How far will you go for peace?

How far will you go for peace? It is a question that many Roots & Shoots youth have to ask themselves. I think I would go pretty far. Forget embarrassment, forget what’s “normal” and just go for it!

There are so many groups to support being peaceful. Grandmothers for Peace, Pennies for Peace, Pinwheels for Peace, Cranes for Peace, Soccer for Peace, and Texans for Peace. One of my favorites is Bark for Peace “Organic vegan dog treats you can eat with your dog!” (That one is for you Shawn!)

My latest action for peace was a bit unexpected. As we were leaving the Glamour Women of the Year Awards at Carnegie Hall, we happened to pass a man with a large multi-colored hula hoop. My collegue, JGI Communications Specialist/Press Officer, Claire Jones said, “Nice hula hoop!” as we passed. The man said, “It’s a hula hoop for peace. Do you want to try?” Upon hearing this I had to stop. I dropped my Glamour goody bag and slung the hoop over my head. After doing my best to consistently hula hoop for a good 20 seconds, I had to give up due to laughing so hard.

Here are some photos!

november-2008-208

november-2008-2091

november-2008-2101

There are so many funny things about these photos! Check out the looks that people are giving me, the juxtaposition of my silky dress and my bulky khaki coat (it’s the warmest one I had!), and the height of the heels I am wearing!

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

jane-with-peace-rat-21

Dr. Jane has done so much for peace, but one unique act for peace was snuggling up to a Peace Rat. Click here to read the article about these incredible bomb sniffing, people saving, hero rats!

.

.

.

What crazy things have you done for peace lately?

An alternative to google that helps raise $

Hi all,

I have been using www.goodsearch.com for a year now and wanted to share the link with everyone. JGI is a designated cause, so just type the full name in the field “Who do you search for?” and select verify. Once  you past that step you can search just as you would using google or choose to shop online. In 2006 we only raised $53.60, but this year it is up to $229.34. I typically search info online 10-15 times a day, so I could possibly raise about $50 a year all on my own. It doesn’t seem like a lot but if we continue to share this website with Roots & Shoots groups, especially during this holiday season, it is sure to add up  : )

Getting Glamour-ous with Dr. Jane

Everyone was dressed up and excited. We huddled together on the curb waiting to cross the street and enter one of the most famous performance spaces in the United States: Carnegie Hall.

Shanay Healy Katia Rossi Glamour Awards NYC

Shanay Healy Katia Rossi Glamour Awards NYC

It was November 10, and I had traveled to New York City to support Dr. Jane at the Glamour 2008 Women of the Year Awards. With me were Roots & Shoots Graduate Fellow Katia Rossi, as well as Roots & Shoots members from Port Jefferson, New York; New York City Home Educators Alliance (NYCHEA); and Western Connecticut State University.

Our calves burned as we were led, in heels, up several flights of stairs to the highest balcony. The view from our seats was outstanding. I tried to think of all the people who had sat in my seat before me. What did they wear? What performance did they see? I felt so lucky and overwhelmed with the history of the place.

We spotted Dr. Jane right away and then peered down to try and see the other award winners. We watched the stars’ entrances and introductions. Some of the celebrities—including Natalie Portman—were waiting in line to meet Dr. Jane. You could see the excitement and admiration they felt when they were meeting Dr. Jane. I remember those same feelings when I first met her too.

We were seated with a few groups of young women supporting other organizations and award winners. Even though we were far from the stage, the award winners knew that a whole bunch of young people were up there watching.

They would call up to us and say things like, “To all the young women in the balcony, this is what I wish someone would have told me when I was your age.” It made the whole experience so unique and especially uplifting. The editor of Glamour Magazine, Cynthia Leive, said, “I know you are in the nosebleeds today, but we hope that someday you’ll be up on this stage receiving your own award.”

Besides all the wonderful women we got to listen to and be inspired by, I think my favorite part was when Dr. Jane accepted her Lifetime Achievement Award. She pant-hooted at us from the stage, and we cheered in return. The Huffington Post wrote, “Jane did a special chimpanzee call to a group of girls from her not-for-profit Roots & Shoots, who were sitting in the upper balcony.” What they didn’t mention is how loud we cheered back!

Katia Rossi Shanay Healy Glamour Awards NYC

Katia Rossi Shanay Healy Glamour Awards NYC

It was a truly inspirational evening. The performances, speeches and heartfelt stories left me in a euphoric daze. Looking back on the event, it continues to fuel me to make a difference.

Want to get more of the Glamour awards happenings? Get the gossip.

Ditch the stress and walk.

I was returning to work after lunch today and realized just how much I like walking instead of using my car. It is much more relaxing then sitting at red lights and having to deal with other drivers. Unfortunately most people’s routines fall into our on-the-go lifestyle that our society has created and I think it weighs very heavily on work related stress and our health. As I walk home it gives me time to relax and think about other aspects of my life outside of work. The exercise is an added bonus, plus the fresh air. 

Selfishly I also wish more people had the ability to walk because then I would be breathing in less exhaust from cars passing by. Maybe I would even meet a few new faces and exchange in some light friendly conversation. If people walked between work and home, maybe it would allow more time to connect with the natural world and develop a few more environmental advocates. I challenge you to examine your day and add up all of the hours you spend inside a building or car; you may be surprised by how little of your day is spent in nature. It this is not the case, then consider yourself one of the lucky ones.

Another negative aspect of our lifestyle choices is the amount of garbage we create by always eating out and not spending time cooking at home. Both of my roommates work during the day and feel that fast food is their only option with the little time they have at lunch. They jump in their cars and speed to the nearest drive thru. Over time I see so many problems developing. It is not healthy for you or the environment.

By walking and preparing healthy meals at home you can greatly improve your daily life, help the environment, and curb stressful habits that affect so many people in our country.

How to inspire the resistant, AKA my roommates

On the very first day that I moved into my new house in Virgina, I was warmly welcomed by one of my lovely roommates proclaiming that he didn’t believe in recycling. I asked, “How does recycling work in Virginia?” he promptly responded, “I don’t know, but there won’t be any recycling in this house.” Now, I am from one of the most community-based, liberal, Eco-conscious towns in not just Oregon, but probably the US too. I don’t think the idea of not recycling has ever really crossed my mind, much less being outright against it. So after a little more discussion I found that my roommate believed that it costs more to recycle then to make things from our remaining natural resources or synthetically.

That was two months ago. I have yet to convince my two male roommates to recycle, so I spend my evenings letting my crazy environmentalist inner bag lady come out by going through the recycling pulling out trash, and going through the trash pulling out the recycling. It is so mind boggling to me that recycling wouldn’t be innate.

So, how can I inspire my roommates without sounding like I am critizing them for their lifestyle? It is a hard task. I don’t want to sound like their mother complaining all the time. But how can I resist when they don’t fill up the ice trays but put them back in the freezer empty? Or when their dishes sit in the sink and stink up the kitchen expecting someone else, me, to scrub them? Or when they take 30 minute showers? Or when they throw their cans and bottles in the trash?

It is a delicate balance between just living with someone and being friendly too. I know that I use the least amount of energy and water yet I pay for a quarter of it all. This is when I start to think that it would be so much easier to just live on my own. It would be so nice to know that how I live is directly proportional to how much my bills are.

Learning to live with total stangers has been a chore. But I am starting to learn a little more about give and take. I have yet to have a moment with all my roommates at the same time, but my idea is to do a trade off for recycling. I am willing to sweep one a week, or keep the kitchen counters clean. I am open to suggestions.

Have any of you ever had roommate or even family problems trying to convince them to be more environmentally friendly? Any advice is warmly welcomed!!

U.N. International Day of Peace event pictures

These are pictures taken on September 19th, 2008 at the U.N. International Day of Peace event. First there was an opening ceremony and the ringing of the peace bell. Afterwards we all made our way to the Student Observance portion of the event where we got to hear from four Messengers of Peace (Michael Douglas, Dr. Elie Wiesel, Dr. Jane Goodall, and Ms. Midori Goto) and four youth presenters. The most inspiring moment for me was being able to see live videoconference presentations by students in Afghanistan, Liberia, and Sudan. Another highlight was our own Emily Woodall, who was one of the four youth presenters chosen to address the entire crowd on behalf of Roots & Shoots. The event closed with the ringing of the peace bell and the flag ceremony. In my opinion, this entire event should have been headline news across the nation; it was truly amazing to witness the passion that young people shared toward working together to create peace.

Peace Day 2008!

Hey everyone, Roots & Shoots Day of Peace was a great success all around the world! Congratulations! Here are some highights from the weekend.

Katia and I at the United Nations in 15 naughts of wind!

Katia and I with the Peace Bell made out of old weapons, “May peace prevail on earth!”

The United Nations New York City

Myself with Peace Dove and Dr. Jane in the background at St. Catherine’s Park

National Office Ladies: Claire, Katherine and I

Mi amigo, Christian and I

Don’t forget to share your Roots & Shoots Day of Peace experience with us! Submit a Project Report and send your photos, with completed release forms, to peacedoves@janegoodall.org!