During the summer holidays, the annual gathering of inspiring, young individuals from all over the world, took place at the beautiful and historic St George’s House, Windsor Castle. With representatives from 24 countries, days were spent getting to know one anther, brainstorming and collaborating. Friendships and memories for life were quickly formed!
We were very lucky that Joshua Holden from Accrington St Christopher’s Church of England High School represented the UK; and Dulwich Prep, London came for a very special day, delivering a very moving and uplifting presentation to their wrapt audience. Here are their thoughts on the Summit.
Joshua:“Where do I start? To this day I still cannot believe that I have spent a week in Windsor Castle, sharing thoughts and feelings about essential topics such as Palm Oil, Peace and the well being of our beloved chimpanzees, with such an amazing group of people. A group that included people from across the globe and from all different backgrounds. I am so lucky to have been given this amazing opportunity and I am reminded of this every day that I look back on the lifelong memories I have made whilst at Windsor Castle!
My time in Windsor has inspired me to take action for what I believe is right and to get the message out about how we can change small parts of our lives to make a big difference. I enjoyed talking to different people about their countries and cultures and what their day to day life involves, in comparison to mine. It opened my eyes to how special the Windsor gathering was because it showed that a small group of people can make a real difference on our planet. I enjoyed learning about the different laws in different countries like the US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, and how they differed from the laws we have here. And of course, there was Jane.
Spending a week with Dr Jane Goodall was amazing. She inspired me with every word and made me feel as though I had the power to help make a change. She told me ‘Without tears in the eyes, there cannot be a rainbow in the heart’ and this taught me that it is good to show your emotions, especially when you are passionate about something that sometimes others aren’t.
I decided, during my time in Windsor, to enroll myself on to the ‘ISEEE’ Projects. The ISEEE project aims to promote equal rights for everyone regardless of the Social Class, Age, Gender, Ethnicity or Sexual Orientation. I also joined the ‘No Waste November’ Campaign which is aiming to raise awareness of how our actions can affect the planet, such as the use of plastic, eating lots of meat and using your car instead of walking or riding a bike, just to name a few. I have a lot of trust that these campaigns will do well as we work together across the globe to push the projects forward, and I can’t wait to see the change that will come from these projects.
I will never forget my week in Windsor, the whole experience was a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity that I will cherish forever, and I am honoured to have been part of this momentous occasion! While it makes me sad that my Windsor Family have departed and are spread across the globe, it makes me happy to know that they’re only a skype call away, and I hope that maybe one day we will meet again!”
Dulwich Prep, London:
Six very excited boys, along with their parents, went to Windsor Castle over the summer on an invite from Dr Jane Goodall. They were asked to make a presentation at her Roots & Shoots Annual Youth Summit at Windsor Castle to talk about the eco and charitable work and other related projects we had undertaken at school over the past year. Our presentation took place on the final day as an uplifting illustration of how the Roots & Shoots programme runs in a school. After watching the Changing of the Guards from a special vantage point, our boys, aged from 6 to 11, went into the famous St George’s Hall and did a fabulous job. They moved some audience members to tears through their passion, eloquence and confidence. Dr Jane followed every word intently and was very impressed. She asked the boys to continue sharing their message with others and reminding them of the positive impact their actions have on the world.
Miles, Year 4: ‘Meeting Dr Goodall and many of the people from around the world was amazing and everyone had such great ideas about helping the environment.’
Will, Year 3: ‘I was given a lovely opportunity to go to Windsor Castle and see Dr Jane Goodall. We went to a big old room with a high ceiling made of wood. There we met Dr Jane and got ready to do our presentations. Dr Jane was very relaxed but I knew that she was very serious about our environment. There were a lot of other people in the room watching. They were from many different countries and I noticed that a few of them looked like they were crying during some of our presentations. I wanted to talk about the ocean and all the litter that is going into it because I see a lot of plastic litter when we are on holiday in Cornwall. We have to do something about this. Dr Jane talked to us at the end and said that every little thing we all do makes a difference. We must all look after our world and make it as good as new again like Windsor Castle.’
Max, Year 2: ‘Dr Jane is a kind lady. After our presentation, she told us her own thoughts about what we said, ‘Poor Dr Jane, always travelling around the world! It is pretty exhausting, but when I listen to all of you, it is really worth it. Just think, there are six of you here, but there are now schools in over 100 countries. When you put all the things you do together, every little helps.
Jolyon, Year 6: One of the highlights of the day was having the opportunity to meet people from all over the world who are as passionate as we are about eco-issues. I had the chance to meet students from other countries who have continued to be active in their eco-clubs through school and now university, via the Roots and Shoots programme. It was really inspiring to meet older people who share the same concerns that we do. I learned about how they leave the Roots & Shoots conference with a main project that they each focus on for the next year, sharing the work with people who are based all over the world – this seemed like a fantastic way to work collaboratively. I also learned about how they visit schools and help with their eco-projects, which is why they were so interested to hear about our Eco-club work. They said that we had given them lots of ideas for things to try out when they get home. It was really fantastic meeting so many interesting people and feeling like we are part of something global. It has really helped inspire me to want to continue with eco-work and Roots & Shoots all the way through school and beyond.’
Percy, Year 5: Dr Jane said ‘each of us has a story to tell, a story to share’, and she encouraged us to go on to share our stories with lots of other people to help build the Roots & Shoots family all over the world. One of the many problems we talked about afterwards was palm oil, the money it creates and the habitats it destroys. People are choosing to be greedy — they get a lot of money and they don’t care how they do it. Pollution & deforestation all come from people’s greed. People cut down trees to make palm oil which affects endangered species and the wider environment. We need to react to what is happening and think of better solutions. We need to be thinking about the planet more, saying the right things about the planet, and doing something about it. Today and every day. All these ideas have inspired me to think of my own creative ways to protect the planet. What will you do to make a difference?’
Teacher and organiser, Claire Wilson said: ‘Thank you so much Roots & Shoots and Dr Jane for the fantastic opportunity you gave our boys to present to you all at the Youth Summit in Windsor. The boys, parents and teachers had the most wonderful day and it gave us all a real affinity with being part of something bigger and a sense that what we think and do really does matter. The experience will stay with us all and I know it will be informative in shaping our future actions.’
“I am always so proud of our students. The boys from Dulwich Prep moved the audience beyond words with their dedication & commitment to our planet and the actions they had taken towards protecting it. With young members like these, our future is in good hands”. Tara Golshan, Executive Director
Photo credit: Roots & Shoots and Tedanho