An inspiring Earth Day message from Jane Goodall

February 2, 2007 | By | Reply More

I know that it’s not Earth Day.  On the other hand, every day is (or should be) Earth Day.   Mainly, I wanted to share the link to Jane Goodall’s Earth Day talk from the spring, 2006 (see below). 

The students in my daughter’s class were given an assignment to read a biography and then make a short presentation to their 1st grade class.  Without any pressure from me, Charlotte chose Jane Goodall.  Tonight we finished reading one of Jane Goodall autobiographies together. 

Even as a tiny girl, Jane couldn’t wait to get out of the classroom and to get outdoors. At seven years, old, Jane and her friends painted numbers on the sides of snails and held snail races.   She and her friends also formed a nature club and built an outdoor nature “museum” for which they charged admission to people passing by.  With that money, they bought the freedom of two horses that were about to be butchered. 

The lesson I’m realizing, made all-the-more-real in that I’ve been spending time with my young daughter, is that the things children experience while they are young can make a difference.  What would Jane Goodall have accomplished as an adult had she spent her childhood watching TV and hanging around at the mall? I am also reminded how important it is to invest in children while they are young.  As I wrote in an earlier article, it even makes economic sense to do so.

Most everyone knows about Goodall’s groundbreaking work studying chimpanzees at Gombe National Park in Tanzania.  She learned that chimpanzees sometimes do eat meat, contrary to prevailing beliefs.  She learned, to the astonishment of many, that chimpanzees make their own tools.  She learned this by very patiently taking the time to observe the chimpanzees.  You know, old-fashioned evidence-based science . . .

What I didn’t know, until tonight, is what an eloquent and gracious speaker Goodall is.  If you’re interested in hearing her, go to the homepage of the Jane Goodall Institute, then click the link for “Spreading the Hope,” Goodall’s 2006 Earth Day address.  You’ll learn about how incredibly much the study of chimpanzees has “blurred the line” between humans and other animals.  You learn all of this by listening to the voice of an incredibly dedicated woman who began her studies in Tanzania 47 years ago.

For instance, humans and chimpanzees are so closely related that they can share each others’ blood (at least, those of the same blood type).  You’ll learn of the desperate plight of chimpanzees, who have shrunk from 2 million in 1960 down to 175,000 today, many of them living in isolated communities that are doomed.  At the conclusion of her talk, though, Jane presents a message of hope.

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Category: Environment, Evolution, Science

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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