrobes or avoiding single use plastic by buying from fresh food markets. Thankfully there are already so many technologies being pioneered to help us on this path- like plastic substitutes made with biodegradable plant-based materials and clothes made with recycled coffee grounds! Many natural environments have thankfully shown a promising ability to recover from degradation. When fully functional, ecosystems can purify our water, recycle waste and produce raw materials- which is why it is vital we do everything we can to conserve biodiversity. At the rate that we’re currently losing species it’s important we act now secure our future on this earth!
What role do young people play in inspiring actions that connect people to animals and our shared environment?
From my experience working in schools as a Wildlife Educator, I know children to be the most amazing resource for fostering empathy for animals and the environment. I’ve watched kids cry with joy patting a koala, give the sweetest cuddles to huge pythons and lace monitors, seen their jaws drop seeing quolls they never knew existed till that day and finally frown with shame when I explain how close many of these animals are to extinction. I’ve spied quite a few picking up rubbish after the programs and have had countless conversations about how much love they have for our wildlife. Kids never fail to give me hope for the future, as they are absolutely overflowing with ideas and empathy! It’s so important that programs like Roots & Shoots are giving children the opportunity to learn about environmental/humanitarian issues, as they have so much to contribute.
Where did you first hear about Dr Jane Goodall, and what does she mean to you now as part of the NYLC?
I always remember having an awareness of Dr Jane, but first remember being truly inspired by her work after watching a 60 minutes documentary in early high school. I think her message really hit home for me at that point in my life, as I was struggling to come to terms with learning about the many environmental we’re facing. Dr Jane has been the most positive role model for me, significantly because of her intellect, excellent ethics and ability to inspire others in the kindest of ways. She is everything that I hope to become. As a fellow woman in science I feel encouraged by Dr Jane’s success in both academia and leadership. I am proud to be a member of NYLC and represent everything that her work stands for.
Do you have any advice on how approach becoming an active part of Roots & Shoots Australia?
My advice for anyone wishing to contribute to Roots & Shoots firstly to reach out to any local groups, but also not to be afraid to start a branch yourself. All you need is a passion about any issue in your area and some likeminded friends. You’ll meet so many others along the way, and never forget that even the simplest of contributions can have the most amazing impact.