Celebrate International Women’s Day: Meet Vineeta Gupta

Our famous founder is one of many bold, brilliant, game-changing women at the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI). From the youngest Roots & Shoots members to our global CEO, we are very lucky to have countless curious, compassionate female leaders among us. All courageously committed to creating hope in their communities for the future of our interconnected earth.

Here in Australia we have some particularly inspiring local legends. As we celebrate International Women’s Day together with our global family, this week we will showcase five of them – all tirelessly working towards this year’s theme to #BreakTheBias for a more diverse, equitable and inclusive world. (We could easily have made it fifty).

From leading-edge scientists to social-justice campaigners, global law-transformers to political powerhouses, we hope you are as inspired reading about them – as we are working with them. So, let’s begin.

Vineeta Gupta: Microbiologist, Climate Leader, Campaigner & Organiser 

Vineeta, or Vini, is vital in growing our Roots & Shoots youth empowerment program across Australia.

Currently the State Coordinator for Tasmania, Vini is growing our movement down south to build a community of young, empowered change makers of hope. 100% voluntarily, she’s driven by her own deep passion for environmentalism, alongside studying Microbiology at the University of Tasmania, working as a researcher and campaigning with the Australian Youth Climate Coalition plus she’s Climate Reality Leader.

Previously Vini was part of our dynamic National Youth Leadership Council training program. Every year we recruit a collective of incredible young people to learn skills, gain confidence, build networks and develop direction as future environmental leaders. As an engaged, enterprising member she was offered the long-term oppurtunitiy to build Roots & Shoots in Tasmania.

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Vini has a keen interest in the cross-pollination of environmental advocacy with social justice, particularly the intersectional relationships between the environmental crisis and social inequality. In less than a year she helped host film festivals, co-developed the wellbeing program Return To Nature, increased the number of grants for Roots & Shoots projects and is now leading an ambitious advocacy campaign raising awareness about destructive Fast Fashion impacts – on animals, people and environment.

She believes that our environment is an integral part of our social well-being, and that we must do everything we can to conserve it. On days she hopes to inspire people in the same way as Dr Jane some day.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you? And why do you think it’s important?

Vini and a colleague carrying out research as part of her Microbiology major at University of Tasmania
Vini and a colleague carrying out research as part of her Microbiology major at University of Tasmania

International Women’s Day is a time of celebrating the women of our planet and letting them know that ‘they are enough’. You don’t have to be a CEO or martial arts black belt to be a strong, independent woman. You are all you ever need to be.

It’s a time to celebrate the achievements women have made around the world, starting with acknowledging our own. We often forget how important we are as individuals.

Yet, it is also a time to acknowledge that gender inequality is not something of the past. Regardless of where you live or what you do, whether you’re a female worker in the cotton industry or work in Parliament House, gender inequality chases women of all walks of life – even today.

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International Women’s Day is a time of celebration, but also a time for us to look forward and assess what needs to be done to ensure a truly gender equal society.

This isn’t something only women should be thinking about; men need to stand in solidarity with women to create a future where gender inequality is truly something of the past.

Who are your top three female inspirations and why?

The three most important women in my life are:

Vini with her mum, while celebrating her parents' 25th wedding anniversary
Vini with her mum, while celebrating her parents’ 25th wedding anniversary

My Mum.

She was the first female role model I had. She’s compassionate, caring, holds her ground and manages work-life balance with an ease I have yet to master.

Dr Marie Curie

She inspired me to pursue STEM and reminds me everyday that women can excel in any field they persue – male dominated or not. And to never give up on our dreams.

Being the 1st person to have won the Nobel Prize twice, she proved that women can be at the forefront of accomplishments and be the first at achieving something unachievable.

Dr Jane Goodall.

Jane inspires me to be hopeful everyday in a world where hope can be difficult to find. She inspires me to get up and take action for what I believe in – whether that be social and climate justice, or creating a world that’s better for those to come – for, as she says: “the greatest danger to our future is apathy.”

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What advice would you give to a 10-year-old with hindsight?

Let your imagination go crazy and know that as a woman you can also soar. No matter what you decide to do, always remember that you are enough and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

There’s no such thing as a woman’s job or a man’s job, all jobs are equal.

Remember to always do what brings you joy and instills you with hope.

What is your key message to other women with similar goals this IWD?

In a time of such uncertainty, it can be difficult to focus on our goals and aspirations, particularly justice focused aspirations.

Like myself I’m sure there are others who wake up thinking what’s the point of trying and trying again when all we face is failure to be heard and taken seriously. But always remember, if we can inspire one other person to care, then one day, we’ll have inspired the world.


Be a part of Vini’s work: join Roots & Shoots Tasmania’s Facebook Group or email tas@janegoodall.org.au

Roots & Shoots Team Meet in Melbourne for Annual Conference

Recently members of the Roots & Shoots and National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC) met in Melbourne to develop the strategic plan for Roots & Shoots. In addition to the State Coordinators from WA (Bill Waterer), Victoria (Sarah Triolo), Queensland (Peta Wilson) and New South Wales (K-Lynn Smith), members of the NYLC met to discuss the vision and mission for the next year.

Led by the Roots & Shoots General Manager, Margaret Morton, the team were joined by Guest Speaker, Thomas King – CEO of Food Frontier. Thomas was Young Victorian of the Year in 2015 and at just 22 years of age is head of an organisation changing the way we think about what we eat.

Above photo: NYLC Team
L-R Back row: Ashley Avci, Sophie Leonard, Asitha Samarawickrama, Lisa Thomas, Bec Everett, Shannon Samuel, Jessica Pinder
L-R Front row: Asha Mortel, Becky Godwin, Mary Isabel and Glenn Low
Absent: Emily Schwark, Maya Yaffe and Ella Loeffler.

Roots & Shoots Delegates Gather at Windsor Castle

It’s that exciting time of the year again when Dr Jane Goodall joins young Roots & Shoots delegates from around the world at Windsor! Over the week, at St George’s House in Windsor Castle, the delegates will share perspectives and collaborate on action plans to address sustainability issues when they return home.

Our very own Keely, from our WA Roots & Shoots team, is proudly representing JGIA. As well as connecting with her peers from around the globe, Keely will share our Australian campaigns, projects and successes, and discuss how we can work together to create positive change as a global R&S community. Have fun Keely and we can’t wait to hear all about it!

If you want to find out how you can be part of exciting opportunities like this in the future, check out our National Youth Leadership Council and keep your eye on how to apply in 2019!

The War on Waste and Plastics Continues

Following on our fantastic Thumbs up for Turtles plastic-free campaign in Term 2, we are excited to see all the buzz around reducing waste and plastic continuing this month. Firstly it was of course #PlasticFreeJuly and in case you haven’t heard, the ABC’s War on Waste is back on TV on Tuesday evenings. We are particularly thrilled that our friends Jo and Corina from Good for the Hood and 5 for Ryde are involved, and have even created a downloadable War on Waste Action Toolkit.

In case you haven’t yet joined the movement, you can follow these steps to get started on reducing your waste:

  • Use reusable drink bottles and coffee cups
  • Use reusable shopping bags
  • Say no to plastic straws or use a reusable metal straw
  • Buy unpackaged (and odd-shaped) fruits and vegetables
  • Know your waste and bin etiquette, and pick up litter

As Dr Jane says “everyone of of us makes a difference, everyday” so join us in reducing your waste and making your difference today!

Winning the Battle Against Ocean Plastics

June was a big month for JGIA’s anti-plastics campaign with both World Environment Day and World Oceans Day! In fact, throughout June we joined Dr. Jane in being motivated to take action against single-use plastic every single day. Through our wonderful Thumbs Up For Turtles! ocean plastics campaign, we battled plastic pollution by swapping single-use plastic for reusable alternatives, picking up rubbish from our beaches and waterways and talking to our local bars and restaurants who still use plastic straws and cutlery. We would love to share YOUR stories about what you did to combat plastic use this month – email our amazing National Youth Leadership Council on youth@janegoodall.org.au and don’t forget to send us your #ThumbsupforTurtles photos too!

And if you’re not already involved, make sure that you sign up to Roots & Shoots and check out our TUFT webpage. And of course don’t forget to follow our R&S Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages to keep up to date with events happening across Australia.

Thumbs up for Turtles! Thumbs down for Ocean Plastics

Have you seen the Thumbs Up For Turtles! campaign created by our amazing National Youth Leadership Council? The TUFT campaign is part of a global Roots & Shoots migration project initiated at the Global Roots & Shoots conference in Windsor, UK, in 2016. Conference attendees selected the critically endangered Hawksbill turtle as a flagship species for this oceans plastics campaign, as it is a species that shares its distribution range with several Roots & Shoots member countries.

Our campaign goals are to raise awareness of the human impact on our oceans, provide easy alternatives to replace everyday disposable items, introduce a ban on single use disposable cutlery in Australia and establish a network of ‘Turtle Friendly’ cafes and restaurants.

To get involved, join our Thumbs up for Turtles Campaign by signing up to Roots & Shoots and checking out our TUFT webpage. Then post a photo with the hashtag #ThumbsupforTurtles and tell us what you do to reduce your impact on the oceans. And of course don’t forget to follow our R&S  Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages to keep up to date with events happening across Australia or email us on youth@janegoodall.org.au.

NYLC Lead JGIA’s Team 2 Plastics Campaign

It has been predicted that there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. From Earth Day and continuing throughout Term 2, Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots Australia (R&S) and National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC) members will focus on ocean plastics and how our choices impact on our precious wildlife.

With news and ideas from around the globe, and those taking place on very our shores, our R&S and NYLC teams will show us how we can make a difference on the issue of ocean plastic.

Also, projects from R&S groups around Australia will be shared and make sure you keep an eye out for posts on the Hawksbill Turtle. The incredible and unique Hawksbill Turtle has a migration path from the UAE to the North Queensland coast of Australia and holds a special place in the hearts of our R&S groups both here and around the world.

For more information on the inspiring team behind our NYLC plastics campaign and perhaps join the NYLC yourself, please visit our NYLC webpage and of course find out more about our entire Roots & Shoots movement at rootsandshoots.org.au and follow us on our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter R&S pages or sign up for R&S today.

Photograph: Barbara Fischer, Australia./Getty Images

NYLC Applications Open until 5 February

We are thrilled to be accepting applications for our National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC). If you know a young person who wants to make a difference in the world, please let them know that there is still time to apply to be part of our 2018 NYLC. Applications close on February 5 at midnight. They will gain experience volunteering, be part of a community that is now in nearly 100 countries around the world and meet like-minded young people from all over Australia. To apply, and see the profiles of the inspirational young people currently on our NYLC, please visit our NYLC page and of course make sure that you sign up for R&S today and follow us on our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter R&S pages.