Happy 85th Birthday Dr. Jane Goodall and Thank you!

 

Happy Birthday Dr. Jane Goodall and Thank you!

Dr. Jane Goodall turns 85 today and she has changed the way we understand primates on our planet with her 50 years of love and research in Africa and around the world.

When she was a little girl, her mother “supported her love of animals that she was born with.” She brought earthworms to her bed to investigate them when she was one and a half and her mother helped her bring them back to the garden so they would live. When she was four and a half, she was on a family holiday in the country and went to visit the hens in the henhouse for four hours. Her parents were so worried the police were called but when she was found, her mother patiently listened to her observations about the animals.

Video: Dr. Jane Goodall at LA Zoo in celebration of United Nations International Day of Peace on September 23, 2018

Goodall explained to a group at the LA Zoo in celebration of United Nations International Day of Peace on September 23, 2018 about how her time in the henhouse is how we create scientists: “be curious, ask questions, search for the right answer, decide to find out for yourself, make mistakes, not give up and learning patience.”

Goodall wanted to learn more about animals and read books in the library and saved her pocket money to buy books at the second hand bookshop. When she was ten years old, she bought the book, “Tarzan of the Apes.” She told the crowd that she “fell passionately in love with the lord of jungle but he married the wrong Jane.”

Lisa Niver and Dr. Jane Goodall
Lisa Niver and Dr. Jane Goodall

She told us, “That was when my dream began. I will go to Africa when I grow up, I will live with wild animals and I will write books about them.” As with many dreamers who dream great dreams, Goodall told us, “Everybody laughed at me. They said, ‘Jane how will you go to Africa? You don’t have any money. The dark continent is far away.” Goodall explained that: “Girls did not have opportunities like that back then.”

Dr. Jane Goodall speaking at the LA ZOO for UN International Peace Day
Dr. Jane Goodall speaking at the LA ZOO for UN International Peace Day

But her mother said: “Jane, if you really want to do this thing, you are going to have to work really hard, take advantage of all opportunities but don’t give up.” And Goodall explained that “I have taken that message to young people all around the world particularly to children in deprived communities. I wish my mom knew how many children and people have come up to me and said: Jane you have taught me that since you did it, that I can do it too.”

Goodall stayed in school until she was eighteen but did not have enough money to go to college. When a school friend invited her to Africa, she worked for six months as a waitress to get enough money to go to Kenya by boat. There were no tourist planes at that time.

While in Kenya, she was introduced to Louis Leakey, the curator of the Natural History Museum, who spent his life searching for our earliest ancestors. Leakey offered her a job and suddenly she was surrounded by people who could answer all her questions about plants, birds, animals and insects. It was Leakey who decided Goodall was the person he had been looking for to study the animal most like us —the chimpanzee. She made the observation that a chimpanzee is capable of using a piece of grass to fish termites from their nest that he is capable of modifying an object by picking a leafy twig and stripping the leaves which is the beginning of tool making. At the time, it was believed that only humans used tools. This observation allowed Leaky to go to National Geographic Society and they agreed to provide money to carry on with the study with photographer, Hugo Van Larete to document their work. The recent Geographic Documentary called Jane, Making Use is footage from their work together.

Celebrating Roots and Shoots at the LA ZOO
Celebrating Roots and Shoots at the LA ZOO

Leaky arranged for Goodall to go Cambridge and work to receive aPhD in animal behavior. She told us her days at the research station were the best of her life. She spent hours every day in the rainforest understanding the interrelatedness of all living things.

In 1986, at a conference at the Chicago Academy of Science, there were people studying chimpanzees in 6 parts of Africa. Goodall learned about chimpanzees being treated badly in circuses, about research facilities doing painful procedures on chimpanzees and about forests disappearing. Goodall said she “went as a scientist planing to continue my wonderful life, but left as an activist and knew I had to do something.”

She visited medical research labs and saw the conditions, went to some of the bad zoos and led to a campaign to release all chimps into sanctuaries. She learned about the plight of African people living in and around chimpanzee habitats with crippling poverty, lack of good health and education facilities and very often the ethnic violence. She wanted to save the chimpanzees and the local villages. In 1994, they started programs with twelve villages and worked to restore fertility to farmland, create youth education programs, add more health facilities, create water management programs, develop microcredit for an environmental sustainable program, scholarships to keep girls in school after puberty and information about family planning. It was so successful that now 72 villages are involved and it has spread to 7 other African countries.

LA ZOOGoodall said that “people have become our partners in preserving the environment for future of their own children and not just to save the chimpanzees but to save the future of our environment for all.”

In 1991, Roots and Shoots began with 12 students in Goodall’s home in Dar El Salem, Tanzania. The students told her: “they were not just worried about wildlife, also worried about homeless children with no where to live, illegal dynamite fishing that was destroying the coral reefs, some were worried about the poaching in the national parks and why wasn’t the government prosecuting the poachers.”

Dr. Jane Goodall speaking at the LA Zoo
Dr. Jane Goodall speaking at the LA Zoo

Her main message has been: “Every single one of us makes an impact on this planet every single day. We all have a choice as to what kind of impact we are going to make. Are we going to leave the world a little better after today or don’t we care?”

Goodall explained that she does have hope for the future. There are now young people participating in Roots and shoots in 80 countries, with 150,000 active groups and it is growing all the time. There are 2,000 groups in China, and it is growing fast in Canada, Latin America, across Europe and in many African countries. The first groups have just started in the Middle East. She continued: “Young people who are so passionate and so determined to make change and so empowered and you cannot help but have hope. It gives me my greatest reason for hope. We are not the only beings with personalities, minds and emotions. It is changing how we think and act each day.”

Dr. Jane Goodall speaking at the LA Zoo
Dr. Jane Goodall speaking at the LA Zoo

Goodall told us “if we get together, if we each realize that each day we make a difference, and collectively we make a huge difference, if we realize at least in democracies, we can influence the government and as purchasers we can influence business in the way it conducts its business, there is a lot of hope in the future but only if we all get together. The young people and Roots and Shoots that is our great hope for the future, the young people, their parents and their teachers. We can make this a better world.”

Happy Birthday Dr. Jane Goodall and

thank you for all you have done to change the world.

Lisa Niver at the LA Zoo to hear Dr. Jane Goodall
Lisa Niver at the LA Zoo to hear Dr. Jane Goodall

I heard Dr. Jane Goodall speak at the LA ZOO for UN International Day of Peace on September 23, 2018.

Read about Dr. Jane Goodall on the Jewish Journal

Read about Dr. Jane Goodall on the Jewish Journal

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver, M.A. Education, is a science teacher and is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 101 countries and six continents. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she worked on cruise ships for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. You can find her talking travel at KTLA TV and in her We Said Go Travel videos with over 1.3 million views on her YouTube channel. As a journalist, Niver has interviewed an Olympic swimmer and numerous bestselling authors and has been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She is the founder of We Said Go Travel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. She was named both a Top 10 Travel Influencer and a Top 50 Female Influencer for 2021 by Afluencer and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club. She has been nominated for the inaugural Forbes 50 over 50/Know Your Value list due out in Summer 2021. She has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best and has more than 150,000 followers across social media. Niver is a judge for the Gracies Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media and has also run 15 travel competitions publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries on We Said Go Travel. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded two Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards. From 2017 to 2021 in the Southern California Journalism Awards and National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards, she has won four times for her broadcast television segments, print and digital articles. Niver won in 2021 as Book Critic and in 2019 for one of her KTLA TV segments NAEJ (National Arts and Entertainment Journalism) award. Niver won an award for her print magazine article for Hemispheres Magazine for United Airlines in the 2020 Southern California Journalism Awards and a 2017 Southern California Journalism Award for her print story for the Jewish Journal. Niver has written for National Geographic, USA Today 10best, TODAY, Teen Vogue, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, American Airways, Delta Sky, En Route (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, Wharton Magazine and Yahoo. She is writing a book, “Brave(ish): It's All About Perspective 50 Adventures Before 50,” about her most recent travels and insights. When she's not SCUBA diving or in her art studio making ceramics, she's helping people find their next dream trip.  http://lisaniver.com/one-page/

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