Jane Goodall turns 80 next week, yet she continues to give 300+ presentations around the world each year. She is my absolute hero for the work she has done with the chimpanzees in Gombe, but more importantly with her work as a conservationist. I saw her speak at the Vancouver Orpheum last night. After initially relating the story of her lost luggage that has yet to catch up with her she began to share her stories of living among the chimps in Africa.
When Jane began to speak the entire audience leaned forward, captivated. In her soft British accent she spoke of the destruction of the chimpanzee habitat in Africa, as well as environmental concerns around the world. She wondered how we can send men into space, spacecraft to mars, but still allow the natural state of our planet to be destroyed. She said, “We have lost our wisdom… there has been a disconnect between the head and the heart.”
A disconnect. How profoundly true.
Jane’s presentation was serious but not gloomy. She feels that when humans have their back up against the wall, as we do right now where the health of Mother Earth is concerned, we will be forced to think creatively, and we will find the means to implement those creative solutions needed to restore the planet. She says the environment is ultimately forgiving, and although it will never be the pristine planet it once was, it can be restored to a healthy place. She feels that each and every one of us can make a difference by making informed choices, ie. the food that we purchase… could we have made a better choice for the environment? She believes that if each of us continues to make more and more choices in the planet’s favour, we will turn things around. All the small things add up to make a big difference.
After giving Dr. Goodall a standing ovation, the crowd broke into a spontaneous round of “Happy Birthday to You”.
I hope she is around to celebrate many more birthdays and to continue to share her important message of hope.