The Pacific Northwest Roots & Shoots had their 2011 summit at Willamette University on October 9th, with founder Dr. Jane Goodall in attendance. Roots & Shoots, a program founded in 1991, is geared toward making positive change happen by informing and empowering young people worldwide. The mission of Roots & Shoots is, “to foster respect and compassion for all living things, to promote understanding of all cultures and beliefs and to inspire each individual to take action to make the world a better place for people, animals and the environment.” Founder Dr. Jane Goodall had this to say about the connection between the name of the organization and reaching out to youth to spread change:
Roots creep underground everywhere and make a firm foundation. Shoots seem very weak, but to reach the light, they can break open brick walls. Imagine that the brick walls are all the problems we have inflicted on our planet. Hundreds of thousands of roots and shoots, hundreds of thousands of young people around the world, can break through these walls. We CAN change the world.
At last week’s summit, various Roots & Shoots groups (many of which are created at elementary schools, community centers, etc.) congregated to showcase the myriad projects that each group is focusing on. The booths at the seminar were replete with journals, pictures, drawings and presentation boards that detailed their exploits.
Out of all the impressive groups that were in attendance, we here at Food and Water Watch want to highlight a local Roots & Shoots group, sponsored by Resources for Health, that is focusing on the issue of Nestlé’s proposal to construct a bottling plant to extract Oregon water and sell it for profit. This particular group of kids wanted to have a voice in “Keeping Nestlé Out of The Gorge” and decided to build their own campaign called “H2Origami.”
These children developed the idea as a way of using art to convey the message that they are against allowing Nestlé to bottle Oregon’s water. The initiative that these children have shown has been incredible as the group developed their own five-step process that they hope will prove successful. Below is the concept map of their process, along with an example of a fish origami with a message urging that Oregon’s water be protected:
These five steps outlining how the young people of the Resources for Health’s Roots & Shoots program want to participate in protecting Oregon’s water is exactly the aim of Dr. Goodall’s institution: empowering youth and giving credence to that fact you can have an impact regardless of your age. The children want to create as many origami wildlife that inhabit the Columbia Gorge as a visual reminder of the species that will be affected the most by Nestlé’s desire to building a bottle plant. Along with the visual reminder of the wildlife, the children will also write simple messages stating that the water should be protected from Nestlé. All of the origami that is made will be delivered to Governor Kitzhaber’s office when a coalition of groups get together with the Governor’s staff later this fall.
It is impressive that these young men and women are seeking to make an impact in “Keeping Nestlé out of The Gorge” by developing their own nifty H2Origami campaign. Their creativity and perspective is refreshing and should be inspiring to the older generation to continue pushing for change right now for a brighter and better future for future generations.
Remember that you can still write your letter to Governor Kitzhaber to protect Oregon’s water from Nestlé: click here. If you are curious about this particular Roots & Shoots’ efforts regarding the Nestlé campaign or other projects, you can email them at info@H2Origami.org.