Jane Goodall: ‘Change is happening. There are many ways to start moving in the right way’


Jonathan Watts


Jane Goodall.

Jane Goodall: ‘Our disrespect for animals creates conditions for the emergence of zoonotic diseases.’ Photograph: David Levene/The Guardian

The primatologist and ecological activist on why population isn’t the cause of climate change, and why she’s encouraging optimism@jonathanwattsSun 3 Jan 2021 04.00 EST


Jane Goodall is a primatologist who is regarded as one of the world’s leading authorities on chimpanzees. She has spent 60 years studying the chimps that live in the Gombe Stream national park and she is a prominent advocate, via several foundations, of protecting the great apes and their habitats. She has been presented with awards by the UN and various governments for her conservation and environmental work. She appears in the Netflix documentary The Beginning of Life 2.

You warned last June that humanity will be finished if we don’t make drastic changes in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the climate crisis. Have you seen any indication of that drastic change?
The window is closing. Business as usual – using up natural resources faster and faster – can’t carry on. In some cases, we are already using resources faster than they can be replenished. And we can see the consequences. Look at climate change. It is not something that might happen in the future; we are already seeing terrible hurricanes and floods and fires. It is building up into an inferno. When you think globally like that, it is very, very depressing.Advertisementhttps://c015c01652c1d4c024600cef2ce37a0c.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Do you feel that the pandemic has shifted perceptions, or created more of a sense of urgency?
Maybe Covid has given a push that will make a difference. The most important lesson from this pandemic is that we need a new relationship with nature and animals. Our disrespect for animals creates conditions for the emergence of zoonotic diseases. You can see that same disrespect in factory farms, bushmeat and wildlife markets and the illegal wildlife trade. About 75% of all newly emerged diseases in humans are zoonotic.

What more needs to be done?
We need to move to a more sustainable relationship with the natural world. We need a greener economy. If countries move away from fossil fuels and subsidise clean, green energy that will create a lot of jobs. If you plant trees in a city it has enormous benefits – it cools the temperature, cleans the air, stabilises the soil against flooding and improves psychological and physical health, to mention only a few. We also need to cut down on waste. I grew up in the war, when food was rationed and you did not throw anything out. We need to value food more – as aboriginal people do.

Jane Goodall and inquisitive friend, Gombe Stream Research Centre, Tanzania, January 1972.
Jane Goodall and inquisitive friend, Gombe Stream Research Centre, Tanzania, January 1972. Photograph: Corbis

Do you think politicians and the public are focused enough on this challenge?
As damage is coming to a peak, awareness is coming to a peak. But it does not help to focus exclusively on the problems. Yes, the media must point out the harm we are inflicting. But they should give more space to all the amazing restoration programmes happening around the world – that gives people hope and they are more likely to do their bit. If you lose hope, why bother?Advertisementhttps://c015c01652c1d4c024600cef2ce37a0c.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Where do you find cause for hope?
Change is happening. Millions are switching to wind and solar energy, clearing up streams or picking up rubbish. Consumers are influencing the way business does its work. I am always meeting amazing people doing great projects to allow biodiversity to creep back. A lot of it in China. There are many different ways to start moving in the right way.

How about at the national and international level? The Global Biodiversity Outlook 5 report found the international community did not fully achieve any of the 20 Aichi biodiversity targets agreed in Japan in 2010 to slow the loss of the natural world. Can we expect anything better at the next big UN biodiversity meeting in Kunming, China, next year?
All I have seen, to be honest, is more decision makers talking about change and making plans, but not doing enough to make it happen. At these big meetings, there is so much talk and so little follow-up action. But now we are seeing more action among the youth. Children are standing up and influencing their parents, business leaders and politicians. Voting, in democracies, can make a big difference.

You and David Attenborough both appear to be more active than ever. But has your approach changed? You have tended to focus on individual responsibility in the past. Is it now time for something more radical, for system change?
I think we need many different approaches. There are instances when violent tactics are necessary to make people aware – like the anti-slavery movement. But violence can be counterproductive. I think people must change from within. If children point at dominant males and say “you are bad and we demand that you change”, the response may well be “I won’t be lectured by a young person”. My way is to tell stories, trying to reach the heart. Too often people give lip service to change but carry on with business as usual.

Our organisation, Roots & Shoots, works at the grassroots level with youth. The movement is growing very fast – all over North and South America, Africa, Europe and Asia, including over 1,000 groups in China. There are also new groups in the Middle East. Turkey and Israel, and I want to spread it further. We are linking youth from different countries together and finding partner organisations. It is really important to grow as the programme is giving young people hope. This is needed badly as we have caused so much environmental damage since we began in 1991. And without hope youth falls into apathy and does nothing. Many of of the early Roots & Shoots members are now in leadership positions.

We’re seeing the consequences of the idea that there can be unlimited economic development with finite natural resources

But this is not just a matter of changing individual behaviour. Aren’t there are deeper causes in the way the global economy is organised?
We are seeing the consequences of the crazy idea that there can be unlimited economic development on a planet with finite natural resources and a growing population. Decisions are made for short-term gain at the expense of protecting the environment for the future. Now, the world’s population is estimated at over 7 billion people and it is expected to be closer to 10 billion by 2050. If we carry on with business as usual what is going to happen? To be clear, the main problem is not population growth. I have never said that, although George Monbiot claims that I did, which is disappointing because I have always admired him. It is one of three main problems – the other two are our greedy lifestyle, our reckless burning of fossil fuels, the demand for meat, poverty – and, of course, we must also tackle corruption.

To what extent do you feel that traditional conservation needs to change?
We have to eliminate poverty. Because if people are really poor, they will destroy the environment because they have to feed themselves and their families. In 1990, I flew over Gombe national park [in Tanzania] and I was shocked to see the change. During the 1960s, it had been part of a vast equatorial forest. By 1990, Gombe was just a little island of trees, surrounded by land that had been stripped bare. It was then that I realised unless we could help people make a living without destroying their environment we couldn’t save chimps or forests. So we helped in many ways including providing scholarships for girls and offering microcredit opportunities, especially to women. It’s worked. If you fly over Gombe today, you don’t see those bare hills; the forest has come back. As women’s education improves, family sizes tend to drop. Women want to educate children. They don’t want to be birth machines.

In the Netflix documentary The Beginning of Life 2, you and many other biologists, conservationists and psychologists stress the mental health and social benefits that can come from a close connection to the natural world, and warn of the dangers that this is being lost among a younger, more urban generation.
When I was growing up, we did not even have television, so we immersed ourselves in books and nature. Children today have less time for that because they are fascinated by iPhones, laptops and video games. Also many more children grow up in cities, surrounded by concrete. The important thing is to get them into nature – the younger the better. In the documentary, you see the expression of wonder on a child’s face – a three-year-old boy watching a snail glide along. He suddenly picked it up, ran and put it on a window pane to watch it from the other side. This kind of experience is very, very important. It is only when you care for nature that you protect it. The film is very inspiring.Advertisementhttps://c015c01652c1d4c024600cef2ce37a0c.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

How has lockdown affected people’s relationship with nature?
In some cases, it has meant closer contact, but that depends on whether people have a garden or live near parks or green areas where they can walk. So many poor people were confined to the concrete jungle.

And how has it affected you?
I miss the contact with people, my friends. But I have adapted. I used to be travelling 300 days a year and meeting people face to face. Since I have been in lockdown, I do everything virtually and have reached millions more people in many more countries. So there is a silver lining. I try to find the silver lining in everything. We mustn’t lose hope.


 By: Jessica Bridgers   |    Reading time: 4 minutesAdvocates are asking the United Nations to consider the role of animals in their COVID-19 recovery policies. They fear the return to ‘business as usual’ could lead to another deadly pandemic.
Almost as soon as it became clear that our societies and economic systems would not continue as normal through the COVID-19 pandemic, calls to “Build back better” and even to “Build forward” began to grow louder and more urgent across the world.

COVID-19 is yet another in a series of diseases that have emerged from humans’ interactions with animals and has been preceded by HIV, Ebola, swine flu, and avian influenza, to name a few.

But even as the policies to achieve this “build back” are being proposed, debated, and implemented, the root causes of the pandemic lack full recognition, muting the ability of these policies to prevent history from repeating itself, perhaps with an even more deadly pandemic, in the future. 

Now that we are close to the approval of a vaccine, it appears that the circulation of COVID-19 in mink on European fur farms has contributed to the emergence of new variants of the virus. Some worry that these variants will reduce the effectiveness of the vaccines currently in development, underscoring how our intransigence in addressing our relationship with animals continues to put us at risk

Today we stand at a crossroads,” writes Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE in the foreword of The Animals’ Manifesto, a new joint-manifesto from 150 animal and environmental protection agencies calling for the inclusion of animal welfare in COVID-19 recovery policies.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is still affecting almost all countries of the world,” writes Goodall. “How shocking to realize that we brought this on ourselves. Through our disrespect of the natural world, and our disrespect of animals.”THE ANIMALS’ MANIFESTO

In The Animals’ Manifestoover 150 organizations across the globe are calling on world leadersinternational institutionspolitical parties, and stakeholders to assess the direction of current COVID-19 response efforts, realign these with the glaring need for transformative change, and finally address humanity’s exploitation of animals. Specifically, the organizations are calling for:Steps to incorporate One Health and One Welfare into policies. One Health recognizes the linkages between human, animal, and environmental health, while One Welfare extends this concept to other aspects of wellbeing, such as food security, livelihoods, and humane treatment. Incorporating a One Welfare approach is key to ensuring an equitable, sustainable, and humane future.
 Concrete politics and actions that transform farming systems, change food consumption habits, end the unnecessary exploitation of wildlife, increase vaccine development efficiencies, and ensure the wellbeing of animals in communities—such as companion animals and working equines.
 Visionary, prudent, and necessarily bold leadership by global institutions at the center of the COVID-19 response, including the UN General Assembly, the UN Environmental Programme, the UN Development Programme, and international financial institutions.
 To read the full manifesto, click here.
 While COVID-19 should have been a clarion call to fully address our broken relationship with animals and chart a new course forward, many global institutions are still sidestepping the issue. 

Last week, the UN General Assembly hosted a Special Session on COVID-19. The Concept Note and Program circulated in a letter by the President of the General Assembly (PGA) stated that the two-day event will allow stakeholders to reflect on COVID-19 response thus far and “forge a united, coordinated, and people-centered path forward,” yet the word “animal” did not appear even once in the PGA’s letter.

In other policy frameworks, rather than work towards a socially just end to the commercial trade of wildlife, policymakers are calling simply to make the wildlife trade “safe.” And international financial institutions like the International Finance Corporation are continuing to funnel millions of dollars into intensive pig farms in countries like China, where the CDC is already monitoring a new group of swine flu viruses that have “pandemic potential.”

Will we continue with ‘business as usual’ or, shall we choose to get together and develop a new relationship with the natural world?
Read the full story here

Jane Goodall on conservation, climate change and COVID-19: “If we carry on with business as usual, we’re going to destroy ourselves”


JULY 2, 2020 / 6:57 PM / CBS NEWS


While COVID-19 and protests for racial justice command the world’s collective attention, ecological destruction, species extinction and climate change continue unabated. While the world’s been focused on other crises, an alarming study was released warning that species extinction is now progressing so fast that the consequences of “biological annihilation” may soon be “unimaginable.”

Dr. Jane Goodall, the world-renowned conservationist, desperately wants the world to pay attention to what she sees as the greatest threat to humanity’s existence.

CBS News recently spoke to Goodall over a video conference call and asked her questions about the state of our planet. Her soft-spoken grace somehow helped cushion what was otherwise extremely sobering news: “I just know that if we carry on with business as usual, we’re going to destroy ourselves. It would be the end of us, as well as life on Earth as we know it,” warned Goodall.

Walt Disney World Awaken Summer - Media Preview
Dr. Jane Goodall at a reception in honor of Disney Conservation Funds 20th anniversary on April 18, 2016 in Orlando, Florida.GUSTAVO CABALLERO / GETTY IMAGES

What follows is a lightly edited transcript of our conversation.
Jeff Berardelli: Destruction of nature is causing some really big concerns around the world. One that comes to the forefront right now is emergent diseases like COVID-19. Can you describe how destruction of the environment contributes to this?

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Dr. Jane Goodall: Well, the thing is, we brought this on ourselves because the scientists that have been studying these so-called zoonotic diseases that jump from an animal to a human have been predicting something like this for so long. As we chop down at stake tropical rainforest, with its rich biodiversity, we are eating away the habitats of millions of animals, and many of them are being pushed into greater contact with humans. We’re driving deeper and deeper, making roads throughout the habitat, which again brings people and animals in contact with each other. People are hunting the animals and selling the meat, or trafficking the infants, and all of this is creating environments which are perfect for a virus or a bacteria to cross that species barrier and sometimes, like COVID-19, it becomes very contagious and we’re suffering from it. 

But we know if we don’t stop destroying the environment and disrespecting animals — we’re hunting them, killing them, eating them; killing and eating chimpanzees in Central Africa led to HIV/AIDS — there will be another one. It’s inevitable.

Do you fear that the next [pandemic] will be a lot worse than this one?

Climate Change 

Well, we’ve been lucky with this one because, although it’s incredibly infectious, the percentage of people who die is relatively low. Mostly they recover and hopefully then build up some immunity. But supposing the next one is just as contagious and has a percentage of deaths like Ebola, for example, this would have an even more devastating effect on humanity than this one.

I think people have a hard time connecting these, what may look like chance events, with our interactions and relationship with nature. Can you describe to people why the way that we treat the natural world is so important? 

Well, first of all, it’s not just leading to zoonotic diseases, and there are many of them. The destruction of the environment is also contributing to the climate crisis, which tends to be put in second place because of our panic about the pandemic. We will get through the pandemic like we got through World War II, World War I, and the horrors following the World Trade towers being destroyed. But climate change is a very real existential threat to humankind and we don’t have that long to slow it down. 

Intensive farming, where we’re destroying the land slowly with the chemical poisons, and the monocultures — which can be wiped out by a disease because there is no variation of crops being grown — is leading to habitat destruction. It’s leading to the creation of more CO2 through fossil fuels, methane gas and other greenhouse gas [released] by digestion from the billions of domestic animals.https://c08e3ca301573b8802c73c1c8cc0e9db.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

It’s pretty grim. We need to realize we’re part of the environment, that we need the natural world. We depend on it. We can’t go on destroying. We’ve got to somehow understand that we’re not separated from it, we are all intertwined. Harm nature, harm ourselves.

If we continue on with business as usual, what do you fear the outcome will be?

Well,if we continue with business as usual, we’re going to come to the point of no return.  At a certain point the ecosystems of the world will just give up and collapse and that’s the end of us eventually too. 

What about our children? We’re still bringing children into the world — what a grim future is theirs to look forward to. It’s pretty shocking but my hope is, during this pandemic, with people trapped inside, factories closed down temporarily, and people not driving, it has cleared up the atmosphere amazingly. The people in the big cities can look up at the night sky and sea stars are bright, not looking through a layer of pollution. So when people emerge [from the pandemic] they’re not going to want to go back to the old polluted

Now, in some countries there’s not much they can do about it. But if enough of them, a groundswell becomes bigger and bigger and bigger [and] people say: “No I don’t want to go down this road. We want to find a different, green economy. We don’t want to always put economic development ahead of protecting the environment. We care about the future. We care about the health of the planet. We need nature,” maybe in the end the big guys will have to listen.

I often think our economic future, which is always put at the forefront, is actually dependent upon our ecological future. Without an ecological future, there is not going to be any economic growth. Would you agree? 

Absolutely. I mean, it’s all been said again and again, but fossil fuels are not infinite, they will come to an end, leading to a lot more destruction of the environment for sure. Forests and natural resources are not infinite and yet we’re treating them as though they are, and in some places using them up more quickly than nature can replenish them. 

We have to have a different kind of economy, we need a different way of thinking about what is success.Is it just about having more and more money, more and more stuff, being able to show off to your friends, and the wasteful society we live in? We waste clothes, we waste food, we waste laptops and cellphones. That pollutes the environment. So we’ve got to think differently, haven’t we?

So what do we do? Right now our worldview is based on GDP. You suggest that we think of it in a different way. So do you have a suggestion of how we rate our success other than GDP?

I’m not an economist.I just know that if we carry on with business as usual, we’re going to destroy ourselves. It would be the end of us, as well as life on Earth as we know it.

So one thing we can do, those of us in affluent societies can almost all do with a bit less. We have a very unsustainable lifestyle. You can’t really blame people, they grew up into it. But if you went through World War II like I did, when you took nothing for granted, one square of chocolate for a week is what we had and everything was rationed. So, you appreciate it. We never wasted even an ounce of food; not like today. 

Then, we also have to alleviate poverty. Because if you’re really poor you destroy the environment, you cut down the last trees to make land to grow more food for your family, or fish the last fish. Or if you’re in an urban area you buy the cheapest junk food. You don’t have the luxury of asking: how is this made, did it harm the environment, did it lead to the suffering of animals like in the factory farms, is it cheap because of child slave labor? You just have to buy the cheapest in order to survive. 

Then the third thing, which nobody wants to talk about, but nevertheless … there are approximately 7.8 billion of us on the planet today and already in some places we’re using up natural resources faster than nature can replenish them. In 2050 it’s estimated that there will be 9.7 billion of us. What will happen? We can’t just go on burying it under the carpet. 

Population issues are politically sensitive so I talk about voluntary population optimization. So that’s OK, it’s voluntary, it is your choice. You optimize it for your financial situation. People are desperate to educate their children and they can’t educate eight anymore. So they love family planning, and women can space out their children so that they can have a child and look after it. https://c08e3ca301573b8802c73c1c8cc0e9db.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Let’s switch gears. I don’t eat animals. I have a dog. I love my dog. Let’s talk about the idea that animals have feelings and that pigs are as intelligent as dogs…

You know, animals are so much more intelligent than people used to think, and they have feelings and emotions and personalities, like your dog, any animal you share your life with. You know, birds now are making tools and octopus are incredibly intelligent. And when we think of all this trafficking of animals, selling them in meat markets or factory farms, when you think that each one one is an individual, can feel fear and pain, can suffer mentally as well as physically, isn’t it shocking? I’m glad you don’t eat them. I don’t either, of course. 

Jane Goodall, the world's foremost autho
Jane Goodall, the world’s foremost authority on chimpanzees, communicates with a chimp named Nana at the zoo in Magdeburg, Germany, on June 6, 2004.JENS SCHLUETER/DDP/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

The shock and horror because in China and South Korea they eat dogs — well, the thought of eating a dog makes me feel particularly sick, but not more sick than eating a pig. They eat dogs and we don’t like it, but we eat pigs, and they are as intelligent as dogs. 

Isn’t the point, if you must eat an animal shouldn’t you treat it really well, like the Native Americans, respect the animal and give thanks that it’s sacrificed itself for you?

This is a bit more of a thought-provoking question: What has led us to this over-consumption in society? There is an idea that perhaps there is a Biblical basis, that we have dominion, that we’re in charge, and because we’re in charge we’re able to do what we want. Can you give me an idea of why we are where we are, as a world right now, and what led us here? 

[Laughing]You think I’m going to be able to answer all these questions?

I know it’s a lot, but I know that you must have some thoughts on this. 

Well, first of all, I do think that religion has played a role. I was told by a Hebrew scholar the original translation of that word that you just mentioned, “dominion,” is wrong. It’s actually something more like “stewardship.” That’s very different. If God gave us stewardship that’s different from saying we have dominion. So I think religion started this thinking that we’re so different from all the other animals and I was taught there was a difference in kind, not degree. Thank goodness the chimpanzees are so like us biologically, as well as behaviorally, that science had to start thinking differently. 

So how did we get there? It’s sort of been like this all throughout human history. There were so many fewer of us back then that we could have these unsustainable lifestyles and it didn’t really matter; they were sustainable. Think of how people have always exploited the natural world just because we can. And so there’s been a lag between developing new technologies [which enable us to] destroy whole forests. Whereas the indigenous people might take a week to cut down the big tree, we can do it in an hour. And the moral evolution and the sense of a spiritual awareness and connection to the natural world on which we depend, that’s lagged behind as well.

So how do we repair that? How do we rediscover our connection to the rest of the natural world?

As I think you know, I began a program for young people back in 1991 called Roots and Shoots because young people had lost hope in the future. I’ve met them all over the world. They were mostly apathetic and didn’t seem to care. Or they were angry or deeply depressed and they told me they felt like that because we compromised their future and there was nothing they could do about it. And we have compromised their future. We’ve been stealing it for years and years. And yes, we still are still stealing it today. But when they said there was nothing they could do I thought, no, that’s not right. We got this window of time. If we all get together, take action, we can start healing some of the harm, we can start slowing down climate change and we can work on educating people. 

Kids are really good at educating their parents and grandparents, some of whom may be in positions to make a huge difference, like CEOs of big companies or people in government. That program is now kindergarten to university and everything in between. It’s in 68 countries and growing. Every group has the message: Each one of us — and that means you as well as me — we make some impact every single day and we have the luxury of choosing the impact that we make. 

TV preview: Dr Jane Goodall remains relentless in her pursuit of a better understanding of the natural world

Jane Goodall in Gombe

Picture: PA Photo/Jane Goodall Institute

Jane Goodall in Gombe Picture: PA Photo/Jane Goodall Institute


Dr Jane Goodall talks to Gemma Dunn ahead of her latest National Geographic documentary, Jane Goodall: The Hope.

One of the most important figures in wildlife conservation, Dr Jane Goodall remains relentless in her pursuit of a better understanding of the natural world. And she’s hopeful for lasting change, she tells Gemma Dunn.

When Dr Jane Goodall arrived on the shores of Tanzania in 1960, she hadn’t envisaged where it may lead.

Aged just 26, the keen ethologist had set her sights on Gombe Stream National Park and it was there, with her mother in tow, that she began her field research on the little-known world of wild chimpanzees.

Equipped with little more than a notebook and binoculars, Dr Goodall – who immersed herself in their natural habitat – would observe the primates, coming to understand them not only as a species, but also as individuals with emotions and long-term bonds.

Among her findings was the discovery that chimpanzees make and use tools – a breakthrough that remains one of the greatest achievements of 20th-century scholarship.

Understandably, Dr Goodall, now 86, describes those days as ‘the best time of her life’.

“I knew those chimps; they were like part of my family,” she reasons. “I was joyful with them when they had a baby and I was grieving when one of them got sick or died. Being out in the forest, it was an amazing time.

“Then in 1986, realising that the chimps across Africa and the forest were in trouble, in captivity, I knew that my time had come to pay back.”

Her decision to embark on this journey was to be the marker of her groundbreaking legacy; a plea that’s seen her go on to transform environmentalism, non-human animal welfare and conservation; and redefine the relationship between humans and animals in ways that emanate around the world.

Yet today, Dr Goodall DBE, much like the majority of us, is at home.

It’s a forced break from her usual 300-plus days spent abroad each calendar year.

“I’m actually busier; it’s more exhausting than being on the road to be honest!” she whispers down the phone, having retreated back to her family home in Bournemouth during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I hate the airports, the aeroplanes, but now I’m busy all day trying to get out on social media [Dr Goodall boasts in excess of 3.5 million followers across the board], trying to make up for not being able to travel!

“We’ve had pandemics before, but we’ve never reacted quite like this,” Dr Goodall follows.

“But having lived through the Second World War, through other pandemics and through nasty situations in Africa, I know that we will get through this.

“I guess I’ve learned from being battered,” she muses. “There’s a poem [Invictus, by William Ernest Henley] that says, ‘My head is bloody, but unbowed’. I like that.”

As for what we can learn from this crisis, “It’s our messing with nature, cutting down forests, hunting animals, eating them and selling them, that’s led to these viruses spreading from animals to people,” warns the primatologist-cum-anthropologist.

“I’m hoping what will emerge from this is a better understanding of our relationship with the natural world.”

One offering likely to inspire such thinking – and our reason for chatting today – is her latest National Geographic venture, Jane Goodall: The Hope.

“Well, isn’t it amazing that a film called The Hope should come out right now, when we desperately need hope!” she says with a chuckle.

“If we don’t have hope, we all give in, right? There’s no point in planning anything for the future, if you don’t have hope.”

The two-hour documentary special – released in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of Earth Day – charts Dr Goodall’s rise to worldwide icon, from her days in Gombe and the 1977 formation of the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) to her Roots & Shoots youth empowerment programme, founded in 1991, and beyond.

“It’s in 24 countries – nearly 25,” she announces of JGI, which has a strong base in the UK, and was set up to inspire hope through action across the globe.

“And Roots & Shoots is in 65 countries and growing. It’s all over the world – kindergarten, university, rich children, poor children and children in different environments. It can grow on any soil, in any place, in any culture.

“What I’ve learned of young people,” she continues, “is once you give them the tools to understand the problems, you empower them to take action to solve them. Listen to their voices, don’t dictate to them. They’re so dedicated, determined and passionate and hopeful.

“We are going to change the world; we will slow down climate change.”

Achieving lasting change is in the approach, Dr Goodall – a mother and grandmother herself – has learned.

“You know, when I first began talking to the scientists in the medical research labs – these awful 5ft by 5ft cages – there were animal rights people who refused to speak to me,” she recalls.

“They said, ‘How can you sit down with those evil people? How can you talk with them?’ And I said, ‘But if you don’t talk, how on earth do you think you’re going to change them?’

“I think sometimes at the beginning of a movement, this kind of aggressive approach may be necessary to wake people up, but I couldn’t do that,” says Dr Goodall. “My way has always been to go and talk to the people quietly.

“The way I have of dealing with people, that’s why Roots & Shoots is all over China,” she adds. “We have one of the very few registered foreign NGOs, the Jane Goodall Institute China, endorsed by the government.

“Certain cultures, you must not make people lose face,” she counsels. “You want to change their heart.”

Through her travels, Dr Goodall has certainly done just that, unwavering still in her relentless commitment and determination to spread a message of hope.

It’s brought her a plethora of fans from every corner of the globe, she admits.

“I have to say, my email is overwhelmed with everybody wanting me to stay alive, [asking] ‘Am I taking care?'” she shares. “It’s heartwarming, because they all promise – grown-ups and children – that they’re going to do their bit.

“Those who’ve lost hope say, ‘You’ve given me hope, I promise I’ll do my bit’.”

It’s what keeps her on the road.

“I can’t slow down, can I? Obviously I’ll never get done all that needs to be done. But I’ll just go on, struggling till the end,” she realises.

“I want to grow Roots & Shoots in every country; I was going to go to India. I hope I still can, but who knows? There are a lot of places I want to try and make a difference in – that’s what I want to do now.

“I hope this film inspires people,” she finishes. “I hope it gives them hope – it’s title should, if nothing else!”

Jane Goodall: The Hope, National Geographic and National Geographic WILD on Wednesday, 6pm.

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Jane Goodall says ‘disrespect for animals’ caused pandemic

World-renowned primatologist Jane Goodall pleaded pleaded for humanity to learn from past mistakes
World-renowned primatologist Jane Goodall pleaded pleaded for humanity to learn from past mistakes (AFP Photo/Fabrice COFFRINI)

Paris (AFP) – World-renowned British primatologist Jane Goodall says the coronavirus pandemic was caused by humanity’s disregard for nature and disrespect for animals.

Goodall, who is best known for trail-blazing research in Africa that revealed the true nature of chimpanzees, pleaded for the world to learn from past mistakes to prevent future disasters.

During a conference call ahead of the release of the new National Geographic documentary “Jane Goodall: The Hope”, the 86-year-old also said everyone can make a difference.

– How do you view this pandemic? –

Goodall: It is our disregard for nature and our disrespect of the animals we should share the planet with that has caused this pandemic, that was predicted long ago.

Because as we destroy, let’s say the forest, the different species of animals in the forest are forced into a proximity and therefore diseases are being passed from one animal to another, and that second animal is then most likely to infect humans as it is forced into closer contact with humans.

It’s also the animals who are hunted for food, sold in markets in Africa or in the meat market for wild animals in Asia, especially China, and our intensive farms where we cruelly crowd together billions of animals around the world. These are the conditions that create an opportunity for the viruses to jump from animals across the species barrier to humans.

– What can we do about these animal markets? –

It’s really good that China closed down the live wild animal markets, in a temporary ban which we hope will be made permanent, and other Asian countries will follow suit.

But in Africa it will be very difficult to stop the selling of bush meat because so many people rely on that for their livelihoods.

It will need a lot of careful thought on how it should be done, you can’t just stop somebody doing something when they have absolutely no money to support themselves or their families, but at least this pandemic should have taught us the kind of things to do to prevent another one.

– What can we hope for? –

We have to realise we are part of the natural world, we depend on it, and as we destroy it we are actually stealing the future from our children.

Hopefully, because of this unprecedented response, the lockdowns that are going on around the world, more people will wake up and eventually they can start thinking about ways they can live their lives differently.

Everyone can make an impact every single day.

If you think about the consequences of the little choices you make: what you eat, where it came from, did it cause cruelty to animals, is it made from intensive farming — which mostly it is — is it cheap because of child slave labour, did it harm the environment in its production, where did it come from, how many miles did it travel, did you think that perhaps you could walk and not take your car.

(Also consider) ways that you could perhaps help alleviate poverty because when people are poor they can’t make these ethical choices. They just have to do whatever they can to survive — they can’t question what they buy, they must buy the cheapest, and they are going to cut down the last tree because they are desperate to find land on which they can grow more food.

So what we can do in our individual lives does depend a little bit on who we are, but we all can make a difference, everybody can.

Donald Trump: World-renowned primatologist Jane Goodall likens US President to a chimpanzee

‘To impress rivals, males seeking to rise in the dominance hierarchy perform spectacular displays: Stamping, slapping the ground, dragging branches, throwing rocks,’ says prominent conservationist

Primatologist Jane Goodall has since been echoed by prominent psychologist Professor Dan P McAdams

Primatologist Jane Goodall has since been echoed by prominent psychologist Professor Dan P McAdams ( EPA )

World-renowned primatologist Dame Jane Goodall has likened Donald Trump‘s behaviour to that of a chimpanzee.

The British conservationist first gained international recognition for studying chimps in what is now Tanzania and has studied the primates for more than 50 years.

“In many ways the performances of Donald Trump remind me of male chimpanzeesand their dominance rituals,” she told The Atlantic during the 2016 presidential election.

“In order to impress rivals, males seeking to rise in the dominance hierarchy perform spectacular displays: Stamping, slapping the ground, dragging branches, throwing rocks.”

A more aggressive display was likely to lead the male to higher positions in the hierarchy and allow it to maintain its status for longer, she said.

Mr Trump’s election campaign was littered with bombastic statements and since becoming President, he has issued increasingly aggressive threats towards North Korea.

In his first address to the UN General Assembly, he said the US may have no choice but to “totally destroy” North Korea.

Dame Jane’s analysis of Mr Trump’s behaviour has since been echoed by prominent psychologist Professor Dan P McAdams.

Describing what he called a male chimpanzee’s “charging display” in an article in The Guardian, Professor Adams, of Northwestern University, said: “The top male essentially goes berserk and starts screaming, hooting, and gesticulating wildly as he charges toward other males nearby.”

He added: “Trump’s incendiary tweets are the human equivalent of a charging display: Designed to intimidate his foes and rally his submissive base, these verbal outbursts reinforce the President’s dominance by reminding everybody of his wrath and his force.”

Dame Goodall has previously condemned the Republican President’s plans to scrap key US climate change policies as “extremely depressing”.

Mr Trump resolved to take America out of the Paris climate change agreement, although in recent months has appeared to soften on the issue.

“There’s no way we can say climate change isn’t happening: it’s happened,” Dame Jane said in March during her first trip to the US since the election.

“There is definitely a feeling of gloom and doom among all the people I know.

“If we allow this feeling of doom and gloom to continue then it will be very, very bad, but my job is to give people hope, and I think one of the main hopes is the fact that people have woken up: people who were apathetic before or didn’t seem to care.”

Jane Goodall and Alec Baldwin Discuss Importance of Plant-Based Diet at Global Climate Action Summit


This year’s Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco got pretty heated (no pun intended). Between California Governor Jerry Brown calling President Donald Trump a “liar, criminal, fool” and protestors rallying outside against fossil fuel extraction, despite the governor signing into law the state’s commitment to 100 percent clean energy by 2045 this week, the event was certainly not lacking in high emotion. But on a cooler note, actors Harrison Ford and Alec Baldwin and everyone’s favorite primatologist, Jane Goodall, were also present at the Summit, and Baldwin and Goodall sat down for a chat on the importance of plant-based diets in regards to forests and the fight against climate change.

And although a primatologist and an actor may seemingly have little in common, the two celebrities have one very important commonality — they are advocates for the environment and promote ditching meat for the sake of the planet.



Goodall and Baldwin both ditch meat from their diets and credit environmental concerns as reasoning for it. And they are absolutely right that eliminating animal products from your life has a humongous positive effect on not only your health and the livelihood of animals, but on the environment and world as a whole as well.

Animal agriculture is a leading contributor to climate change, being responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation sector (cars, planes, trains, etc.) combined. In fact, a recent study revealed that animal agriculture is more harmful to the environment than fossil fuel extractors like Shell and Exxon Mobil (so maybe those protestors at this year’s Summit should have been carrying anti-meat, egg, and dairy signs instead…). Going plant-based just for one year has the potential to cut your carbon footprint in HALF, while giving you a myriad of health benefits (vegan diets are free of cholesterol, antibiotics, etc. and chock-full of vitamins and nutrients) and saving the lives of so many innocent animals. If everyone adopted a plant-based diet, then yes, we could certainly meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and keep our planet’s temperature from rising those two more dangerous degrees.

To learn more about the connections between our diets and the environment, be sure to check out the fact-filled, image-rich Eat for the Planet book!

And please remember to share this with your network as a reminder that going plant-based can literally help save the world!

Image Source: eatforclimateweek/Instagram 

Ivanka Trump quoted Jane Goodall, who responded with a plea: ‘Stand with us’

May 3 at 5:36 AM

In Ivanka Trump’s new book, “Women Who Work,” released Tuesday, the president’s daughter includes a quote from Jane Goodall, the renowned chimp researcher and crusader for conservation.

“What you do makes a difference,” the quote reads, “and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”

It was one of several quotes in Trump’s book attributed to people who have criticized President Trump or voiced support for presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. The reference to Goodall, 83, was also particularly timely, considering the book dropped less than a week after scores marched in Washington to push for action on climate change, a movement Goodall has ardently supported.

So, as the conservationist has done before, Goodall took the opportunity to make a statement. And give the president’s daughter a bit of advice.

“I understand that Ms. Trump has used one of my quotes in her forthcoming book,” Goodall said in a statement provided to The Washington Post. “I was not aware of this, and have not spoken with her, but I sincerely hope she will take the full import of my words to heart.”

Goodall said legislation passed by previous governments to protect wildlife — such as the Endangered Species Act, efforts to create national monuments and other clean air and water legislation — “have all been jeopardized by this administration.”

“She is in a position to do much good or terrible harm,” Goodall said. “I hope that Ms. Trump will stand with us to value and cherish our natural world and protect this planet for future generations.”

Jane Goodall reflects on how young people inspire hope

Play Video0:58
At an event for youth in a school in Northern Virginia, Dr. Jane Goodall reflects on how young people inspire hope. (Daron Taylor/The Washington Post)

In a statement to CNNMoney on Tuesday, representatives for Ivanka Trump said “Women Who Work” is “not a political book,” and its manuscript was submitted months before the election.

“Ivanka has always believed that no one person or party has a monopoly on good ideas,” the statement said. “When she was writing this book, she included quotes from many different thought leaders who’ve inspired Ivanka and helped inform her viewpoints over the years.”

This is not the first time Goodall, a native of England, has spoken out critically about the Trump administration since the election.

Shortly after Trump won the presidency, Goodall wrote a lengthy post on her website called “Post Election 2016: What’s Next?”

“Will Donald Trump, the President of the United States, be a different person from Donald Trump, the presidential candidate? ” Goodall wrote. “We can only hope for the best, hope for a change of heart as he contemplates his tremendous power for helping to save our planet for the future — his youngest child is only 10 years old — and his equally tremendous power to inflict untold damage.”

In late March, after the president signed a sweeping executive order dismantling key rules curbing U.S. carbon emissions, Goodall told reporters she found the order “immensely depressing.”

“There’s no way we can say climate change isn’t happening: it’s happened,” Goodall said ahead of a speech at American University in Washington.

“There is definitely a feeling of gloom and doom among all the people I know,” she added in her first trip to the U.S. since the election. “If we allow this feeling of doom and gloom to continue then it will be very, very bad, but my job is to give people hope, and I think one of the main hopes is the fact that people have woken up: people who were apathetic before or didn’t seem to care.”

Goodall participated in the 2014 Peoples Climate March in NYC, and frequently voiced her support of Saturday’s march on social media. An artist included Goodall as one of several massive cardboard cutout signs of notable figures for the People’s Climate March in Washington on Saturday.

More than half a century ago, at the age of 26, Goodall immersed herself among wild chimpanzees is what is now Tanzania. Her observations that chimps had emotions and personalities, and could make and use tools, would revolutionize the way we think about animals and redefine what it means to be human.

Goodall now travels 300 days a year to share stories and lessons with audiences around the world. She frequently speaks about threats facing chimpanzees and environmental crises, urging people to take action to conserve wildlife.

Shortly before Trump won the Republican nomination for president, she told the Atlantic that in many ways, “the performances of Donald Trump remind me of male chimpanzees and their dominance rituals.”

“In order to impress rivals, males seeking to rise in the dominance hierarchy perform spectacular displays: stamping, slapping the ground, dragging branches, throwing rocks,” Goodall said. “The more vigorous and imaginative the display, the faster the individual is likely to rise in the hierarchy, and the longer he is likely to maintain that position.”