*

Saving the Planet One Story at a Time
menu +

Blog


By Melanie Redman

In some ways it’s hard to imagine that fifty years have passed since GreenHero Dr. Jane Goodall, scientist, animal rights activist, and conservationist, first visited Gombe and began studying chimpanzees in the wild.

Yet, so many things have changed since her groundbreaking observation that chimpanzees make tools and hand down the knowledge of how to do this from generation to generation – formerly thought to be a uniquely human attribute.

As this year is the 50th anniversary of Dr. Goodall’s first visit to Gombe, the Jane Goodall Institute issued “Jane Goodall: 50 Years at Gombe,” (Published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang – An imprint of ABRAMS
2010) not only in celebration of the amazing achievements of Dr. Goodall’s life, but also as an update to the innovations and evolutions in thinking of Dr. Goodall’s work, and others like her.

The most striking facet of this book is the discussion of Dr. Goodall’s current work. Did you know that for the last 24 years, Dr. Goodall has spent less than three weeks in any one place? For a woman known for her patient observations of animal behaviour over hours and hours of sitting quietly in one place, this seems impossible!

However, Dr. Goodall recognized that leaving her work at Gombe in the hands of others, and taking up the torch of raising global awareness was the best thing she could do to help ensure the long-term survival of chimpanzees, and all Great Apes, in the wild (thus, defining Dr. Goodall as a true GreenHero in my book).

The book reveals the extent of Dr. Goodall’s current reach, scope, and on-going belief in humanity, despite the horrors in animal treatment she’s witnessed. Dr. Goodall identifies four reasons for hope: the human brain (a dandy device, isn’t it?), the resilience of nature (as they say, the earth will recover from our reckless disregard for nature – we just won’t be around to witness it), the determination of young people, and the indomitable human spirit.

Along these lines, Dr. Goodall’s Roots and Shoots program inspires and supports young people around the world in taking action in their communities. Youth choose projects that show care and compassion for the human community, animals, and the environment.

Dr. Goodall also came to realize that growing populations and deep-rooted human problems, such as poverty, needed to be addressed in conjunction with animal and habitat conservation.

This is where her TACARE program (pronounced “Take Care”) and innovations in technology come to play. The program works to link conservation to poverty alleviation (very different than the “prosperity comes from resource extraction” model we’ve grown so used to) by fostering “community-centered conservation activities that seek to preserve and restore the environment while helping villagers meet basic needs, such as education, health care, clean water, and arable land.”

One use of innovations in technology to help achieve ecological balance for human populations in poverty with animal populations is with geographic information systems mapping and analysis.

These tools are used to document and better understand how human communities and animals like chimpanzees compete for space:

“…scientists meet with villagers, and together they pore over satellite maps and discuss how the forest has dwindled over the decades, how wildlife and people use the land now, and what might be the best use of given areas – including conservation – in the future.”

In addition to this important work to cultivate the well-being and prosperity of human populations, Dr. Goodall is still crusading on behalf of chimpanzees and other endangered animals who are poached in the commercial bushmeat trade, locked up in cages for medical research, or sold for entertainment purposes. “Every year, poachers kill thousands of chimpanzees,” and given that there are less than 300,000 left in the wild, this has a devastating impact.

Dr. Goodall’s 50th anniversary tour recently brought her to Canada – specifically to Calgary – to share her ongoing work and rally people like you and me to act to end the devastating effects poverty has on human and animal populations around the world. After all, Dr. Goodall’s life to date is a reminder of what one person can accomplish in the struggle for animal and human rights.

So, let us move forward with faith in ourselves, in our intelligence, in our indomitable spirit. Let us develop respect for all living things. Let us try to replace violence and intolerance with understanding and compassion. And love.”

– Jane Goodall

This review also appears on www.rabble.ca<

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, youth can sprout change: Share stories of young people you know creating positive change, by entering  our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero! Contest details and more information can be found here.

GreenHeroes.tv is all about saving the planet, one story at a time. Do you have a great story to tell about how you’re helping to make the world a greener place? Enter the contest to nominate a friend or yourself – you could be one of Canada’s next GreenHeroes!

Watch and learn about our celebrity GreenHeroes

Read our blog to keep up-to-date on GreenHeroes Campaigns

Sign up for our newsletter

Follow us on Twitter

Become our fan on Facebook

Tune in Tuesday November 2 at 7 p.m. (EST) for the launch of GreenHeroes on TVO.

On the eve of the launch of our companion TV show, it’s been a delight to meet some of the best out-of-the box, risk-takers on our planet. It is a combo of wit and wiry determination that propels our GreenHeroes to act on their dreams, survive the rocky road of opposition and to wind up at their ultimate destination – success.

Take Jane Goodall for example. As a young girl she was inspired by the 1930s Tarzan movies to travel to Africa and study chimpanzees. It didn’t matter that she didn’t have a university degree or that single woman didn’t venture to a vast and relatively unknown continent thousands of miles from their home. She went anyway.

Jane was fortunate. She met the renowned anthropologist Louis Leaky who took her under his wing.

Jane Goodall with Louis Leaky
Photo credit: The Jane Goodall Institute

He was looking for someone like Jane, someone who didn’t have academic credentials – just a genuine interest in learning and observing chimpanzees.

His mentorship led Jane to record amazing breakthroughs in chimp behaviour that changed how we view our relationship to animals. Before Jane, it was thought that humans were separate from the animal kingdom. Jane pointed out the similarities and changed forever our thinking about humanity’s place in nature.

These original thinkers and do-ers – are exactly the kind of heroes I like to watch and follow. This week, watch Jane and three other heroes working to preserve our animal kingdom.

All four are paradigm shifters: Rob Stewart, who in one film changed my view of sharks, The Cove’s Ric O’Barry who lifted the curtain on water-theme parks, and Bill Lishman – who showed me how dreams take flight with his “crazy” idea of teaching birds with his ultralight airplane to Fly Away Home.

Tune in tomorrow and in the weeks to come for other GreenHeroes venturing forth to Save the Planet One Story at a Time.

– Joan Prowse, Producer/Director of GreenHeroes TV

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, youth can sprout change: Share stories of young people you know creating positive change, by entering  our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero! Contest details and more information can be found here.

GreenHeroes.tv is all about saving the planet, one story at a time. Do you have a great story to tell about how you’re helping to make the world a greener place? Enter the contest to nominate a friend or yourself – you could be one of Canada’s next GreenHeroes!

Watch and learn about our celebrity GreenHeroes

Read our blog to keep up-to-date on GreenHeroes Campaigns

Sign up for our newsletter

Follow us on Twitter

Become our fan on Facebook

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be Jane Goodall? This GreenHero has been working to protect chimps for 50 years, when she was just a young woman without a formal education in conservation. Today, she has travelled the world, and her experiences have changed significantly.

No longer working for long periods of time directly with the chimps, her work now is about sprouting change in people and youth around the world. Take a peek into a day in the life of Jane Goodall, and see how her experiences have changed from the 1960’s to today.


By Jane Goodall

Jane recounts a typical day spent at Gombe in the 1960’s:

Photo credit: The Jane Goodall Institute

I get up at 6:45am, or an hour earlier if I’m going to un-nest the chimps (un-nesting is when you clamber back to where you left the chimps the night before and sit beneath the nest, waiting for movement). From my house on the beach I can get to the chimps wherever they are. They get up slowly one after the other, sit for a while, then wander off and start to feed.

Breakfast is usually a piece of bread and a cup of coffee, and I don’t bother with lunch when I’m out. Some of the wild fruit chimps eat are quite tasty when ripe, though most are horribly astringent. There isn’t really anything that I’ve ever craved when living in the bush. I’ve been lucky in that it’s very easy for me to adjust. My one luxury is music: Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert, Mahler, Sibelius, and so on.

It can be exhausting climbing high, far and fast, around 3 pm you feel very weary because of spending a lot of the day on your stomach, crawling, with vines catching your hair.

At dusk, the chimps nest. It’s lovely in the sunset after a hot day. The birds sing. It’s quiet. The mother will play with her babies; they’ll play up in the branches and come to her arms when it gets dark, which is around 7:30 pm.

When they’ve nested, I’ll pick my way home. I’ll jump into Lake Tanganyika and the clear fresh water makes all my bruises, aches and tiredness go away.

I’ll cook something like beans, onions and tomatoes over an open fire. Day-time cooking at Gombe requires House Rule Number #1: keep the door shut because the baboons push past you to get to the food.

Jane recounts a typical day today:

Sadly, today I am very seldom able to spend time in Gombe. Since 1986, I haven’t stayed anywhere longer than three weeks. These days I sometimes wonder where I am when I wake up. On my last lecture tour I rarely spent two nights in one place. There are lectures, new people to meet, receptions, and press conferences.

A typical non-African day is spent in airplanes, lobbying, writing letters and sorting slides. People often recognize me because of the National Geographic Society, so I always carry brochures from the Jane Goodall Institute.

When in England I still stay in Bournemouth where I lived with my extended family during my childhood. Breakfast there is at 9 am, which is great for me because I can get in three hours’ work beforehand.

In the afternoon there is more writing, a peaceful tea with the family, a walk with the dog, then supper, and then more work.

I often have problems sleeping, though. I suppose I’m trying to do too many things…

– Jane Goodall


Remember – in the battle to save the planet, youth can sprout change: Share stories of young people you know creating positive change, by entering  our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero! Contest details and more information can be found here.

GreenHeroes.tv is all about saving the planet, one story at a time. Do you have a great story to tell about how you’re helping to make the world a greener place? Enter the contest to nominate a friend or yourself – you could be one of Canada’s next GreenHeroes!

Watch and learn about our celebrity GreenHeroes

Read our blog to keep up-to-date on GreenHeroes Campaigns

Sign up for our newsletter

Follow us on Twitter

Become our fan on Facebook

TOP