1. Google Celebrates Dr Jane Goodall on International Women’s Day
On March 8th we celebrated International Women’s Day and the 2016 theme was “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”. Surrounding this special day, the United Nations held a series of events to promote the 2030 Agenda and highlight new commitments under the UN’s Women’s Step It Up initiative, and other existing commitments on gender equality, women’s empowerment and women’s human rights. Way to step it up UN!
Also, in honour of International Women’s Day, the Google Doodle on Google’s homepage included a video marking the achievements of women in science, civil rights, journalism, sports, arts, technology and beyond. It featured girls and women from around the world telling us what they will achieve using the statement “One Day I Will…”. We were thrilled to see Dr Goodall among these inspirational women voicing her own #OneDayIWill. We are even more pleased that two more of our stories in this newsletter are about amazing women in our JGIA family!
2. Bye Bye Plastic Bags Comes to Australia
We are incredibly proud of two young Roots & Shoots members from Green School in Bali, sisters Melati and Isabel Wijsen. Three years ago the sisters and their friends founded the Bye Bye Plastic Bags campaign with a desire to outlaw plastic bags in Bali. Their goal was to get a million signatures of support and so far, the campaign has been successful beyond their wildest dreams. Their remarkable journey has taken them to London, where they were invited to give a TED talk last September and to the office of Bali governor Made Mangku Pastika. In March 2015, they received a letter from the Bali provincial environmental agency saying Bali would be plastic bag free by 2018!
The sisters have inspired Bye Bye Plastic Bag campaigns all over the world, including Australia in March. Just like Dr Jane, the sisters say that the most important thing that they have learned is “kids can do things. We can make things happen”. Support and follow the campaign’s success down under on their Facebook page.
3. Victorian JGIA Women Honoured in the News
Thanks to the Weekly Times in Victoria for a gorgeous article on two of our longest-standing and most committed volunteers at JGIA, Alicia Kennedy and Sue Conos. The story tells us how these amazing women, and complete strangers from country Victoria, came to know Dr Jane Goodall more than a decade ago and how they still make a difference in their communities today. They talk about how Dr Goodall’s work is crucial not only in Africa, but right here on Australian soil. “I think she’s so vitally important because she gives hope,” Sue says. “Her message is you can make a difference, even if it’s a small one.”
On behalf of JGIA, we want to thank Sue and Alicia from the bottom of our hearts for all that you do and for truly making JGIA feel like a family!
4. Happy (Palm Oil Free) Easter from JGIA
If you celebrated Easter, or even if you just ate a few chocolates, we hope that your treats were certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) or palm oil free! Unsustainable palm oil production is driving species like orangutans and tigers to extinction – it’s the leading cause of deforestation in Indonesia. It’s also contributing to climate change. Choosing products that contain CSPO or are palm oil free means you are making a difference.
In a joint effort with other NGOs, JGIA is pressuring the Australian government to improve labelling, but until then, our labelling laws make it difficult to know which products contain Palm Oil. So we’ve put together a list of CSPO and Palm Oil free products to help you choose orangutan and climate friendly treats. You can also visit our Palm Oil Campaign page and keep watching our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages for our Term 3 Roots & Shoots campaign on Palm Oil where we will be encouraging schools across Australia to host palm oil free lunch days and write letters to their local representatives.
5. March was a Month to Celebrate our Natural World
What a month of wonderful United Nations days for our planet! It started on March 3rd, with World Wildlife Day. The theme this year was “The future of wildlife is in our hands”. The Day was an opportunity to celebrate the many beautiful and varied forms of wild fauna and flora and to raise awareness of the multitude of benefits that conservation provides to people. At the same time, World Wildlife Day reminds us of the urgent need to step up the fight against wildlife crime, which has wide-ranging economic, environmental and social impact. As Dr Goodall says “Social Media is a powerful tool. We must NOT let them go extinct without doing our bit to help save them.” So do your bit and have your say on our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages today.
March 21st was the International Day of Forests. This global celebration of forests provides a platform to raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests and trees. Forests cover one third of the Earth and are the most biologically-diverse ecosystems on land. They are home to more than 80% of animals, plants and insects and provide shelter, jobs and security for 1.6 billion people across the globe. Yet despite all of these priceless benefits of forests, global deforestation continues at an alarming rate – 13 million hectares of forest are destroyed annually. Deforestation accounts for 12-20% of the global greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. We must all do our part to protect our forests, and all of their inhabitants, today.
And finally March 22nd was World Water Day. It is an international observance and an opportunity to learn more about water related issues, be inspired to tell others and take action to make a difference. It has been celebrated annually since 1992 and the theme this year was “Water and Jobs”. Today, almost half of the world’s workers – 1.5 billion people – work in water related sectors and nearly all jobs depend on water. By focusing on how enough quantity and quality of water can change workers’ lives and livelihoods, we can transform societies and economies and of course save water!
6. Two New Technologies that will Help Us Change the World
In conjunction with World Wildlife Day and the International Day of Forests, two exciting new technologies were launched to help us all make a difference.
Wildlife Witness App is a wildlife trade monitoring app developed to stop the illegal wildlife trade, which is valued between $5-20 billion USD per year. It is considered the fourth most lucrative global crime after drugs, humans and arms. The illegal wildlife trade fuels instability and criminality in demand and supply countries. This new app is designed to be used globally so that consumers can report unusual or suspicious wildlife activity. The app was developed by our good friends and partners at Taronga Zoo, in partnership with TRAFFIC the wildlife trade monitoring network. So please download the app today.
Global Forest Watch is an interactive online forest monitoring and alert system designed to empower people everywhere with the information they need to better manage and conserve forest landscapes to save forests and chimpanzees! It provides the most current, reliable, and actionable information about what is happening in forests worldwide. It unites NASA satellite technology and human networks, to show where and how forests are changing, who is using them, and how we can help sustain them for future generations. Global Forest Watch was launched in Uganda on March 17 at an event organised by the Jane Goodall Institute. It is free and easy to understand so please get involved and join GFW’s growing community today.
7. Dr Jane Goodall’s Birthday in April!
Last but certainly not least, we hope that you will join with the entire JGIA and global JGI family to wish Jane a very happy 82nd birthday on April 3rd. In fact, you can wish her a happy birthday yourself by signing the online card. Also keep watching our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages for more celebrations of our inspiring founder. Happy Birthday Jane!