Just recently I got the following message in an email about Jane Goodall who is celebrating a very special anniversary.
Since she was 26 years old, Jane Goodall has devoted her life to research and conservation. After decades at Gombe, where she revolutionized the ways we study and think about animals, she turned to saving the environment in which they live.
Thank Jane Goodall for her 50 years of remarkable activism! »
Your signatures will be hand-delivered to Jane Goodall on September 27th during the Jane Goodall Live event in hundreds of movie theaters. Tickets can be purchased via the thank you email you’ll receive after signing.
In 1977, Jane established the Jane Goodall Institute, which is now a model for community-based conservation and development programs in Africa. Its youth-oriented program, Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots, started in 1991 with a group of 16 teenagers, has since grown to nearly 150,000 young people in 120 countries.
Sign now to thank Jane for her great accomplishments and to pledge to be an activist in your own life, even if it’s in a small way. »
Take action link: http://www.care2.com/go/z/e/AgQyY/zLbc/BTvev
Jane Goodall is considered to be the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees, and is best known for her 45-year study of social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National Park, Tanzania.
Jane Goodall was born in London, England in 1934 to Mortimer Herbert Morris-Goodall, a businessman, and Margaret Myfanwe Joseph, a novelist who wrote under the name Vanne Morris-Goodall. As a child Jane was given a lifelike chimpanzee toy named Jubilee by her father; her fondness for the toy started her early love of animals. Today, the toy still sits on her dresser in London. In her book, Reason For Hope, she muses, “My mother’s friends were horrified by this toy, thinking it would frighten me and give me nightmares.” Of the apes, I like the chimpanzees the best. They are cute, smart and funny.
Jane’s passion for animals and Africa led her to a friend’s farm in Kenya’s highlands in 1957. There she worked as a secretary, and acting on her friend’s advice she telephoned Louis Leakey, a Kenyan archaeologist and paleontologist to make an appointment to discuss animals. Leakey believed that the study of existing great apes could provide indications of the behaviour of early hominids and was looking for a chimpanzee researcher, an idea which he kept to himself. Instead, he proposed that Jane work for him as a secretary and then after obtaining his wife Mary Leakey’s approval, he sent Jane to Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, where he laid out his plans.
A year later, Leakey sent Jane to London to study primate behavior with Osman Hill and primate anatomy with John Napier. Leakey raised funds, and on 14 July 1960 Jane went to Gombe Stream National Park becoming the first of “Leakey’s Angels”. She was accompanied by her mother.
Leakey arranged funding and in 1962 sent Jane to Cambridge University even though she didn’t have a degree. At Cambridge, she obtained a Ph.D degree in Ethology. She became the eighth person to be allowed to study for a Ph.D without a BA or B.Sc degree. She completed her thesis in 1965 under the tutorship of Robert Hinde, former master of St. John’s College, Cambridge, titled “Behavior of the Free-Ranging Chimpanzee,” detailing her first five years of study at the Gombe Reserve.
Jane was married twice. Her first husband a Dutch nobleman, wildlife photographer Baron Hugo van Lawick. During their marriage she became known as Baroness Jane van Lawick-Goodall. The couple had a son, Hugo Eric Louis, affectionately known as “Grub,” who was born in 1967. The couple divorced in 1974. A year later Jane married Derek Bryceson, a member of Tanzania’s parliament and the director of the country’s national parks. He died of cancer in October 1980. His position in the Tanzanian government as head of the country’s national park system enabled him to protect Jane’s research project and implement an embargo on tourism at Gombe while he was alive.
When Jane was asked if she believed in God, Goodall in September 2010 her response was: “I don’t have any idea of who or what God is. But I do believe in some great spiritual power. I don’t know what to call it. I feel it particularly when I’m out in nature. It’s just something that’s bigger and stronger than what I am or what anybody is. I feel it. And it’s enough for me.”
Besides being an animal welfare and rights activist and former president of Advocates for Animals, an organization based in Edinburgh, Scotland, that campaigns against the use of animals in medical research, zoos, farming and sport, Jane is also a devoted vegetarian who advocates the diet for ethical, environmental, and health reasons. In The Inner World of Farm Animals, she wrote that farm animals are “far more aware and intelligent than we ever imagined and, despite having been bred as domestic slaves, they are individual beings in their own right. As such, they deserve our respect. And our help. Who will plead for them if we are silent?” She has also said, “Thousands of people who say they ‘love’ animals sit down once or twice a day to enjoy the flesh of creatures who have been treated so with little respect and kindness just to make more meat.”
Jane has had her share of criticism. There are suggestions that her methodology is flawed which calls into question the validity of her observations. She has used unconventional practices in her study, for example, naming individuals instead of numbering them. At the time numbering was used to prevent emotional attachment and loss of objectivity. Claiming to see individuality and emotion in chimpanzees, she was accused of “that worst of ethological sins”, anthropomorphism.
On the flip side, Jane has received many honors for her environmental and humanitarian work, as well as others. She was named a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in a ceremony held in Buckingham Palace in 2004. In April 2002, Secretary-General Kofi Annan named Goodall a United Nations Messenger of Peace. Her other honors include the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, the French Legion of Honor, Medal of Tanzania, Japan’s prestigious Kyoto Prize, the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science, the Gandhi-King Award for Nonviolence and the Spanish Prince of Asturias Awards. She is also a member of the advisory board of BBC Wildlife magazine and a patron of Population Matters (formerly the Optimum Population Trust). She has received many tributes, honors, and awards from local governments, schools, institutions, and charities around the world.
Today we celebrate this woman who continues to devote virtually all of her time to advocacy on behalf of chimpanzees and the environment, travelling nearly 300 days a year.
The greatest danger to our future is apathy.
Every individual matters. Every individual has a role to play. Every individual makes a difference.
The least I can do is speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves.
Chimpanzees have given me so much. The long hours spent with them in the forest have enriched my life beyond measure. What I have learned from them has shaped my understanding of human behavior, of our place in nature.