Dr. Jane Goodall At ACS

  • by ACS Athens
  • Monday, 10 December 2018
Dr. Jane Goodall At ACS
Dr. Jane Goodall: Every single one of you makes an impact on this planet every single day

ACS Athens and its students proudly welcome the distinguished scientist and activist for habitat conservation

Dr. Jane Goodall, UN Messenger of Peace and Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute visited ACS Athens today during her “Reasons to Hope” Tour in Greece. The elementary and middle school students of ACS Athens and other schools who participated in the Roots & Shoots educational program had the opportunity to present to Dr. Goodall their ongoing social and environmental projects. The projects align with the guidelines of Roots & Shoots educational framework which offers the students the chance to work on pressing environmental issues, cultivate their problem solving and teamwork skills, become members of an international network and most importantly become themselves agents of social change for our habitat. The pioneer primatologist and anthropologist took the time to review the showcased projects and discuss with the students about their creation. After the project-based discussion, Dr. Goodall gave a short lecture to the wider student audience regarding social and environmental challenges and individuals’ roles in facing them. Dr. Goodall also promised to share with the students a video talk especially made for them before the end of the year.

In her speech, the world-renowned and award-winning scientist called everyone to action: “I have been looking at the fabulous projects of the Roots and Shoots groups. I would like to congratulate everybody for the work you are doing for making the world a better place. For those not involved in Roots and Shoots, I hope you will become members. Our programme exists currently in 80 countries and is like a growing family all around the world. The most important message of Roots and Shoots is that every single one of you has a special role to play in this life, even if you may not yet know what it is and every single one matters in the scheme of things. Every single one of you makes an impact on this planet every single day and you have a choice as to what kind of impact you make: you are either going to make things better or you do not care.” Dr. Goodall finally urged the student audience: “Go on, carry on doing good things, making the world a better Page 2 of 4 place, bringing smiles to people’s faces, making little dogs wag their tails, watering little plants.

“ The President of ACS Athens, Dr. Stefanos Gialamas, expressed his joy for hosting Dr. Goodall at ACS Athens for a second time in 2 years: “Being responsible citizens is a learned behavior that happens in stages; first is developing a social interest mindset, then creating opportunities for social engagement, and finally encouraging active participation through social devotion. It’s like learning mathematics; you have to learn addition and subtraction before you learn algebra. I am delighted to welcome Dr. Goodall to ACS Athens as one of the most responsible and inspiring global citizens I know.”

Through her lifelong work, Dr. Jane Goodall is a symbol of global ethos and an example to look up to for students and adults. She has dedicated her life to protecting life on “the planet we all share” and ACS Athens shares her dedication to serving humanity. For this reason, ACS Athens took this opportunity to support her visit in Athens and the school and invited her on campus, giving to students the opportunity to get informed and involved in the Roots & Shoots project. Dr. Goodall has always stood for the interconnectedness of all living things and the collective power of individual action and ACS Athens similarly stands for the interconnectedness between education and civic responsibility. As students can become the architects of their own learning in ACS Athens, they can also become agents of change, can make a difference and play an important role, as Dr. Goodall urges. The Dean of Academic and Student Affairs of ACS Athens, Dr. Peggy Pelonis commented on the purpose of this initiative: “Dr. Jane Goodalls’ commitment to preserving the ecosystem speaks to our hearts. Our vision “empowering students to be architects of their own learning” aims to help develop responsible citizens of the world that can be part of the solution. Her presence at ACS Athens gave students the opportunity to meet a person who singlehandedly changed perceptions about the animal world. Dr. Goodall’s Institute, Roots and Shoots is led by children who are dedicated to finding practical solutions. Indeed the place to begin is in schools (roots) so that children can grow (shoots) and become responsible citizens committed to creating a better world.”

Before the end of her visit at ACS Athens, Dr. Goodall gave a video interview to two ACS Athens students, Joshua Fields and Kathleen Morris, at the school’s Media Studio. The young reporters were eager to ask her about the early steps in her research, the challenges faced and her outlook on the planet’s future. Dr. Goodall talked about the necessary steps to be taken: “What you learn in the rainforest is that everything is interconnected. Only one goal of sustainability will not work alone. We need different people working on different fields they are passionate about. From my perspective, it is really important to achieve: first, reduction of poverty, because if you are poor you cut down the last tree and destroy the environment to grow food or make money, or in an urban environment you buy the cheapest food, you cannot afford to ask where it was made, if it harmed the Page 3 of 4 environment, if it leads to cruelty to animals or if it is cheap because of child slavery. The second one is that everyone adopts a sustainable lifestyle. Lastly, another important issue we have to be very concerned about is population growth. More people means more development and more economic development. With our planet’s natural resources it is not going to work. Your future is at stake.” Dr. Jane Goodall shared how the Roots & Shoots program started and why she feels there are reasons to hope: “I was traveling around the world seeing young people with no hope. They believed that older generations had compromised their future and there was nothing to do about it. Indeed we have compromised their future. It is not true that ‘we have not inherited the planet from our parents but borrowed it from our children’. We have stolen it and still are stealing. But I do not believe that there is no chance left, I think there is a window of time. If we all get together we can start healing some of the scars and that is what Root & Shoots is all about: to understand that as alone you cannot make much difference, but when you get to millions and billions of people making ethical choices, then you start making a better world. Roots & Shoots has members in 80 countries in the world, from kindergarten to university, making a difference.”

The faculty members of ACS Athens who worked with students on their Jane Goodall Roots & Shoots project shared their experience.

Christina Bakoyannis, the teacher responsible for the Middle School projects stated: “The goal is to create global citizens that can find practical and tangible solutions to issues that our local community faces. The work displayed for Dr. Jane Goodall’s visit at ACS Athens is work that started at the beginning of the school year and will be implemented by the end of the year. Students started their exploration during United Nations Day by having a specific sustainable development goal assigned to them. The sustainable development goals focus on the topics of climate change, poverty, and equity. Through the goal assigned to their advisory groups, students explored local issues and began the work of contacting organizations, while at the same time creating their action plans. Students also explored the life and work of Dr. Goodall and through this inspiration started working on their Roots and Shoots projects. Through these projects, students became architects of their own learning as they developed their project ideas and steps for their action plans.”

Eleftheria Maratou, the teacher responsible for Elementary School projects noted: ”The presentations of the elementary school clubs revolved around helping animals, community service and environmental awareness. All students worked very hard for their presentations and they were very excited to present their work to Ms. Goodall, who is a role model for them. They were very proud of their initiatives and being able to contribute to the Roots & Shoots program. “ Dr. Goodall’s visit to Athens this December is organized by her official office in Greece: Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots Greece, with the support of the organization “Save a Greek Stray”, Pallas Theater, the British Council Greece and the “Science Communication (Sci Co)” Page 4 of 4 Organization, with the support of the British Embassy and the sponsorship of American Community Schools (ACS Athens) and St. George Lycabettus Hotel. #JaneGreece2018