Roots and Shoots Youth Summit 2016

Two weeks ago, I had the honour of attending the Roots and Shoots Youth Summit at CDNIS, an outing organized by Estelle in Year 13. It was a truly wonderful and inspiring event that not only reminded us of the severe environmental problems we are currently facing, but also taught us how we can help to solve the problems and make our own impact to save the environment.

The morning started off with a fun five-minute ice-breaker activity where we had to interact with students from all the other schools that we attending. We then got to choose three workshops we wanted to attend, and set off to find where they were held. These workshops are run by various associations and charities in Hong Kong to raise awareness in students of a particular issue.

I personally gravitated towards the animal-related ones – the workshop by the Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society, two men who work to stop ivory trade and the Hong Kong Dog Rescue. However, there were other workshops about things like poverty and hunger in the city.

All students were given half an hour to browse the different stands that the schools had set up in the lobby. They were quite interesting, a wide range of topics were discussed such as animal extinction, recycling, overfishing, disappearing forests, education in developing countries, etc.

After a delicious lunch catered by Mana was the highlight of the day: a keynote speech by Jane Goodall. She gave us a brief summary of her work with chimpanzees and orangutans (along with a few funny stories of some of her encounters) and told us about the challenges and obstacles she faced as a young woman to get where she is now. The main message of her speech was to prove to us that hard work and resilience really pays off and that we should never, ever give up.

I think everyone who attended Roots and Shoots this year would agree with me when I say that I left the building with a completely changed viewpoint on the world. There were some global issues that I hadn’t even known about until that day, like how acidic the ocean is becoming. Overall, it was a very inspiring and motivating, in a way, to make a change. I fully encourage every student to attend it next year if they get the opportunity.

Audrey Year 10