Expo City Dubai to partner with eco-warrior Dr Jane Goodall, help children save the planet

Roots & Shoots programme to entail student workshops, tree-planting, beekeeping, habitat conservation and more

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Nandini Sircar

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Dr Jane Goodall
Dr Jane Goodall

Published: Mon 22 Jan 2024, 5:50 PM

Last updated: Mon 22 Jan 2024, 9:53 PM

Students in the UAE will now be able to engage in international collaboration to go beyond classrooms, becoming environmental stewards and fostering an ‘outward-looking’ perspective.

This initiative aims to nurture responsibility towards the planet, cultivate eco-conscious individuals, and attract support from corporate entities and philanthropists. The goal is to equip students with skills for a sustainable future and build partnerships with key stakeholders.

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To accelerate these efforts, renowned ethologist Dr Jane Goodall is currently in Dubai following Expo City's announcement of its alliance with the Jane Goodall Institute's Roots & Shoots programme. This initiative focuses on global youth outreach in environmental conservation, animal welfare, and humanitarian efforts.

As part of the agreement, Dr Goodall will establish the region's first permanent office of Roots & Shoots at Terra – The Sustainability Pavilion, which forms the heart of Expo City's green education programmes.

By working together, the initiative aims to help make the world a better place for people, animals and the environment – extending Dr Jane's legacy and Expo City's commitment to preserving the planet to the wider region and beyond.

Dr Goodall explained that it is imperative that the next generation be involved in conversations pertaining to youth learning opportunities around sustainability and the environment.

“The Roots & Shoots programmes absolutely aims to get children into things and we try to get nature into them. What you are fascinated by, you learn to understand and love it and then you try to save it. We are much closer to the animal kingdom that we think we are.”

Range of interactive activities for children

Roots & Shoots UAE will be a hub for cooperation, building on Terra’s mission to put the climate at the forefront of everyone’s minds and leverage the Expo School Programme’s network to expand among Arabic and English public and private institutions.

It will offer a range of interactive student workshops spanning tree-planting, beekeeping and habitat conservation within its inspiring grounds, as well as in schools and outdoors, while also providing valuable resources for teachers and hosting engaging, educational community events.

Impact of children on shaping perspectives

Responding to a question by Khaleej Times and sharing an incident about the impact of children on shaping perspectives, Goodall highlighted that even well-established businesses have transformed when influenced by the insights of youngsters.

“I talk to a lot of CEOs, big businesses, and one thing that I’ve realized is that there is no point shouting at them that they are wrong. That’s because they are not going to listen. To change people you have to change them from within. You have got to reach their heart. I met the CEO of a multinational company and he said in the last few years I have tried to make my business more sustainable and ethical in the supply chain and the way we treat our customers. But it didn’t happen. But once my child said, 'Daddy tell me what you are doing is not harming the planet? That’s because it’s my planet'. That reached his heart. So Roots and Shoots is absolutely about getting children into nature.”

Collaborative action

Meanwhile, Marjan Faraidooni, Chief of Education and Culture, Expo City Dubai, explained as an inclusive, action-oriented community and a hub for climate solutions, Expo City Dubai is committed to driving collaborative action to preserve the environment.

Faraidooni said, “We are very proud to say that following Expo 2020 we have maintained our position within the school market. Here schools can come and learn about the environment, history and culture. So, with this collaboration, we make sure that we provide different ways of empowering the youth so that they take action towards the environment.

“In this collaboration, the idea is to set up the Roots and Shoots and create awareness around the work that they have done. The work also depends on how they infiltrate the school system and what kind of projects come out of it, that corporates and philanthropists can be part of,” she added.

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