An exceptional life and work remind us of the British 81 years-old naturalist, primatologist and activist Valerie Jane Morris Goodall. More than one hundred international awards for her scientific efforts toward the study of chimpanzee behaviour and for promoting a more respectful and sustainable life are the proof.
Her childhood dream of travelling to Africa and of being near the animals was fulfilled, although raised in a modest family, when she met Louis Leakey, the paleoanthropologist who hired her as his assistant and later sent her to study chimpanzees in their habitat, in Tanzania. In that period, Goodall discovered that these primates made use of tools, the first of many discoveries that have revolutionized the concept we had of monkeys during her nearly 60 years of research.
Her scientific study area is located in Gombe, although from 1977, with the creation of the Jane Goodall Institute, her activism for the protection and rehabilitation of chimpanzees and awareness spans several countries now. These activities are coordinated from the Institute’s 28 offices spread throughout the world. In this sense, the environmental education program Roots & Shoots is currently working on in 130 countries. As a former president of Advocates for Animals, Jane Goodall also fought for primates not being used for advertising purposes, zoos or medical research.
She has been married twice and has a son from her first marriage.
Let’s read a few thoughts by Jane Goodall:
Now we finally have realized the terrible damage we have caused to the environment, we are exaggerating our ingenuity to find technological solutions. The technology alone is not enough. We also have to put the heart into it.
Think every day about the consequences of your actions, what you eat, what you buy, in what you move! These details are of great significance. If we believe, it would be an unprecedented change. We are on time. Do it now!
Chimpanzees have given me so much… The long shared hours with them in the forest have enriched my life beyond imagination… What I have learnt from them has shaped my understanding of human behavior and our place in the nature.
After chimpanzees have a fight, the victim rises and opens its arms for peace: he wants to be hugged or webbed, make sure that the link is still there despite the confrontation. This is how social and personal harmony is restored.
What happens is that if you have such a sophisticated and cunning thing as our brain is, but it is disconnected from the heart –in the literary sense of the heart as the seat of love and compassion, then what emerges from it is a very dangerous creature. And that is what we are now.
[Habitat destruction] is often linked to greed and materialism in the developed world.
Economic stability should be to improve the living standards of those who have nothing, and to reduce the level of selfish life of so many people who have more than they need. What sense does it make to collect so much?
I wish you a happy week,
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