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Renowned primatologist and conservationist Jane Goodall delivered the Thomas Roy and Lura Forrest Jones Visiting Lecture for 2012-13 at Lafayette College April 11.

View images of Jane Goodall’s visit
Read an article about her visit
Watch scenes from her time on campus

The following is a transcript of her speech and subsequent question-and-answer session led by Wendy Hill, provost and William ’67 and Rappolt Professor in Neuroscience:

Well, thank you very much for a wonderful introduction. Good evening to all of you. There are so many of you, such a wonderful, packed room. I think you deserve a very special greeting, the greeting that you would hear if you came with me to Gombe National Park in Tanzania, where I’ve studied chimpanzees all these years or, indeed, any of the places where chimpanzees are existing in Africa. [Makes the sounds of a chimpanzee’s greeting.] Hello!

Let me take you quickly through a story with which I know many of you are familiar. Basically, it’s about how all this began when I was very tiny little girl, born in England between World War I and World War II. Apparently, from the time I could crawl, I was fascinated by animals. The reason I’m going back to this period of time is because I had the good fortune to have an extraordinary mother. I want to emphasize the importance of mothering and early experience. When she came up to my room – I was 18 months old and don’t remember this at all – she says she came up and found that I’d taken a whole handful of earthworms to bed with me. Instead of saying, “Uck! Throw the dirty things out!” she just said very quietly, “Jane, if you leave them here, they’ll die. They need the earth,” and we quickly took them back into the garden. What I do remember is a few years later, when I was somewhere between 4 1/2 and 5. We lived in London, so it was a tremendous excitement for this animal-loving little girl who really – I was limited to pigeons and the odd cat; we had a dog and sparrows and things like that. And we went for a week for a holiday in the country. And I met cows and pigs and horses face-to-face. In those days there were no cruel, intensive farms, and the animals wandered about in the fields the way they should.

I was given a job, and that was to help collect the hens’ eggs. And again, there were no nasty battery farms, the hens pecked around in the farmyard. I was putting these eggs into my little basket. You all know what a chicken’s egg looks like. So apparently, I began asking everybody, “Where does the egg come out of the hen?” because I couldn’t see a hole like this. Obviously, nobody told me to my satisfaction, so this is what I remember: seeing a hen climb up into her hen house – there were about eight of these little wooden henhouses where they slept at night, but they mostly went to lay their eggs in the little nest boxes around the edge – and thinking to myself, “Ah, she’s going to lay an egg.” I crawled after her. Well, that was a big mistake, and there were squawks of, I suppose, fear. She flew out, and I remember thinking this is now an unsafe place and going into an empty henhouse and hiding in straw in the corner and waiting and waiting and waiting. Which was fine for me, but my poor family didn’t know where I was. They were searching, and you could imagine how nervous my mother was because here was her little girl, and it was getting dark, and where was I? But when she saw this little child rushing toward the house, she saw my shining eyes, and instead of getting mad at me – “How dare you go off without telling anyone where you’ve been? Don’t you dare do it again!” – which would’ve killed the excitement, she sat down to hear the wonderful story of how a hen lays an egg.

If you look at that story with hindsight, isn’t that the making of a little scientist? The curiosity, asking questions, not getting the answer you want, deciding to find out for yourself, making a mistake, not giving up, and having patience. It was all there! The reason I bring that story up now is to say that had I had a different sort of mother, I might not be standing here now. But she encouraged this curiosity, she encouraged this love of animals. She realized I would learn to read more quickly if she found books that interested me, so I got books about animals.

I suppose I was about 7 when I met Dr. Dolittle. And if there’s anybody here who hasn’t met Dr. Dolittle, then go and get a Dr. Dolittle book, this English doctor who learned the language of all the animals from his parrot, Polynesia. The story that really fascinated me was when he took animals from a circus back to Africa on a boat. That, I think, began my love affair with Africa. At that time, we had very little money. We couldn’t afford new books, we didn’t have a motorcar, nothing like that. World War II by this time was raging. Back then there was no television, there was no Internet, so we relied on learning from reading books, talking to people, and our own experience, like going out and learning about nature for ourselves. There was one secondhand bookshop that I loved. It had books higgelty piggelty all over the place, and the old man really didn’t know what he had, so you could get great bargains.

On this one day, I found a little book. It was about this big, and I just had enough money for it. And I took it home. Although we had very little money, we were in my grandmother’s house at this point, and that house had a big garden. My uncle, who was a surgeon, paid the mortgage. So we had this lovely garden with trees – that was another lucky thing of my childhood. I took this little book up my favorite beech tree and read it from cover to cover. That little book, which I still have today, was called Tarzan of the Apes. Of course, being a romantically minded little girl, I fell passionately in love with this glorious man who’s living out in the forest with the animals, as I wanted to do. And what did he do? He married the wrong Jane! I was very jealous.

That was when the dream began: I would grow up, go to Africa, live with animals, and write books about them. I had no dream of being a scientist back then. When I left school, most of my friends went to university, but we couldn’t afford it, and you couldn’t get a scholarship unless you were good in a foreign language, and I wasn’t. So again, my mother said, “Do a secretarial course. We’ve just got enough money for that. And then, perhaps, you can get a job in Africa.” So wise woman that she was, I got this job in London with documentary films, and then came a letter from a school friend inviting me to Africa for a holiday. All the time since I had my dream, everybody had laughed at me. How would I get to Africa with no money? Africa was the Dark Continent, and I was the wrong sex, I was just a girl. But the one person who never laughed at me had been my mother, who used to say, “Jane, if you really want something, then you’re going to have to work hard and take advantage of opportunity and never give up.” So there was the opportunity, the invitation to Kenya from a school friend. I had to work very hard as a waitress to earn the money. Eventually, when I was 23, I had saved up enough money to go out to Kenya, by boat because that was the cheapest. So: 23 years old, bye-bye to family, friends, and country, and going off on that amazing adventure. Today, young girls of 23, it’s normal to go off on an adventure like that, but back then, it wasn’t, and my mother was accused of being totally irresponsible. But she supported me. She let me go.

There, I stayed with my friend. I got a job in Nairobi and heard about and subsequently met my mentor, Dr. Louis Leakey, the Leakey who spent his life searching for the fossilized remains of our Stone Age ancestors. I went to see him at the Natural History Museum in Nairobi. I remember him asking me questions about all the creatures that were stuffed or pickled in the museum. I think he was really impressed that this young girl, straight from England, with no college degree, could answer so many of his questions. So he gave me a job – yes, first as his secretary – and that led, as he realized that I was the person he’d been looking for for several years to go and study the behavior of chimpanzees in the wild, he offered me this opportunity.

And yes, wow! I wouldn’t have dreamed of anything as exotic as a chimpanzee. I would have gone out to study any animal if it lived in the wilderness in Africa, but I was offered chimpanzees. The problem was that at that time, it was very hard to get money. (It would be today too.) As I say, I had no degree. Who would give money for this crazy idea of this female going out into the wilderness? Eventually, a wealthy American businessman said, “Okay, Jane, here’s money. We’ll see how you do – six months.” Second problem: back then what we call Tanzania today – which is where Gombe is – it was still Tanganyika, part of the British Colonial Empire, and the authorities were not prepared to take responsibility for this young girl. But in the end, because Louis Leakey never gave up, they said, “Oh, all right. But she must bring a companion who volunteers to come for six months.” And for four of those months, along came my intrepid mother!

For me, I’m in my dream world. We had so little money, it was on a shoestring. There was an old ex-army tent, great, big, thick canvas sheets, which leaked in the rain. These days – many of you have been camping – you have nice zipped-in groundsheets and little zipped mosquito-net windows. But in those days, or at least with this secondhand tent, the groundsheet was just a piece of canvas on the floor. If you wanted air to come in and it was hot, you rolled up the side flaps and tied them with tape. So in came the air but also spiders, centipedes, scorpions, and snakes. It was fine for me, but my poor mother! I went off every morning before it was light, up into the hills, looking for the chimpanzees, leaving her on her own with all this not-really-welcome animal life and baboons getting more and more habituated, more likely to dart into the tent and steal some food. And with one Tanzanian cook, who unfortunately was rather too fond of the local alcoholic brew made out of fermented bananas. She was on her own with an often-inebriated cook.

I meanwhile was having my own problems of a different nature. The chimpanzees are very conservative. They’d never seen a white ape before, which is what I was, and they would take one look and vanish into the vegetation. It was my mother who cheered me up. Because although I was in my dream world and I knew that if I had time the chimps would get used to me, there was the six months, and if I didn’t see something exciting, and the six months came to an end, that would’ve been the end of the study, and I would’ve let Louis Leakey down. So it was my mother who was saying, “But Jane, you found this peak up in the mountains, and from there, you can look out over two valleys. You’re learning a lot. You’re seeing how the chimpanzees move around in small groups, sometimes alone, sometimes gathering together if there’s a delicious fruit in a particular tree. You’re learning how they make sleeping platforms or nests bending over the branches of the tree each night. Of course, you’re learning exactly what they’re eating. You’re learning a lot!”

She boosted my morale, and it was pretty sad that she had to leave just before the breakthrough observation. It’s something we all know today, but imagine what it was like on this day. It had been raining, it was a bit cold, and I suddenly saw a black shape hunched over a termite mound. I saw a hand reach out and break off a piece of grass stem and push it down into the termite mound and leave it there for a moment and withdraw it and pick off the termites that were hanging on with their jaws. And then, when I saw this chimpanzee breaking off a leafy twig and stripping off the leaves – the beginning of toolmaking, modifying a natural object – I sent a telegram to Louis Leakey. (We had no email back then, no faxes, nothing like that – even telex hadn’t been invented. And telegrams – I bet there are a lot of people in this auditorium who don’t know what a telegram is.) I sent Louis a telegram. Had to wait awhile, and back came the telegram saying, “Well, as we, our species, is defined as man the toolmaker, we now have to redefine man, redefine tool, or accept chimpanzees as human.”

That’s how it all began. That’s when National Geographic decided that they would start funding the project when the first six months’ money ran out. That chimpanzee who demonstrated tool-using on that never-to-be-forgotten-day was the first to begin to lose his fear of me. I had named him David Greybeard. In a way, he introduced me to the other chimps, to his friends out in the forest. When I would come to a group, they were ready to run as usual. But if David was there, sitting calmly, they would look from him to me, and I suppose they thought, “Well, she can’t be so dangerous after all.” So I gradually got to know the others, each with his or her vivid personality. David and his friend, Goliath, and William and Mike, who used empty kerosene cans to raise his status and became top-ranking male, reigning for six years, apparently without any serious fighting, because he used his brains. And the old female, Flo, from whom I learned so much about chimpanzee mothering behavior. If I look back now, after more than 50 years of collecting information at Gombe, and look at the information from other field studies across Africa and the information that’s been gleaned from captive studies around the world, I think the thing that really strikes us so forcibly is how like us these chimpanzees are. The biological similarity! We had absolutely no idea back in 1960 when I began that the DNA of humans and chimpanzees differed in structure by only just over one percent. We had no idea about the similarity in the composition of the blood, the structure of the immune system, and the anatomy of the brain. It’s now become very clear that biologically, they are, along with bonobos, our closest living relatives.

What fascinated me, of course, was their behavior. I didn’t know anything about this biology and these other kinds of similarities. I was there to watch their behavior. Louis Leakey had argued that the reason he sent me and then Biruté Galdikas and Dian Fossey to study the great apes – he believed there was a common ancestor and apelike, humanlike creature about six or even seven million years ago. He was searching for the fossilized remains of our Stone Age ancestors, and you can tell a lot from the fossils and the artifacts that are found in combination with these fossils on the living floors. But behavior doesn’t fossilize, so he felt that if I saw behavior that was similar in chimpanzees today and human beings today, that we might both have inherited that from a common ancestor, and, therefore, the Stone Age men and women whose remains he was finding may have shown those same behavioral characteristics.

And they are many: the postures and gestures of the nonverbal communication system, kissing, embracing, holding hands, patting one another on the back, swaggering, shaking the fist, tickling, laughing – all of these done in the same sort of contexts that we do them, clearly meaning the same kind of thing. Because of the similarities in the anatomy of the brain, it’s not really surprising that chimpanzees show intellectual performances that were once thought unique to us. The tool-using and the toolmaking is just one of those. There are so many ways that we can see the chimpanzee brain operating. I remember seeing David Greybeard, asleep, lying on the ground. It was the termiting season. He sat up, looked around, scratched in a lazy sort of way. Then he wandered over – I think he traveled about the width of this room – to where there was a nice clump of grasses.  He spent quite a long time selecting five grasses, sorting them through with his hand and picking off the ones he liked. Then he put those in his mouth and set off. He went along a trail and traveled for about five minutes and eventually came to a termite mound that was completely out of sight. It was pretty obvious that something like thinking was going on. And that’s just one example.

I was always fascinated by family life in chimpanzees. It’s very clear in chimp society, as in ours, there are good mothers and bad mothers and that the young of the good mothers do better as adults than those of the less-good mothers. So what is a good mother? She’s protective but not overprotective. She’s tolerant but able to impose discipline. She’s affectionate and playful, and that’s important. But most important of all, she’s supportive. If her child gets into trouble with a higher-ranking individual – higher ranking than his or her own mother – the mother will rush to defend her child even though she may get beaten up herself. That appears to be the most important characteristic of good mothering, and the offspring of those females tend to be more assertive. The males reach a higher dominance position and are then potentially able to sire more young. The females also become assertive and higher ranking and may be able to raise more young.

So very important, the family structure. The female has her first baby not until she’s about 13 in the wild, and then she only has one child every five years. When the second infant is born, the first child, the 5- year-old, is still emotionally dependent on the mother and doesn’t leave but still travels around with mum. You see the bond between mother and child getting stronger and also the bonds beginning to develop between the siblings. And then the next child is born; the first one is now 10 years old and still spending a lot of time traveling around with mother. These bonds between mothers and siblings can last throughout a life of more than 60 years. What about the father? Well, only fairly recently, by using cutting-edge, modern technology to send a fecal sample off to a lab and do a DNA profiling – once we get the fecal samples of all the different chimpanzees, we finally know for sure who the fathers are. Before we could only guess, because when a female is ready for mating, she may be mated by most or all of the males in her society. So it was difficult; we could only guess who fathered which infant. Now we know, and a whole new avenue of research opens up: Is there any way that a male can know his biological offspring or the offspring know the father? And so it goes on, learning more and more all the time.

It was a big shock to me when I realized that chimpanzees, whom I thought were so like us but nicer, like us have a dark side and are capable of violence and brutality and even a kind of primitive war. There were scientists who told me I should downplay this. They said, “Well, if Louis Leakey was right, and we have inherited aggressive tendencies from some common ancestor seven million years ago, this means that perhaps aggression and warfare have been part of our genetic inheritance and it’s inevitable, there’s nothing we can do about it.” Well, you can’t help thinking that to some extent, some of our aggressive behavior is inherited. But does that mean war and violence is inevitable? Or can we say that because of our well-developed intellect, we are able on most occasions to control any biologically inherited tendencies? Most of the time, we do. And we have to realize that on the other side, chimpanzees also show characteristics of love, compassion, and altruism. Maybe we’ve inherited aggressive tendencies, but also, during our long evolutionary pathway, we’ve inherited love, compassion, and altruistic tendencies as well. True altruism in chimpanzee society as when a 12-year-old male adopted a little 3-year-old infant who was no close relative at all, whose family this young male had not spent much time with. And yet, when little Mel lost his mother and had no older brother or sister who would’ve cared for him, young Spindle took on this role. He carried little Mel around on his back. He shared his food when Mel begged. He reached out and drew Mel close at night when the infant climbed up and would put him at the edge of his nest. He shared his food. And perhaps most significantly of all, he ran in to rescue little Mel if he got too close to the big males when they’re socially aroused, when they’re doing these magnificent charging displays, and this meant that Spindle was often beaten up himself. But he took on that role of a mother, keeping an infant away from the big males until the child learns for himself, and without question, he saved Mel’s life. It’s pretty clear, isn’t it, that there isn’t a sharp line dividing us from the rest of the animal kingdom. The chimpanzees are so like us in so many ways that it makes this very clear.  It makes it clear that we are not, as had been thought for so long, the only beings with personalities, minds, and above all, emotions.

Louis Leakey told me in 1961, when I’d been in the field one and a half years, that he wouldn’t always be around to get money for me. I would have to stand on my own two feet, and that meant I had to get a degree. But he said, “We don’t have time to mess about with a B.A. You have to go straight for a Ph.D.” You may think, “Lucky Jane!” but oh, no. I’d never been to college, and I’m now going to Cambridge University to do a degree in ethology, which – I didn’t even know what that meant. When I got there, can you imagine what I felt like when the professors told me my whole study had been done wrong, that I couldn’t talk about the chimps with names – they should’ve had numbers? And I couldn’t talk about them having personalities or minds capable of thinking or emotions because those, they said, were unique to the human? Luckily, luckily, as a child, I had a teacher who had taught me that wasn’t true, and I was able to stand up to the professors and have the courage of my convictions. Who was that teacher? It was my dog, Rusty. You can’t share your life in a meaningful way with an animal, whether it’s a dog, a cat, a cow, a pig, a horse, or whatever, and not know that those professors were wrong. And I think they knew too. It’s just that there were no tools back then to analyze animal personality or mind or emotions. And as you know, these days in most major universities, certainly, animal mind, animal mentation, is a very, very popular subject. We’re learning more about it all the time, and we’re learning how arrogant science has been in assumptions of this sort.

For years, owners of parrots have been saying, “My parrot understands many of the words that he or she is saying.” And the scientists have said that birds were not capable of any kind of intellectual feats similar to ours because the bird brain was structured differently. I’m sure many of you know about the one incident that happened in Oxford in England that threw all this scientific knowledge on its head. Two Caledonian crows were the subject of the experiment. It was found that they were easily able to use a bent piece of wire to hook food out of a tube. That was easy for them. One day, the hook broke, an accident, and for a while, there was frantic stabbing. Then one of the birds took the piece of wire and, using beak and foot, actually bent over a hook at the end of the wire and pulled out the food. There was an immediate backlash: “Well, it was just one bird, and it was an accident.” So they replicated it. They gave the two birds a piece of straight wire. And the same bird bent over the end of the wire and made a tool. “Well, it was just one bird. It was an accident. It was a freak.” Guess what? That one bird was the female, and every time she pulled out the reward, the male took it. He didn’t have to make a tool. Why should he! So this is why today bird mentation is a very popular subject, and it just shows how arrogant science has sometimes been.

I had a wonderful supervisor at Cambridge. Although he at first was my sternest critic, he came to Gombe for two weeks, and he said that taught him more about animal behavior than anything else in his entire career. After that he supported me and, most important for me – because Robert Hinde was very well respected – he helped me to write about my findings in such a way that I couldn’t be torn to pieces by my scientific peers. And so I got my Ph.D., and Louis Leakey was happy.

Why then have I left? Why have I left Gombe? I’d got my dream life. I was out there in the wild. The forest is beautiful. I was studying this extraordinary creature so like us, learning new things all the time, building up a research station. Students were coming. I was analyzing the data, which I loved to do, writing papers, writing some books, doing some teaching at Stanford. And then, in 1986, I went to a conference. I went as a scientist with this wonderful, amazing life. It was the first time that people studying chimps across Africa came together along with some studying chimps in captivity. We had a session on conservation, and it was shocking to see that right across Africa, everywhere people were studying chimpanzees, the forests were disappearing, and chimpanzee numbers were decreasing. We had a session on some captive situations. What I will never forget was secretly filmed footage of our closest relatives in medical research labs in cages of five-foot-by-five-foot with thick bars and bleak, sterile interior, imprisoned on their own. I left that conference having made no conscious decision, but as an activist, since then, I haven’t been more than three weeks in any one place. I had to try and do anything I could for the chimpanzees.

One of the first things that happened was that, in a small plane, I was able to fly over Gombe National Park. It’s very small, only 30 square miles, the smallest national park in Tanzania. When I arrived in 1960, the forest stretched all the way along the shore of Lake Tanganyika, and if you climbed up to the peak of the rift escarpment and looked away from the lake, it was forest and chimp habitat as far as you could see, with just a few villages. Then, in the mid-’80s when I flew over, I was utterly shocked because although the Gombe forest was still there, it was like a little oasis of green surrounded by completely bare hills. Not just some deforestation (I knew there was some): this was total, and looking down, it was very clear that there were more people living there than the land could possibly support, that the soil had been overfarmed and lost its fertility. There was terrible erosion. It was clear that the people were struggling to survive. So came the question: How is it then that we can even try to save these chimpanzees when people are struggling to survive?

That led to our program that we call Take Care or TACARE, which is trying to improve the lives of the people living in the villages around Gombe in a very holistic way, not going in as a bunch of arrogant whites but with a group of Tanzanians selected from the villages around Gombe who have experience in forestry and agriculture and education. They sat with the people and asked what they felt we could do that would help them most: more food, better health facilities, and better education for our children. That’s where we began working with the Tanzanian local government because we had very little money for this program, and the people gradually came to trust us. We were able to introduce water projects to increase the water supply in the silted out rivers, sanitation. Then came what I believe has been the most significant intervention, and that is microcredit opportunities, particularly for groups of women, based on Muhammad Yunus’ Grameen Bank. Women can apply for a loan, and it must be for an environmentally sustainable project. Over the years that we’ve been doing this, we’ve had a more than 90-percent return on the money from the women. Unfortunately, when men take part, as they can, they tend to drink the profit and don’t pay back so well. So it’s mostly women. This is making such a difference. It’s been shown all over the world that as women’s education improves, as women are empowered, family size tends to drop. And this is a huge problem in this and other parts of the developing world.  So we provide scholarships to keep girls in school. And, indeed, we’ve been congratulated by the Tanzanian government on taking a leading role in this part of Tanzania in beginning to level off the sharp rise in human population growth. We’re now able to replicate this program, TACARE, in villages way out beyond Gombe, reaching down toward villages in the south where there still is forest. All around Gombe, as the people begin to understand better how to care for their land, the trees are coming back. Down in the south, it’s protecting the forest that’s there. We’re replicating this in other countries as well, and it’s making a difference.

But, of course, the bush meat trade – that’s the commercial hunting of wild animals for food – goes on right across the chimpanzees’ range. Following roads built by logging companies or mining companies deep into the forest, the hunters are able to shoot elephants, gorillas, chimpanzees, antelopes, birds, anything that can be cut up and sold in the markets or even shipped overseas to groups of people in other countries. It’s having an absolutely horrific affect on numbers of the wild animals, not just in Africa but all around the world. The Jane Goodall Institute tries working with other NGOs and government officials to find alternative livelihoods for the hunters. The hunters don’t particularly want to go and hunt, but they have to get money somehow. If we can provide them with another kind of livelihood, they’re quite happy to stop hunting, and it can make quite a difference.

But as I began traveling around Africa and learning more and more about the problems of Africa, I was realizing that so many of their problems have stemmed from the old aftermath of colonialism. When the colonists went out, of course, there was the slave trade, but the main goal of the colonialists was to take the natural resources from Africa to exploit them, to start their own plantations and export the stuff around the world. This was from the whole of Europe, and then America began to join in. Today, many of the great multinational companies are just carrying on with the same tradition of taking Africa’s natural resources and leaving the people poorer, always leaving the people poorer. Of course, when there’s a lot of money involved, it tends to go into corrupt officials’ pockets.  So I began to realize that yes, I was learning about the terrible poverty in Africa, and I was learning about the ethnic violence there, but that root cause of a lot of this came from outside Africa. That was when I began this crazy travel schedule around the world, talking about the plight of Africa in Europe, in North America, and then increasingly in Asia and South America. And not just the plight in Africa . . . I was learning way more than I wanted to, and you all know about these problems.

If we look at what’s happening in the world, it’s terrible: the deforestation leading to soil erosion in the tropics, and the desertification, the shrinking supplies of fresh water everywhere. Learning about the terrible pollution, the poisoning of air, water, and land; the industrial and agricultural and household emissions; the poisons that are sprayed on our food and then washed down by the rain into the streams, into the rivers, and then into the lakes and the seas. The dead zones in the sea caused by pollution, the depletion of fish stocks, the gradual loss of biodiversity in area after area in all of these ways. The situation is grim. And now, on top of all that, we have climate change. I hear that yesterday you had a record temperature of something like 88 degrees. The same happened in Washington, D.C. Now it’s quite cool again. This sort of thing and the frequency of tornadoes, the frequency of hurricanes, the frequency of flooding and these long droughts that are spreading around the world. Maybe there’s a cycle, but we have hastened it up. I’m not a scientist in climate change but I’ve talked to many people who are, and it’s scary. If we think of the greenhouse gases that are heating up the surface of the globe, we know that cutting down tropical forests is releasing huge amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere, CO2 that was sequestered by the trees and in the forest soils. And then the CO2 that is caused by our reckless burning of fossil fuels.

And another greenhouse gas, which is more potent than CO2, is methane gas. That is now being released in accelerating amounts as the permafrost melts, but there’s another thing, too: the intensive farming of animals for food as more and more people around the world are eating more and more meat. The animals – to make them grow faster – are fed unnatural foods like corn or even animal protein, and they’re producing more gas, methane, adding to the greenhouse gases. While I’m on the subject of meat eating, I should add that it is unbelievably destructive: the tropical forests that are cut down to provide space for grazing cattle or to grow grain to feed livestock, the enormous waste of water as it’s used to transpose vegetable protein into animal protein. And even if you don’t care about the conditions in these intensive farms – I don’t know how many of you have been into one, but if you have, you probably couldn’t sleep for a few nights – even if you don’t care about animal suffering, to keep them alive in these horrific situations, they have to be routinely fed antibiotics. That means the antibiotics are getting out into the environment, and people are already dying from one cut on a finger because there hasn’t been an antibiotic powerful enough to cure them.

The day I left U.K., about three weeks ago, there was a message from the surgeon general. At the end of his talk about health, he said, “The best advice I can give to the people of the U.K. is don’t go to hospital because you’re likely to die.” And that’s from the surgeon general! At the end of this whole thing – and, of course, he’s talking about the superbugs, which are here too – at the end of it all, he said more than 50 percent of all antibiotics used in the U.K. are given to the animals, and it’s time that we did something to regulate this. We’re surrounded by all of these things. And now we’ve got people messing about with the genetic integrity of plants and animals and the rising of the GMOs and the immensely powerful corporations that are now controlling our food and patenting seeds, patenting life. It’s frightening.

So it’s not really surprising as I’m traveling around the world that I was meeting young people like you, college students and high school students too, who seemed to me not to have much hope. Some of them were depressed, some of them were angry – even violent. Most of them were just apathetic and didn’t seem to care what happened. I began talking to these young people, and they all more or less said the same thing: “We feel like this because we feel that you, you older generations, you’ve compromised our future, and there’s nothing we can do about it.” Well, I look at small children every day. There was one here earlier this evening, about 7 or 8, I suppose she is. I look at a child like that and I think how we’ve harmed the planet since I was that age and I feel a kind of desperation and an anger. We have compromised their future. You hear this saying again and again: “We haven’t inherited this planet from our parents, we’ve borrowed it from our children.” We haven’t borrowed anything from our children; we’ve been stealing, stealing the future of our children.

Is it too late? There are biologists – I’ve heard them – they liken the planet to a big ship sailing through the seas. A man on the watchtower right high up sees a big pile of rocks ahead and calls, “Danger!” Everybody runs to help the captain turn the wheel but the momentum of the ship is such that it can’t turn in time, and there’s a shipwreck. That’s how I’ve heard people talk about the situation on planet earth. The rate of species’ extinction, the rate of climate change, the rate of deforestation – along with all the corruption that goes with it – and the violence, war, and all the other problems that we all know about: it’s too late, they say.

Well, I think we could get to that point, I really do, but I don’t think we’re there yet. I started this program Roots & Shoots back in 1991 with 12 high school students on my veranda in Dar-es-Salaam. We talked about the problems that were concerning them, and they went back to their nine different schools and got their friends. We met again and talked about all the different problems. They wanted me to do something about them.  I said, “No, I can’t. I’m not a Tanzanian. But what about you? What do you think you could do?” They became very animated and talked about the problems that concerned them. Thus was Roots & Shoots born, and its main message is that every single one of us makes a difference every single day. Many of us have a choice as to what kind of difference we’re going to make. Right from the beginning, each group sat and discussed among themselves what they were going to do. Between them they chose three projects, one to help people, one to help animals – or, I should say, other animals – and one to help the environment that we all share. And running through it, a theme of let’s learn to live in peace and harmony – not just with each other, between religions and cultures and different ages, but also between us and the natural world.

That’s how Roots & Shoots began – 12 high school students. Today it’s in more than 130 countries. It’s got members from preschool, kindergarten, primary, middle school, high school, and very strong in college and university. We’ve even got groups now among elderly people and the staff of major corporations and in prisons. So it’s spreading everywhere, but it’s basically for youth, it’s youth-driven. It’s enabling young people to learn about the problems surrounding them and then to take action, to roll up their sleeves and get out and do something. And that, I can tell you – and there are people in this room who’ve been part of Roots & Shoots or similar organizations, and you know that it’s true that once you actually start doing, then you begin to feel there is some hope – this program is giving hope to people around the world. There’s one example I’ll give you because it’s a primary school [close to] here in New Jersey. I’ve forgotten its name, but the woman who started that group, Metta Darcy, was born in Kigoma in Tanzania, near where the chimps are. And she went with her father to the U.S. when she was about 8 years old. After he died, she went back because she wanted to visit the place of her childhood. And she left knowing she wanted to help the children there. So with the group that she’d started in her New Jersey school, they raised money and were able to get enough laptops with a grant or so from corporations and send the laptops out to Tanzania. And the children there said they were so excited – these young children – when a laptop came because they’d never had anything like this. They carried them around as though they were the most precious thing in their life, which is a new baby. The children now are linked between Kigoma and New Jersey from these two particular schools. It’s just one example of how Roots & Shoots works. The children in Tanzania are learning about what it’s like for a young child in inner-city America, and the American children are learning what it’s like to live in poverty in rural Tanzania. It’s creating citizens of the future.  One young man who was part of that original group – of course, he’s grown up now – I asked him what Roots & Shoots has meant for him. And he said, “Well, I know anywhere I go, even if I don’t know anybody, if there’s a group of Roots & Shoots, I’ve found my family.”

After World War II, a book came out, maybe some of you saw it. It was called The Family of Man. Basically it showed that under people’s costumes and skin and the color of their skin and whatever, they shared the same emotions. It showed them laughing and grieving and giggling and flirting and all the other things. We are growing – the family of man – we are growing what I hope will become a critical mass of young people who understand that we need money to live, but we shouldn’t live for money — who understand what Mahatma Gandhi meant when he said, “The earth can provide enough for human need. The earth cannot provide enough for human greed.” The young people and what they’re doing are one of my greatest reasons for hope.

I have four reasons for hope, which I’ll share with you before I stop. The first is this energy and commitment and passion of young people once they know the problems and are empowered to act. We have wonderful volunteers everywhere. I haven’t seen them yet, but I know that here with us are Mary Wise and Nicole Cook and Kyle – I always call him Seabird; that’s our joke – they’re here tonight, and you’ll meet them if you come to the book-signing. We have volunteers everywhere! And what does the name mean? Can you all think of a big tree that you love? (There are lovely trees around here. I’ve seen them.) I’m thinking of my beech tree. When my beech tree began to grow, it was a little seed. A little white shoot came out, and little, tiny, white roots appeared. At that point, I could’ve picked it up with thumb and forefinger. It would’ve seemed so small and so weak. And yet, there’s a magic, a power, a life force so strong within that little seed that those little roots to reach the water can work through rocks and eventually push them aside. And that little shoot to reach the sunlight can work through cracks in a brick wall and eventually knock it down. Hope: hundreds and thousands of young people around the world can break through and make this a better world for all living things, can break through to tackle the environmental problems and the social problems that plague our time.

My second reason for hope is the human brain. We know that we’ve used it for bad things, but just think of what we’ve done with our brain! The thing that makes us most different from chimpanzees, I believe, is the explosive development of our intellect.

Chimpanzees are capable of performances that we used to think were unique to us. I know a chimpanzee called Ai in Japan. Imagine two computer screens. On one there are blank squares and on the other, numbers randomly ordered for each test from zero to nine. The test is that after she’s looked at this random order, she replicates it on the blank squares starting with zero or nine, whichever she’s asked to do, and the moment she presses the zero or the nine, this entire screen disappears. So she’s got to remember it. I can’t beat her! And her son, Ayumu, who’s never been taught by a human, is so skillful at this that people have gone from all over the world to try and defeat him. He’s like enfant savant. He’s pressed the first blank square on this side before I’ve even seen the position of three numbers over here. He’s extraordinary. He takes one look and it’s in his mind, and he replicates it over there. So we’re learning about chimp minds and, at the same time, we’re marveling at what they can do.

But it doesn’t make sense to compare even Ai and Ayumu and some of the other intelligent chimps with the human brain. I mean, look at us. Here you all are, sitting, listening, and I’m talking to you with words. If I had time, I could tell you about scenes in Gombe in such a way that you’d feel you’d been there. I think it’s because we and we alone have developed this amazing way of communicating with words that has enabled this explosive development of the intellect. We can teach children about things that aren’t there. We can plan the distant future. And we can discuss. So although chimps can learn up to 400 or maybe more of the signs of American Sign Language being demonstrated over there, they haven’t taken this cognitive ability and developed it into the sort of language that I’m using now.

Think what we’ve done with our brain! I said to people the other day – I was lecturing outside, and there happened to be a full moon. Now we all know that we’ve had people walking on the moon. I’ve met some of them. But you look up at the moon and you say to yourself, “Oh, my God, a man was up there. A man walked up there. And we put him there.” I mean, it’s amazing. You never feel the same again. So here we are with this amazing brain and intellect, and the million-dollar question is: How is it that this most intellectual of creatures ever to walk the planet – surely we are – is destroying its only home? Another rocket went up to Mars. Remember, it took that little robot that’s crawling around taking photographs and sending them back to earth? If you’ve looked at those photographs, you know perfectly well Mars is not a hospitable place. We really don’t want to go and try to live there. We’ve just got this poor old Mother Earth, and we’d better do something about protecting it. Our brain is beginning to work on this. Our brain is coming up with alternative energy and all sorts of ways where science can help us to live in greater harmony and in our own individual brains, which is really important. We can think about the choices we make each day, think about the consequences of what we buy, eat, wear, and so forth and begin to make choices that are environmentally sustainable choices in our own daily lives. So the human brain is my second reason for hope.

My third reason is the resilience of nature. Don’t you all know places that we’ve destroyed and that given time or perhaps some help can once again support life and become green and beautiful?  I talked about the bare hills around Gombe. Ten years after we introduced our reforestation program – not planting trees but just leaving the land and stopping farming it – 10 years later, the chimps now have three times more forested land available to them than they had before because the ground is so resilient. Many of the trees are 30-foot high, and there’s a green corridor moving out toward the south were other chimpanzee groups are. Here’s some stop-press news for you. Just last week, a chimpanzee who’d suddenly appeared in Gombe, they got the results back from testing her DNA from her fecal sample. And she is not a Gombe chimpanzee! She’s the first chimpanzee who’s used this green, leafy corridor and brought genes in to enlarge the genetic pool of Gombe, which is so important. That was a red-letter day for us.  These corridors do, indeed, work. There are animal species rescued from the very brink of extinction. In the last book I wrote, Hope for Animals and Their World, every single story is inspirational, every single story is about an animal who but for a group of people or even a single person wouldn’t be with us on this planet today. I had an amazing time writing that book, talking to these people, learning about their projects, and sharing them with the world.

My last reason for hope is this indomitable human spirit – the people who tackle seemingly impossible tasks and won’t give up. Iconic figures like Nelson Mandela, who came out of 17 years of hard, physical labor, 23 years of being in prison, with this amazing ability to forgive so that he was able to lead his nation out of the evil, evil regime of apartheid without a bloodbath. Are there problems in new South Africa? Yes, but there was no bloodbath. Here in America, tackling something which seemed impossible, was Martin Luther King. Some of these people lose their lives for what they’re trying to do to change the world. But it’s not just the iconic figures. These people tackling seemingly impossible tasks or living seemingly impossible lives are all around us, they’re everywhere. Just talk to some of the people and see what they’ve done, and say to yourself, “My goodness, how on earth did he or she do that?” Think of some of the people who’ve overcome tremendous physical disabilities and lead lives that are so inspirational. If anybody watched some of the Paralympics in London last summer – if you want to be inspired by disabled people, wow! I think people who were at those games have never been the same since.

So there we are, this indomitable human spirit. Mr. H was given to me by a man who lost his eyesight when he was 21, Gary Horne. He was in the Marines. While he’s learning to live in his new, dark life, he meets a magician and decides he wants to be a magician. Everybody says to him, “But Gary, you can’t be a magician if you can’t see.” And he says, “Well, I can try.” If he was up here now, you wouldn’t know he was blind.  He does his shows for children and at the end he tells them, “Things may go wrong in your life ’cause we never know. But if they do, don’t give up. There’s always a way forward.” He thought he was giving me a stuffed chimpanzee for my birthday, and I made him hold the tail. He said, “Oh, well, never mind. I know chimps don’t have tails. Take him where you go, and you’ll know I’m with you in spirit.”

Mr. H and I have been together for 20 years, and in that time, we’ve been to 59 countries. I tell people when they’ve touched him the inspiration rubs off. I think he’s been touched by about 4 million people. (Yes, he does get a bath from time to time. He’s quite hygienic!) That’s the message I have for you, that we have brought this planet to a dire situation. It still is filled with beauty, with wonder. There is still so much for you young people to discover. And there is hope. There is hope if each and every one of us decides we’re not going to sit back and think, “There’s nothing I can do, I’m one person.” Because if we all act together, the cumulative effect of even the small choices we make can lead us toward the kind of world that we all will be proud to leave to our grandchildren.

I want to thank you for being here. I want to thank everybody who’s made this evening possible. I want to thank Jacob and Susana, who came with me, and all of you for coming. Thank you.

Questions and Answers

Wendy Hill: Dr. Goodall, before the presentation, we received some questions from members of our community. I thank you for your willingness to have this Q&A and also, of course, for those interesting and inspiring words. I’m going to start with a question from one of our students. The student writes, “What do you think is the most important aspect of how wildlife conservation is approached today? But also, what do you think is one of the greatest problems with how we approach wildlife conservation?” And this student also wants to know what advice you can give students who are interested in pursuing careers in conservation.

Jane Goodall: I’ll answer the last bit first. The advice for any of you who want to get out into conservation, you really have to be passionate. You really have to want to do it. And you have to be prepared to meet setback after setback and get up and fight again, because that’s how it is. We’re up against vested interests and big business, and money has become so important in this materialistic lifestyle. Always when you’re trying to conserve wildlife, you’re up against this wall of “Well, the economy is shaky and, therefore, we have to sacrifice a beautiful environment to get oil out from underneath it” or something like that. So it’s tough. And that I suppose answers the other part of the question too. The biggest problem is that it’s always the economy measured up against protecting wildlife and protecting wildlife habitats. It’s always the big corporations who are out there ready to grasp, for whom the bottom line is all that seems to count. I should say that I seem to feel a change, that there are corporations who are beginning to understand, partly because they’re thinking of their own future and partly because they’re beginning to realize that the natural resources upon which they depend, they have depleted so much that if they don’t do something and operate in a more sustainable way, that their own future of own business is going to be compromised. These are what we’re up against.

Hill: One of our faculty wrote in and said that one of the things that’s really enabled you to have such an impact is not just your science but also your writing. You’re a prolific writer. And this person thinks of your writing as clear, powerful, and beautiful. As a liberal arts college that emphasizes writing and the process of writing, could you speak about how you go about writing and what you personally get out of writing? In your talk, you mentioned having an amazing time writing a book. Is it an enjoyable process for you?

Goodall: If you remember way back when I began talking, I said that my dream was to go to Africa to live with animals and write books about them. I have some of the stories that I wrote as a child that my mother wrote down for me. She was a writer, and she published a couple of books. She wasn’t prolific or anything but she loved writing. I think it helped that when I was young, there was none of this television or anything. I loved writing from the beginning. I think it’s a gift. Of course, you hone it. I never went to any lessons in writing or speaking. They’re two gifts that I was given; I think speaking is a gift, too, and you work at it and try and make it better. I love writing. I have so little time to write; that is the biggest problem of all. But the book I last did, the plant book, which is coming out in September, Seeds of Hope – I’d planned to write just a small book about plants rescued from extinction, but it was as though the plants put roots into my brain and said, “Jane, you spent all your life helping animals. It’s our turn now!” It took me on this amazing journey. I learned so much about plants and the amazing botanists and all that they do.

Hill: One of our students wrote in about your views on studies that look at apes learning sign language. You mentioned this in your talk. The student wants to know what you think of this kind of research. Also, what is your opinion on research that uses animals to engage with technology such as iPads and tablets?

Goodall: I think we would love all the chimpanzees in the world to be out in the wild. But they’re here now, a lot of them, and the ones in the wild are having a pretty bad time in most of their range. They’re afraid, they’re losing their habitat, they’re being shot for food, and so forth. For those chimpanzees who are in captivity, one of the main problems has always been – and I’ve been fighting this since way back in the ’60s – boredom. Enrichment of their lives is really important. With the touchpads – the chimpanzees that I’m familiar with aren’t forced to do anything. Ai, who uses her touchpad, the moment she sees her teacher, Professor Matsuzawa – she’s in a big enclosure with other chimps, and she will run to a certain doorway, which gets opened. She has to go down a long tunnel, down some stairs, up some steps, and comes into her workroom to do her tests. Sometimes, if she makes too many mistakes, she begs to do it again, not for a reward but because she wants to get it right.

So, one, it’s teaching something about their minds. Two, it’s occupying them, and they’re enjoying it. I’ll tell you the kind of thing we learned. Some of the signing chimps love to draw and paint. One particular young chimp, I think she was about 5 years old. Normally she did very complex drawings or paintings, but this time, she just made a line like this. Her teacher handed it back and said, “Finish it.” She said, “Finished.” The teacher asked her what it was, and she said, “A ball.” Now what has she drawn? She’s drawn the movement of a ball. That tells you something about what they’re thinking. It’s amazing.

Hill: One of our staff wondered: Since conservation resources are becoming more and more limited, how do we decide which species to save: the rarest, the most visually appealing, the most useful to humans? Who should make these decisions?

Goodall: The lucky thing is that different people are turned on by different species. There are people who are passionate about little insects like the American burying beetle, one that I wrote about in the book. There are people who are completely passionate about burying beetles, people who are passionate about a little-known frog somewhere in the world. I don’t think it’s a question of choosing. I don’t want to choose. However, what we can say is if you take the big, charismatic pandas and chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans, and so forth, you can raise money more easily to rescue them, to conserve them. By doing that, you have to conserve a big environment, and that means that you’re conserving the habitat of all these other things as well. It’s a combination of what you’re passionate about – and you’ll somehow find the money to do it, because people have – and doing some of the big things, which a big conservation group can do as a whole and therefore saving the environment for everybody else. Of course, the ghastly thing now is the elephant poaching and rhino poaching across Africa and Asia. We’re hoping to have a big campaign, probably masterminded by International Fund for Animal Welfare. We hope everybody’s going to join. By the way, I do hope lots and lots of students here will want to become involved in Roots & Shoots. I hope you can encourage that. There’s lots of information out there. I’m so passionate about Roots & Shoots because it’s changing students’ lives all over the world.

Hill: One of our faculty members wanted to know about your views on being a female scientist – you’ve been a role model for many women – and wondered if you could speak to this issue. You mentioned how you were the wrong sex when you first went to Africa to study animals. So do you think we’re doing enough to attract and retain women in the sciences and engineering? What kinds of things do you think about with regards to the challenges that women may face?

Goodall: Well, I think it’s getting a bit easier for women. It’s difficult for me to talk about it really because I never wanted to be a scientist. It was thrown upon me. I wanted to write and live with animals. And then, of course, Louis Leakey got me into this Ph.D. And I do love analyzing data. I’m really quite passionate about it and regret that I don’t have the time to do it. I have to see students using all the data I collected out in the forest about mother-infant stuff. They’re doing it, and I would like to do it myself. As far as I can tell in different parts of the world, women are finding it easier and easier to cope in the scientific world. The percentage of girls doing science has gone up. In South Korea, I was just reading that women are now taking over from men in science education. What’s the answer? I think the answer is to make it more fun and more applicable and get people doing things that they’re passionate about.

Hill: One of our students wanted to know: If we send you back in time, and you have to start again and can’t study chimps, what animal would you study and why?

Goodall: Hyenas. I spent about six months learning about hyenas in Ngorongoro Crater. If anyone’s interested, there’s a book called Innocent Killers, and you can get it on Amazon sometime. In chimpanzee society, you have a community of about 30 to 50 individuals. And you have a group of high-ranking, dominant males. The females are not dominant, and they look after the babies. They move around in small groups and occasionally come together. In the hyena, it’s the same sort of size social group. They also live about 30, 40 years, so they’re long-lived creatures. In the hyena society, the females are dominant. Okay, why? Well, it’s obvious. The female chimpanzee has a baby clinging to her for at least three years and probably more. And as soon as that baby stops clinging, another baby comes. And if you behave like a male, charging about with bristling hair and throwing things and generally exhibiting all this male macho stuff, your baby would be compromised, definitely. So the females don’t do that, and, therefore, the males are dominant. In hyena society, the female suckles her baby for a very long time for a carnivore – for one and a half years – and she doesn’t take food back to the den. The baby’s in the den for one and a half years or so. So all the nutrient is coming from her milk. So she has to be dominant to get enough meat to feed her child. It’s very obvious. A high-ranking female with twins has two cubs, each of whom is bigger than a low-ranking female with one cub. So it was totally fascinating to me. And their personalities and their individuality – I love studying hyenas. I want to go back!

Hill: This comes from a staff member. It seems that children are less likely to be involved with nature than in earlier times. You mentioned many wonderful stories from your childhood. What advice do you have for parents to help instill in their children a love of nature?

Goodall: Well, of course, the first thing I’m going to say is please, parents, get your child involved in Roots & Shoots from as young an age as possible, because one of the things we do is try and get children out into nature. It’s terribly important. I think it’s been said again and again that for good psychological development, you need nature. And we’ve got many examples. There isn’t really time for me to go into them, but children need to be out in nature. It’s very disturbing that they’re in the concrete and they’re in virtual reality. But in Roots & Shoots, we really do try and get kids out and do lots of things like planting and growing food and stuff.

Do I have time for a last story?

This is a story about a chimpanzee who was born in Africa and whose mother was shot when he was about 1 1/2 years old. It’s the only way you could get a baby chimp. We’re now going back about 30 years, I suppose. He was sent off to a zoo in North America and for many, many years, 10 or 15 years, he lived alone in an old-fashioned zoo cage with a cement floor. They named him Jo-Jo. Then a new zoo director decided to build the best enclosure in North America – big, surrounded by a moat filled with water, because chimps can’t swim. He got 19 other chimpanzees because he wanted a big gene pool and introduced them all properly; introduced the males one by one, one by two, until they all sorted out their dominant situation. Then they were allowed out in the enclosure. Everything’s fine for awhile, then one of the young males challenges the senior male, as young males do. And the senior male is Jo-Jo. Jo-Jo doesn’t know anything about chimp society – how could he? – so when this young male charges toward him stamping with his feet, bristling, lips bunched in a furious scowl, Jo-Jo’s terrified. And he runs into the water because he doesn’t know about water either. He’s so frightened, he gets over the railing that was built to stop the chimps from drowning in the deep water beyond. Three times he comes up gasping for air and then he disappears under the water.

Fortunately for Jo-Jo, there was a man there with his family. They visited the zoo one day a year – just one day — and it was that day. This man jumps into the water. A keeper who was there tried to stop him, told him Jo-Jo was 130 pounds, that he was much stronger than a man, that male chimps can be dangerous, which is all true. But Rick pulled away. He felt under the water, got hold of Jo-Jo’s body, got the 130-pound dead weight over his back. He felt small movements: Jo-Jo wasn’t dead. He climbed over the railing, pushed Jo-Jo up onto the bank of the enclosure and then turned to rejoin his somewhat hysterical family.

There was a woman there with a video camera. She didn’t even know that she was filming. But that little piece of home video is all over the place. You mostly hear the people on the banks suddenly start screaming at Rick to hurry back, that he’s going to be torn apart, because they can see three big males coming down with bristling hair to see what’s happening. At the same time, Jo-Jo is sliding back toward the water because the bank was too steep. Amazingly, this piece of film steadies and you see Rick standing there. He’s got one hand on the railing, and you see him looking up at his family, three little girls, you see him looking up at these three males and then looking down at Jo-Jo, who’s just disappearing under the water again. For a moment, he stood their motionless, and then he went back and again pushed Jo-Jo up.

He’s ignoring the screaming people, the approaching chimps. It’s very dramatic. He’s slipping in the mud, Jo-Jo, making feeble efforts to grab something. Just in time, Jo-Jo gets a thick tuft of grass and with Rick pushing manages to pull himself up to where the ground is level. Just in time, Rick gets back over that barrier. That evening, that little piece of video was flashed around North America, and the then-director of the Jane Goodall Institute saw it and called up Rick. He said, “That was a very brave thing you did. You must’ve known it was dangerous because everybody was telling you. What made you do it?” Rick said, “Well, you see, I happened to look into his eyes, and it was like looking into the eyes of a man. The message was, ‘Won’t anybody help me?’”

That’s the message we’ve seen in the eyes of the little orphans in Africa whose mothers have been shot, which is why we care for them in the sanctuary. It’s the message I saw in the eyes looking out from the prisons of the medical research labs, which is why I fought so long and hard to end invasive medical research on chimps. It’s the look that you see in the elephant chained in a circus and rocking from foot to foot, dogs thrown out in the street, children in a refugee camp, children on the streets with no home, the homeless. If you see that look in their eyes and you feel it in your heart, you have to jump in.

The last word of hope I want to leave you with is that as I’m traveling around the world, yes, I hear about all the problems. Everybody wants me to write a letter, to mention this in my talk. But at the same time, more and more and more people are aware of the problems, and I don’t know a single problem where there isn’t a group of people struggling to put that problem right. I think that’s the greatest hope. There are more people awake and more people who are understanding that only when we link our clever, clever brain with the human heart – love and compassion – can we attain our true human potential.

Categorized in: Faculty and Staff, News and Features


  1. Wayne Henderek says:

    Inspiring presentation. Wish I had been there.

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