Antarctica calls: Meeting Jane Goodall and the launch of the ClimateForce Challenge

On Thursday the 25th of January 2018, the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) was privileged to host Dr Jane Goodall and 12 schools from around the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the Jane Goodall Institute Roots & Shoots UAE Annual Awards.

The awards doubled as the launch of the #ClimateForce Challenge, a collaboration between EAD, the Jane Goodall Institute, and polar explorer Sir Robert Swan’s ClimateForce 2041. Sir Robert Swan was the first person to walk to both the north and south poles.

The challenge encourages everybody to consider their individual and everyday behaviours that impact the environment, and pledge to change their behaviour for the ‘greater good,’ with a collective target of reducing carbon emissions by 326 million tonnes by 2025!

As part of the ClimateForce challenge, it was unveiled that EAD and Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots are sending three Ambassadors, Rashed Al Zaabi, Mariam Al Qassimi, and Winston Cowie, to Antarctica to take part in Sir Robert Swan’s International Antarctic Expedition 2018. The team will learn about the continent and climate change through polar explorer Sir Robert’s renowned ‘Leadership on the edge Programme,’ and will return to the UAE with practical everyday solutions to climate change.’

Thursday was the start of this journey, and it was fantastic to see that around 100 students, with Dr Jane Goodall and our three Ambassadors, make the ClimateForce pledge.

Environment Agency Abu Dhabi & Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots Antarctica Ambassadors – Rashed Al Zaabi, Mariam Al Qassimi, and Winston Cowie

ClimateForce Challenge Launch UAE

Antarctica and being an energiser in the community on the environmental issues of our time calls! Plastics, inefficient resource use – we are coming for you!

There is much more information to come – keep an eye on both the Environment Agency’s and Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots UAE website and social media – the planning has begun in earnest.

Onwards and I am incredibly grateful to the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi’s own inspirational leader, Her Excellency Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak for the opportunity to meet Dr Jane be involved in this incredible initiative. I couldn’t be more excited about the coming months. Twenty six days to go!

To participate in the challenge as a school – and become involved in the Jane Goodall family –  please visit


Meeting Jane Goodall. It was incredible. 

Dr Jane Goodall at the ClimateForce Challenge UAE Launch

And on a personal note, so lovely and grateful to spend the last couple of days with Dr Jane Goodall as part of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi and Dr Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots partnership. She really is an inspiration – not only for her work with the chimpanzees in Tanzania, but for the institute she has set up – a grassroots conservation network which engages millions of youth and is in over 100 countries. At the annual UAE Roots & Shoots awards held Thursday in Abu Dhabi, as she spoke I sat there, looked around the room and considered what an amazing person she is – an energiser who gets things done – of the earth – inspiring youth (and adults as well to be honest), all over the world. At 83 years of age, she travels over 300 days a year (her calendar is booked 3 years in advance), talking, giving interviews, encouraging people to change their behaviour and live their values. We need people like Jane, and having had a treasured opportunity to meet with her, and have our wee girls meet her, I’m feeling seriously motivated (as they are from the conversation on the drive home) to make some changes to everyday consumerism and energy use behaviours. The ClimateForce challenge has well and truly begun.

Dr Jane Goodall and Winston Cowie at the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi

So thank you Dr Jane, your magic has worked. Check out her movie JANE which is out in some countries and will soon be out in others like the UAE. Can’t wait to see it!
And once again, so incredibly grateful to the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi for the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful initiative.