The great figures in the ecological transition: Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall has dedicated her life to the study of chimpanzees. At 88, she does not stop and continues her struggle for the protection of nature.

Jane Goodall is an essential heroine of ecology who still has a busy topicality. Figure from the film Animalsby Cyril Dion, Ambassador of her Foundation, she also recently published a book, Book of Hope.

At 88, she still travels the world defend the environment and arouses enthusiasm at every lecture she gives. On May 21, for example, she was the guest of honor at the ChangeNow Summit in Paris. Portrait of a great environmentalist.

Jane Goodall, a life in the service of the chimpanzees

Jane Goodall is an ethologist and British anthropologist, born in 1934. She began her working life as a secretary, long studies were rare for women at that time. She went to Kenya in 1957, where she began working as a secretary to an archaeologist.

Revolution in the study of wildlife

In 1960, she decided to settle down alone with the chimpanzees, in Tanzania, to study their behavior. That’s how she starts longest field study ever conducted on wildlife. It was she who discovered the many abilities of chimpanzees: that they use tools, that they hunt for meat, that they maintain strong ties within their family. It has revolutionized the relationship between humans and animals by bringing a new perspective to their study.

A Chimpanzee, Study Topic by Jane Goodall © Alexwilko

It was only later, when she went back to school, that she got one doctorate in ethology and anthropology. In 1977, she founded the Jane Goodall Institute, which promotes the conservation of biodiversity. She then devoted herself more broadly to defense of the environment through education.

Jane Goodall, a woman and a foundation for defending nature

Jane Goodall manages to keep believe in people and hope in the power of nature; this she writes in her latest publication, Book of Hope: “Nature’s ability to resist is an enormous force” ! She believes in the ability of environments to regenerate, and in ecosystems to recreate themselves when they get a boost.

With her foundation, she participates especially in replanting programs in Africa, to recreate ecological corridors so species can migrate. This is one of his struggles: to weave ” living tapestry », Both between non-humans, but also between humans and ecosystems.

In fact, his experience with chimpanzees did not cut her off from the human world. On the contrary, in the 1980s, she started a program of microcredit and initiation into sustainable agriculture for African women in the villages. The success of the project has made it possible to reduce deforestation and thus preserve chimpanzee populations. ” The idea of ​​taking care of people to take care of their environment works! »She explains to We Demain (No. 35, September 2021).

Jane Goodall believes in educating children to improve environmental performance. In 1991, she created Roots & Shoots programs, encouraging children’s positive social or environmental actions. Roots & Shoots projects have started in Tanzania and are now implemented in 60 countries. She notes: every gesture counts to repair the damage we do, at our level, just bring its drop of water. I realized that young people […] show incredible energy and creativity »(We tomorrow No. 35)

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In 2019, Jane Goodall will plant a tree in Budapest © vitrolphoto / shutterstock

Jane Goodall’s remarkable work has given her many accolades. Since 2002, Jane Goodall has been ” messenger of peace ” of’UN. In 1995, Queen Elizabeth awarded her the title of Commander of the Order of the British Empire; she was decorated with the Legion of Honor in France in 2006. During her career, she also received numerous scientific prices : Kyoto Prize, Prince of Asturias Prize, Benjamin Franklin Medal …

Today, Jane Goodall travels the world to give lectures. Before Covid, she traveled 300 days a year! Today, she continues to act on all fronts: raising awareness, writing books, and she has a foothold in Tanzania, never far from her chimpanzees.

Banner illustration: Jane Goodall at a 2019 conference in Budapest – © vitrolphoto / Shutterstock

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