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Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots World Environment Day Campaign 2024

© UN EP World Environment Day

Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots Global World Environment Day Campaign 2024

World Environment Day 2024

The theme from the UN Environment Programme for 2024 is Land restoration, desertification and drought resilience. This year, Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots Global is challenging youth to explore their definition of nature.  Drawing inspiration from the “We Are Nature” campaign, we encourage everyone, young and young at heart, to consider their own definition of nature.

We are Nature Campaign:

 The #WeAreNature campaign is a grassroots movement to change UK dictionary definitions of the word nature to include humans.

The current definition of nature in the Oxford English Dictionary is:

nature /ˈneɪtʃə/

1. The phenomena of the physical world collectively; esp. plants, animals, and other features and products of the earth itself, as opposed to humans or human creations.

Oxford English Dictionary

#WeAreNature is a campaign led by Lawyers for Nature & House of Hackney, and supported by a fast-growing group of organisations, charities, academics, artists, writers, politicians, activists and school children who believe passionately that humans are a part of Nature. They hope that amplifying this message will help to protect the natural world, for ourselves, and for future generations.

 UK dictionaries do not include humans in their definitions of nature.

WeAreNature believe that the current definitions of nature do not reflect the growing scientific evidence and overwhelming consensus that humans are part of Nature and a wider ecosystem.

These definitions reinforce the idea that we are separated from Nature and impact how we consider Nature in our behaviours and actions. The belief that we are distinct from and superior to Nature is driving climate breakdown and destroying biodiversity.

Our language, words and definitions have a huge impact and influence on society; our aim is that anyone searching for the meaning of nature will see there is a wider alternative and this could impact court cases, legislation and education.


Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots World Environment Day Campaign:

Localise the WeAreNature campaign –

  1. Before looking up the definition of nature – ask youth to share their own definition of nature with their peers, and with the network. Encourage amplifying Indigenous voices on their teachings about nature for definitions of nature. Speak with elders in your community to get their input. 
  2. Look up ‘nature’ in local dictionaries.
  3. Consider whether the definition correctly positions humans as part of nature.

    and either:

  4. a If the dictionary definition isn’t adequate, write to the publisher requesting an amendment (you can request a template letter from our team)

    b Sign the petition on the WeAreNature website to change the Oxford English dictionary definition.

  5. If the definition is adequate, write to the publisher to thank them.

An example to localise the campaign:

Many Roots & Shoots programmes reflect the context of reconciliation and decolonization with Indigenous communities. Roots & Shoots groups could consult with partners and youth, to amplify Indigenous voices regarding their teachings about nature. Groups can share the definition of nature through the lens of long standing Indigenous perspectives on these concepts. 

We are so excited to learn more about your local, indigenous definitions of nature, and about all your activities for World Environment Day. 

Share your definitions and activities with our team on mail@rootsandshoots.global