Hope For Us Humans

Here are some extracts from …Why Jane Goodall Still Has Hope For Us Humans –
David Marchese’s interview with Jane Goodall, in The New York Times. 

Goodall’s career as an activist is arguably her more important legacy.
She has spent 44 years leading conservation efforts through her Jane Goodall Institute and seeding the future with like-minded souls via the Roots & Shoots educational programs for young people, which can be found in more than 60 countries and have nurtured millions of students.
Her “The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times” will be published in October.

 


The stories you tell about the planet and conservation have to do with instilling hope. But all we have to do is look around to see the persuasiveness of stories built on fear and anger. Have you ever wondered if tapping into those emotions might be useful?

No. It’s one of my big complaints when I talk to the media: Yes, we absolutely need to know all the doom and gloom because we are approaching a crossroads, and if we don’t take action it could be too late.
But traveling the world I’d see so many projects of restoration, animal and plant species being rescued from the brink of extinction, people tackling what seemed impossible and not giving up.
Those are the stories that should have equal time, because they’re what gives people hope.
If you don’t have hope, why bother? Why should I bother to think about my ecological footprint if I don’t think that what I do is going to make a difference? Why not eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die?

Do you understand human nature? 
Definitely not. But I think there are people, for example strict materialists or religious fundamentalists, who have schematics that they feel afford them an understanding of all human behavior.
Religious fundamentalism is one of the strangest things. Religion has a bad name because of fundamentalism.
But if you look at every major religion, the golden rule is the same: Do to others as you would have them do to you.
These fundamentalists are not actually preaching about the fundamental principles of the religion that they are talking about. They’re educating young people to believe ridiculous things.
At the beginning of Islam, nobody ever said that if you went and blew yourself up and killed lots of people, you’d go to heaven.
Religion can be so damaging. When I think of our attitude to animals in Genesis, where man is told that he has “dominion” over the birds and the fish and the animals and so on — the actual word, I’m told, is not dominion, it’s stewardship.

I suspect a lot of that resistance has to do with tribal political identification. Your studies have taught you a ton about chimps’ in-group and out-group dynamics.
Do you have thoughts about how humans can best transcend those same dynamics
?
That’s what our intellect should enable us to do. We don’t have to follow our instincts.
This political in-group, out-group — America recently has become such a frightening place, hasn’t it? It’s terrifying that vaccination, wearing masks and climate change, that’s political. That’s terrifying because it’s so anti-common sense. Britain’s very much the same.

“Traveling the world I’d see so many projects of restoration, people tackling what seemed impossible and not giving up. You just plod on and do what you can to make the world a better place,” said Goodall, speaking via Zoom from her childhood home in Bournemouth, England. 

We salute her achievements. See A Small Window of Time

Acknoweldgement The New York Times & credit National Geographic for the top image 

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