It all started with the chimps.
Jane Goodall spoke at the Orpheum in Vancouver last week for “Unique Lives and Experiences” and I was thrilled to be invited as a guest of Nature’s Path. You might recognize their cereal and other breakfast treats, more on that awesome company later.
Jane’s speech left me so hopeful and inspired. One person. Just one person can change SO much.
“If we can get a critical mass to think about the consequences of our little choices, about what we buy, about how it was made, about whether it harms people or animals or the environment … Each and every one of us makes a difference each and every day and we have a choice about what kind of difference we are going to make.”
Everyone knows Jane Goodall – champion for the chimps – she has been researching primates since the 50’s and has been a global ambassador for chimpanzee habitat and environmental protection since the 80’s. Now entering her 80th year, Jane has an incredibly positive outlook despite the destruction she’s witnessed firsthand over the past 5 decades.
“All thoughtful people are very well aware of the problems around the world, and they look around the world and feel helpless and hopeless, so they do nothing. That is the key. My job is to give people some hope and help people realize that their own lives matter, and that each one of us makes a difference every day.”
Jane began observing chimps in Africa in 1957 when she was just 23 years old. She is best known for her study of chimpanzee social and family life, instead of numbering the chimps in her research, she gave them names such as Fifi and David Greybeard, which was unheard of in the scientific community at the time. She observed that chimps have a range of emotions and actions like hugging and kissing and affectionate bonds between family members and making tools, her findings suggest that humans and chimps have more similarities than just our 98% identical genetic code.
In the late 1970’s, primate researchers became very concerned about the effects of deforestation and the meat trade on the chimp population. In 1977, Jane founded the Jane Goodall Institute, to support research of the chimps and protect their habitats. In the 1980’s, the issues of habitat destruction and animal cruelty were so widespread, Jane embarked on a speaking tour to raise awareness and she hasn’t stopped since, she still travels 300 days of the year.
“The older I get, the less time there is, so whatever time I have is getting shorter. And there is just so much to do.”
In 1991, Jane started the Roots and Shoots program with 12 local teenagers in Tanzania. Today, the network has blossomed with over 150,000 members in 130 countries.
“It is my greatest reason for hope I think, Roots and Shoots, because everywhere I go on this endless circuit around the planet, there are young people with shining eyes wanting to tell Dr. Jane what they have been doing to make this a better world.”
Quotation excerpts of Jane from the Montreal Gazette