Every new year gives us an opportunity to sow hope and renewal for the coming spring. From seeds to children: one seed and one child can make a difference.
One such child in England got her inspiration while sitting in a Birch tree reading her beloved Tarzan books written by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Her love grew into a passion that led her to Kenya, Africa in 1957. This little girl became the renowned primatologist, Jane Goodall, who taught us about the social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees in Africa (www.janegoodall.org).
In 1991 Goodall expanded her research and advocacy through conservation efforts to save the forest and jungles of Africa. In her published book, “Seeds of Hope: Wisdom and Wonder from the World of Plants” (April 2014) Goodall recounts how plants played a significant role on her journey from her home in England to the African jungles.
I had the good fortune of attending a talk given by Jane Goodall at Dominican University in San Rafael in early April 2014. Her story was fascinating and inspirational. (See video link below to watch). I also purchased her book and have enjoyed reading it.
In her book, Goodall explores all aspects of plants: from the seeds, roots and shoots, to the trunks, branches, leaves and canopies. Looking at the details helps us understand the connections. She goes beyond basic biology and also presents possibilities: from saving species from extinction through storing seeds in seed banks around the world to the possibilities of plants being sentient and able to communicate with each other and other plant species—as supported by scientific experiments. Goodall examines the historical agricultural movement including plantations and the role of agribusiness in producing our food crops. She also brings into conversation the resurgence of the healing plant movement and discusses the many medicinal properties of plants.
Seeds of Hope: Wisdom and Wonder from the World of Plants (Hardcover)
By Jane Goodall, Michael Pollan (Introduction); Gail Hudson (Contributor)
Published: Grand Central Publishing
Goodall champions seeds of hope and seeds of change. She finds hope in saving the plant and animal kingdoms – and ourselves -- through the youth. In 1991 she started a program called Roots & Shoots, with twelve secondary-school students in Dar Salaam, Tanzania. There are now over 15,000 active groups in 130 countries. Participants range in ages preschool through university. The goal of each Roots & Shoots group is to “encourage young people to become involved in projects that have a positive impact on the world around them. Its most important message is that every individual matters and has a role to play, that each of us makes a difference every day and that the cumulative result of thousands of millions of even small efforts brings about major change.” (pp. 148-149) Projects of Roots & Shoots groups (www.rootsandshoots.org) have included restoring wildlife habitats for plants, insects and animals, planting native species, building and installing bird nesting boxes, and growing vegetable gardens.
Today, I challenge you to take part of this “make a difference” movement and get involved in your community. As Jane Goodall has demonstrated in her life, one child can make a difference.