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A Conversation with the “Chimpanzee Lady”: Jane Goodall on Animals, the Environment and her Life

StoryNovember 24, 2005
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We broadcast an extended conversation with Jane Goodall. She discusses her life, the environment, war, and her new book “Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating.” [includes rush transcript]

On this Thanksgiving Day, as we cook and share meals with friends and families, we bring you an interview with the renowned primatologist, Jane Goodall. Her latest book is Harvest for Hope : A Guide to Mindful Eating. Goodall, who is known for her groundbreaking work with chimpanzees and baboons, turns her attention to the food we eat and how it reaches our tables. In her book, Goodall examines the danger of corporate ownership of water and the patening of seeds, the hazards of genetically modified foods and the existence of inhumane animal factories.

Jane Goodall joined us in our firehouse studios for an extended conversation.

  • Jane Goodall, renowned primatologist, her latest book is “Harvest for Hope : A Guide to Mindful Eating.”

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Jane Goodall recently joined us in our Firehouse studios for an extended conversation, and we began at the beginning. I asked Jane Goodall about where she was born.

JANE GOODALL: I was born in London in England in 1934. I went through, as a child, the horrors of World War II, through a time when food was rationed and we learned to be very careful, and we never had more to eat than what we needed to eat. There was no waste. Everything was used. Then, because I had this passion for animals and fell in love with Tarzan by the time I was 11, I was dreaming of going to Africa and living with animals and writing books about them. We didn’t have any money, but eventually I managed to save up enough, having been invited to Africa by a school friend to go out by boat to Kenya. I was 23, met the late Louis Leakey, the famous anthropologist, paleontologist, and that led to him offering me this extraordinary opportunity to go and study our closest living relatives in the wild: the chimpanzees.

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about what you did with the chimpanzees.

JANE GOODALL: The chimpanzee study was — well, it’s still going on, and I think it’s taught us perhaps more than anything else to be a little humble, that we are, indeed, unique primates, we humans, but we’re simply not as different from the rest of the animal kingdom as we used to think. Above all, we’re not the only beings with personalities, minds and, above all, feelings. And this gives one a new respect, not only for the chimpanzees, but once you realize there is no sharp line dividing us from the other animals, but a very blurry line, then you get a new respect for so many of the other amazing animals with whom we share this planet.

AMY GOODMAN: You went when you were in your twenties. Talk about the first studies you did, how you spent your time observing the chimpanzees.

JANE GOODALL: The biggest problem when I first got there was that they’re very conservative. They’d never seen a white ape before, and as soon as they saw me, they would vanish silently into the forest. And although I was in my dream world and loved being there and waking up every morning with the sounds of the birds and the insects and the calls of the chimpanzees, we only had money for six months, because at that time I had no degree of any sort. It had been extremely difficult for Louis Leakey to get money, you know, this crazy idea of a young untrained girl straight from England going out into the jungle, studying animals known to be stronger than us. But eventually, yes, a wealthy American businessman gave money for six months. But I knew if I didn’t see something exciting in those first six months, that would be the end of the study, and I would have let Louis Leakey down.

AMY GOODMAN: And so, what happened?

JANE GOODALL: Fortunately, a breakthrough occurred just before the six-month money ran out, and I will never forget that day going through the wet undergrowth. I was rather cold and miserable.

AMY GOODMAN: Where were you?

JANE GOODALL: In Gombe National Park. The whole study took place in Gombe National Park on the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika. And so, there I was kind of depressed, and then I saw a dark shape hunched over the golden soil of a termite mound. And peering through my binoculars, because the chimpanzees were still not habituated to me, I saw a chimpanzee hand reach out and pick a piece of grass, push it down into the mound, leave it for a moment, withdraw it, and bite off the termites clinging on. I saw him reach out and pick a leafy twig and strip the leaves. He was not only using a tool, he was modifying an object, making a tool, and at that time it was thought that we and only we used and made tools. That separated us from the animal kingdom from all the other animals more than anything else, and we were known as “man, the toolmaker.” So this was so exciting. Actually, I did not report it to Louis Leakey until I’d seen it a couple of times more. I thought maybe my eyes were deceiving me. It was really such a breakthrough, so amazing.

AMY GOODMAN: And why is it so incredible that, well, first, that we use tools, and then, that the chimpanzees do?

JANE GOODALL: Well, it isn’t really. It’s just that, you know, evolution has led to a continuum of more and more complex behavior as the brain has evolved into a more and more complex organ, and we’re capable of very sophisticated problem solving, and one of the ways we solve problems is to use tools, make tools, manufacture tools. It’s led to modern technology. And because animals, for the most part, aren’t seen using tools, then the very fact that they can have the intelligence to design a tool in nature was considered to be absolutely extraordinary. It didn’t seem so to me, but you have to remember that back then it really was thought there was this sharp line dividing us from the rest of the animals.

And when I first got to Cambridge University, because Louis said I had to get a degree to get money for myself, I was told that everything I’d done in that study of one-and-a-half years was wrong. I shouldn’t have given the chimpanzees names, because that wasn’t scientific; I should have numbered them. I couldn’t talk about their personality, their mind, and, above all, not their feelings, their emotions, because those things were unique to us. So there was a very, very different perception of animal behavior back then, and most scientists only admitted that animals were little bundles of stimulus and response, and they might look as if they behaved in a human way, but that was just our interpretation. And so the study of animal behavior back then was very cold. They were struggling to make it into a hard science. And any empathy or feeling for the animals you were studying was considered absolutely wrong.

AMY GOODMAN: Jane Goodall, the primatologist, the “chimpanzee lady,” author of Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating. We’ll be back in a minute.


AMY GOODMAN: We return to Jane Goodall, the primatologist. Her new book is called Harvest for Hope. I asked her what she makes of the whole debate against evolution, the whole issue of so-called intelligent design.

JANE GOODALL: Whatever we believe about how we got to be the extraordinary creatures we are today is far less important than bringing our intellect to bear on how do we get together now around the world and get out of the mess that we’ve made. That’s the key thing now. Never mind how we got to be who we are. Let’s work out a way so that we can preserve what’s left of this planet and enhance it for future generations.

AMY GOODMAN: Now, I want to talk about that, because that’s really what your life work is now all about, what your book, Harvest for Hope, is about. But just for a moment on that issue, since kids spend many, many hours in school, and this debate is raging, what you think of it.

JANE GOODALL: I was brought up to understand Darwin’s theory of evolution. I spent hours and hours in the Natural History Museum in London looking at the descriptions of how different kinds of animals had evolved, looking at the sequence of fossil bones looking gradually more and more and more and more like the modern fossil. And the same applies to the remains of humans. And I think one of the big questions is, people say to me, “But surely, if you believe in evolution, there’s no place for God.” I absolutely don’t agree with that. The more I learn about this absolutely awesome and fantastic and wonderful planet and the universe, the incredible nature of the human mind, the more I feel convinced that there is some kind of great spiritual power. I feel there’s a meaning to our life on earth. And that does not at all conflict with the idea of gradual evolution.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to Jane Goodall. Yes, the “chimpanzee lady” as many have called her over the decades. She’s written a new book now called Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating. And I do want to talk about that, but I want to ask how you remain studying chimpanzees for so many decades and how it grew, and then if you could weave it into the subject of this book.

JANE GOODALL: The chimpanzee study, originally, Louis Leakey thought that it probably would last three — no, he thought ten years. When I began, you know, the longest study that had been done in the wild on animals with George Schaller’s one year study of the mountain gorilla. And, of course, Louis was right, but ten years wouldn’t have been nearly enough to uncover the complexities. For one thing, chimpanzees can live to be more than 60 years. For another, they are absolutely individuals so that you can’t just generalize about behavior. The individual, the experiences, the kind of mothering, the events that have shaped that individual’s life create a whole number of unique individuals. So we’re continually getting new surprises. We still only have been able to study the development of one pair of twins in all these years.

And the tragedy today is that we’re — if we’re not very careful, we’ll end up studying the extinction of a small population of chimpanzees, because all around the tiny Gombe National Park, which is only 30 square miles, rather suddenly the human population increased because of large numbers of refugees from Burundi, from Congo, and so cultivated fields now come right up to the boundaries. There’s less than 100 chimpanzees living in the park in three communities.

AMY GOODMAN: Used to be —

JANE GOODALL: There used to be 150. And now there’s really only one viable community. And so, in the long run, there won’t be a big enough gene pool for genetic viability. So, in order to try to save the chimpanzees — I mean, I discovered this very suddenly. I flew over the whole area in a small plane about 15 years ago, and I was absolutely shocked. And the question came, how can we even try to save these amazing chimpanzees if the people are so obviously struggling to survive, with so much farmland deteriorated and infertile and so many people, more than the land could support.

So that led to our program, TACARE, which is improving the lives of people in 33 villages around the park in environmentally sustainable ways, particularly working to improve the lives of women, to increase their education, giving scholarships to girls and so forth, so they can go from primary to secondary school. And it was during the development of that program, which I think owes its success to the fact that the whole team is Tanzanian — it was during the development of that program that I began to realize the enormous importance of farming and the difficulties faced by people when there simply isn’t enough land. And that really was the first thing, along with the fact that chimpanzees love food — and it’s a great delight to watch them finding and eating it and listening to the happy sounds they make when they find a new food source — you know, that’s really contributed to this book and helped me to think of writing it.

AMY GOODMAN: What do they eat, and what did that make you think about humans?

JANE GOODALL: They eat the same as us. They’re omnivores, which means they eat a bit of everything. They eat mostly fruit, but they also eat leaves, blossoms, stems, and things like that. They eat insects. They sometimes hunt. Meat is about 2% of their diet in a year. And so, their diet is held up by some to be the perfect diet for us and perhaps closer to the diet of the hunter-gatherers of this world.

AMY GOODMAN: In your book, you start off looking at the animals. Then you talk about common sense farming. Take it from there. What is common sense farming?

JANE GOODALL: Common sense farming is the kind of farming that took place all over England when I was growing up. I went to stay on a farm when I was just a small child, loving animals, growing up in the city of London; it was a treat, and there were cows and pigs and horses, and they were out in the fields. And I was helping to collect the hens’ eggs, no battery farms then, hens pecking about in the farmyard. And my first observations of animals came — first of all, I wanted to know how a hen laid an egg, so I had to wait in the hen house for four hours to find out, and I was only four years old. And secondly, habituating a pig, who was out in the field with other pigs, and after seven days of this glorious holiday and my holding out apple cores each day, he finally took it from my hand.

So these experiences with the old kind of farming taught me a lot about farm animals. I knew — it was obvious that they were highly intelligent, and it was a real shock when in the mid-1970s I read a book, Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation, which explained the full horror of intensive farming. I found it hard to believe people could actually treat animals this way, as though they’re just machines. And the next time I looked at a piece of meat on my plate, I thought, “What does this symbolize? Fear? Pain? Death?” I never ate it again. And, you know, this is very much part of this book. The old common sense farming nurtured the land. The different animals were rotated with the different kinds of crops that were grown. The kind of crops were grown that withstood different environmental situations, flooding or drought, particularly in Africa, of course.

And as big agribusiness is buying up more and more land and crowding these small farmers off their land, it’s also enabling them to produce food more and more cheaply, because it’s done in such an unethical way, to be poisoning us and torturing animals, and because the food is produced more cheaply, that means that the traditional farmers can no longer compete, and they’re struggling to survive. They’re an endangered species, and I just feel the passionate need to help them by patronizing farmers’ markets and buying local and eating local as much as possible and trying to once again instill in people how exciting it is to wait, as I waited as a child, for different foods to come into season. And now, you want a peach in November, you can get one from somewhere without any thought about the huge amounts of fossil fuel that are being used to bring it to you and what has been done to this peach to make it still look fresh. All these things, people don’t actually think about where their food comes from, how it’s produced and what might be in it.

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about the animal factories. I think most people in this country don’t have any idea what you’re talking about.

JANE GOODALL: You know, the sad thing: They don’t want to know. When I try to explain how you have maybe five hens crushed into a tiny wire cage that size for their whole lives to lay eggs, how you have hens crushed in a room, doesn’t matter how big it is, but falling over each other, trampling on dead bodies. Pigs — and we know that pigs are at least as, and often more, intelligent than dogs. I mean, did you know pigs can actually use a computer? They can be taught to move a cursor with their snouts up and down and side to side and answer questions, and they are these amazingly intelligent animals. And I love pigs. And they’re crammed — they can’t even turn around. They’re in these tiny sties. And the pig, having her babies, the sow, is confined under a farrowing hoop so she can’t turn around, she can’t even stand up very often. And the cows in the so-called animal food lots, in tiny yards, forced to stand often under the hot sun on baked ground or in the mud mixed with feces.

And then comes the [inaudible], the slaughterhouse. And because each second means money, although it’s law to stun an animal before you start slitting it up, if the stunning gun misses, which it often does, the bolt of electricity, then they start slicing up the live animals. I mean, this has been shown again and again. But what I was saying is if you start telling people about all this, so many people say, “Don’t tell me. I’m very sensitive, and I love animals,” and I’m thinking, “This doesn’t make sense.”

AMY GOODMAN: And how does bioengineered, genetically modified foods fit into this picture?

JANE GOODALL: Well, I have a serious mistrust of them. You know, you remember Rachel Carson wrote that book way back when Silent Spring, and she was talking about the bad effects, the cumulative effect of DDT in the environment and in animals’ bodies. It took 30 years to show that DDT did accumulate and was a very, very highly dangerous chemical. Initially, it was thought to be harmless. It wasn’t anybody’s bad intention. And in the same way we cannot predict the long-term cumulative effect of many of the other chemicals being used today, nor can we predict the long-term cumulative effect of genetically modified crops on the environment, but also on our own health.

You know, recently some genetically modified corn intended for cattle escaped into the stores, and people got very sick. Now, okay, that was intended for cattle, and maybe the cattle don’t get sick, but we’re eating their flesh. And animals, by and large, don’t like genetically modified food. They wanted to test some tomatoes on rats, and they actually had to use stomach pumps before the rats would even eat them.

AMY GOODMAN: How did they detect the difference?

JANE GOODALL: I suppose its smell. I don’t know. Maybe its taste. We don’t know, and nobody has really studied why they don’t do it. They also prefer organic food, which, of course, is the answer for us. Organic food is free from pollution. It’s free from G.M.O., genetically modified crops.

AMY GOODMAN: Tell us about the activism against genetically modified crops. You have pictures in your book of people digging them up, and in this country it is way behind in the protest movement that’s much more advanced in Europe.

JANE GOODALL: Yes, and unfortunately for Americans, it’s very difficult to know whether G.M. food is actually, you know, in what you’re eating, because there’s no labeling required, whereas in Europe it’s required to state whether or not G.M. foods are in this particular product. So in Europe, I think probably led by Prince Charles in the U.K. anyway, people are very mistrustful. There is quite a lot of science, and I’m not going to pretend to go into the science, but a lot of science that is quite strongly against G.M. foods. And so people go out into the fields and pull up the crops, to such an extent that in most cases the companies trying to develop G.M. crops have given up. They’re not prepared to do it anymore, because it keeps getting pulled up. It’s not just U.K.; it’s England, Germany, Italy, India, Japan.

And Percy Schmeiser, who is — his case history is in this book. He’s the one Canadian farmer who actually dared stand up to one of the giants of the G.M. movement; that’s Monsanto. And he was actually prosecuted in court for violating Monsanto patent on canola, even though it was the wind or the bees or something like that that had brought the corn into his field in the first place. He was growing it and, therefore, he received a letter to say he was in violation of their patent. And in court, you know, he was told that he was in violation, but he didn’t have to pay, so it was sort of, you know — but anyway, he’s traveling the world now, all over the world. I spoke to him last week, and I think right now he’s in Nigeria.

AMY GOODMAN: Jane Goodall, primatologist and author. Her latest book is Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating. And we’ll be back with her in a minute.


AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to Jane Goodall, who is known for studying chimpanzees for decades and has now written a book, Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating. In this country, there are laws against food disparagement, you may have heard. Oprah Winfrey was sued by the National Cattlemen’s Association for saying on her broadcast that she would never eat another hamburger again.

JANE GOODALL: I know. And good for her. But I know that there’s a company being sued right now, because on its label it says it doesn’t have genetically modified food. It’s hard for me to see how this can be a law case, but —

AMY GOODMAN: And not sued because, in fact, they do have G.M. food, and this — for example, Ben and Jerry’s company dealt with this also. But by saying that, they imply that there’s something wrong with genetically modified food.

JANE GOODALL: You can say they do, and that’s obviously what the law says. But, you know, there need to be people standing up for what they believe to be the truth.

AMY GOODMAN: What do you think is the answer right now? And you travel the world — when I asked you where you lived earlier, you basically said, “In an airplane.” What are the differences you see between this country and other countries you’ve been in?

JANE GOODALL: There are differences at different levels, but for one thing, as you mentioned, there is much more awareness about what genetically modified food is in Europe, for example. But if I’m asked to say, you know, what do you really see is the difference between the developing world and this country, to some extent Europe, but especially the United States: waste. We waste so much. We waste food. We waste water. You go to a restaurant — I mean, it hurts me. It’s not just because of the developing world.

I remember back to the war years when food was rationed. I remember Tanzania when it was at the bottom of its economy after the war with Uganda. And food was hard to get. People couldn’t buy bread for a long time. There was no sugar. We had to barter. We’d go to one part of the country and come back with cooking oil and barter it for sugar that some people had brought back from somewhere else. And a lot of people couldn’t afford to do that.

So the waste that I see in a restaurant, where people’s plates are piled with food and so much of it goes back, and it has to be binned. It’s not even safe to feed it to animals today, in case you get sued for something or other.

AMY GOODMAN: You were talking about what happens to pigs, what happens to chickens. What about ducks?

JANE GOODALL: Ducks. Ducks, with their forced feeding for pate fois, fois gras. That’s almost the cruelest of all, whether these metal or plastic tubes are forced down into the ducks’ gullet and fatty substances are pumped in, and it makes their liver expand to about ten times its normal size, and only finally then is the bird killed. Meanwhile, they suffer many — much damage and infections. And you can imagine with a tube being put down their neck, imagine if it was yours.

And veal. Little calves in these tiny, tiny crates where they can barely lie down if they do lie down. They can hardly stand. And because people like the flesh to be white, towards the end they’re deprived of iron, so that they even try and drink their own urine. So when they go to slaughter, their legs break, because they can’t walk, which is the same for pigs and lots of other animals, too. I mean, it’s very, very cruel. You cannot get away from the fact that intensive farming, creating huge amounts of meat, is cruel.

But more than that, it’s damaging the land, because it takes a huge amount more land to produce so many pounds of animal protein, whether you’re grazing the cattle or whether you’re growing corn to feed to the cattle, than it does that same piece of ground will grow far more vegetable protein from cereals grown on that land, and then there’s the question of the water. It takes gallons and gallons more water to raise one cow than the equivalent amount of vegetable protein.

AMY GOODMAN: And what would you say to the animal farmers, the mass, large corporate, for example, hog farmers and others who say it’s more efficient to do it this way?

JANE GOODALL: It’s more efficient in that they can produce more meat quickly and, therefore, sell it cheaper. But if you balance against all of that the suffering of the animals, the contamination of the environment from the animal waste, which is huge, and finally, the sickness of people who are eating things that we shouldn’t be eating, and again, I come back to the children. And children’s health is suffering, and in addition we have this epidemic of obesity, which comes from fast foods.

So, you know, the antidote is to buy organic food if you can and to eat locally when you can to support farmers’ markets and to go back to an old feeling of when we used to feel in touch with our food. And I’m thrilled at some of the movements that are happening. I mean, that’s the hopeful part of this book, that there are all these movements going on, like the slow food movement, like —

AMY GOODMAN: Explain the slow food movement.

JANE GOODALL: The slow food movement is the opposite of fast food, and it simply means, you know, that you, once again, cook, that you buy locally grown food, that you’re in touch with the land. And I am not quite sure why they call it slow food, except it’s the opposite of fast food, which is just quick, quick, quick, don’t think — buy, pop it in a microwave oven, open a packet, eat it. This requires cooking your food, knowing about your food. And then there’s the wonderful programs, growing food in school gardens and teaching children to cook. And there are the farmers’ markets.

AMY GOODMAN: How do these movements fit in? How do you fit into the anti-corporate globalization movement in this country and around the world?

JANE GOODALL: See, I — it’s very — it’s a very complex, difficult kind of thing to tackle, really, but I think it boils down to this, that in the old days, many of the indigenous people, before they made a major decision, like ’Let’s cut down all this forest and grow grass for grazing cattle to make hamburgers,’ before making such a decision, the elders would gather and ask themselves how will this decision we make now affect our people in seven generations to come? But today so many decisions are made in relation to the next shareholders meeting. So in other words, it’s making a quick buck now, and it’s not thinking about the future.

And what I find so extraordinary is that with this amazing brain we have and our ability — I mean, think what we’ve done with it. We’ve sent people to the moon. We’ve created an incredible network that enables us to communicate around the world. You and I could be talking to people in China, live, this minute, if we wanted. It’s amazing. And the advances in medical technology, incredible. And yet, at the same time we can create weapons of mass destruction, we can destroy huge areas of the environment, and we are destroying the planet upon which we live. We’re harming our own health.

So what’s happened? How did this — how could this have happened? And I can only think that there’s some disconnect gone wrong between the brain and the human heart, where our compassion lives, that we’ve lost or are losing wisdom. And being clever and being wise are two different things. And we’ve got to somehow work to reinstall the values that make people wise in our children, which is why I’m spending so much time with our youth program, Roots & Shoots, now in 90 countries. This is the reason for my crazy 300 days a year travel. It’s growing this program with materials from preschool right through university, and it’s changing lives in the inner city, it’s changing lives in rural areas.

AMY GOODMAN: And you do what?

JANE GOODALL: Every group chooses three different kinds of project, initially to improve the world around them, firstly for their own human community, second for animals, including domestic animals, third for the environment. And woven throughout it all is the sense of living in peace and harmony with each other, with the animal kingdom and with the natural world. And it’s very much about breaking down barriers that we erect between people of different cultures, countries, religions, between us and the animal kingdom. And it really is changing the world.

It’s not that children can make change. They are making change. They’re cleaning streams. They’re clearing up litter. They’re helping the elderly walk their dogs. They’re doing things locally, feeling good about it, and then reaching out, like helping Katrina victims, helping the victims of tsunami and the Pakistan earthquake. They’re connected around the world with this wonderful communication network. And they’re with others who do have compassion, who do care for the future. They get it. So if we can get a critical mass of youth that is moving in a direction away from the materialistic morals, ethic, or lack of ethic and lack of morals, of so many people in the modern world today, then, maybe then we can reclaim wisdom.

AMY GOODMAN: How does war fit into this picture, and peace?

JANE GOODALL: War and peace. War is devastating to the environment. It’s devastating to human life. So often people talk about, you know, damage done to civilians, and doesn’t it matter that the soldiers are also torn apart? They have the same feelings as the civilians. So many go off to fight, not because they really want to, but because they’re pushed into it, forced into it, peer pressure to get a job, whatever it happens to be. And I don’t think we can ever learn to live in real harmony with nature while we’re fighting. But equally, we’ll never be able to lay down our weapons worldwide, until we learn to live in harmony with nature. The big wars, they say, are going to be fought over water, access to water. Big businesses buying up the aquifers.

AMY GOODMAN: When we spoke earlier, you said you’ve been warned about using the word “peace.”

JANE GOODALL: It seems that — I don’t understand this, but it seems that peace has become a political word. For me, that’s not so. Peace means being able to live in harmony with each other. And I was made a U.N. Messenger of Peace, and Kofi Annan did that because of Roots & Shoots, because I could honestly say, 'Kofi, wherever I go, I'm spreading seeds of global peace.’ We have our own Roots & Shoots Peace Day, and because when you’re made a messenger of peace, a little dove is pinned to you — for some reason I’m not wearing mine today, but here it is on your mug — then one of the Roots & Shoots groups in New York created this giant pea-stuffed puppet out of old sheets, recycled sheets, and a bit of chicken wire, and when I was wondering how I could help promote the U.N. Day of Peace, I thought, 'Yes, we'll fly these around the world.’

So this — we had our Peace Day on the 24th of September. I think we flew doves in about 50 countries. In Los Angeles, they flew 30 in a wonderful parade. I was on the Snake River flying two doves on two canoes and, you know, my vision is that the day will come when as the sun goes around the world these giant wings will spread out, and you’ll be able to look down from the satellite and see them, and surely because the young people are building into these doves their own commitment to living in peace with themselves and their family, their environment, then some of these dreams will drift off in the wind and settle on areas still torn apart by conflict.

AMY GOODMAN: So who is warning you against using the word “peace”?

JANE GOODALL: It’s just that some N.G.O.s are being warned that there are certain things which they shouldn’t be using, certain words that will bring them into disrepute. And peace — it can’t be true, can it? That cannot be a political — peace is something we all aspire to. Peace is something every child dreams about. You ask children around the world what are their dreams, and one of the things they’ll say is “Peace.” I don’t believe there’s a single living person who really wants to be involved in a war if there was any way out.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Jane Goodall, as we wrap up, your plans for the future, and how they’re informed by what you’ve done, living very remotely, first, well, in your twenties with animals, with the chimpanzees. Do you have hope for the future as you look at the powers that are arrayed against the principles that you care about?

JANE GOODALL: That’s the question I’m asked most often: Can I really have hope when I see animal species becoming extinct, when I see forests giving place to deserts, when I see the suffering, the poverty, and so much of the developing world and the sickness, the hunger, when I see the ethnic violence everywhere and the tremendous social injustice? Do I really have hope for peace?

And I wouldn’t write books about peace if I didn’t have hope, and maybe my hope for peace is — and my hope for the future and my hope that we’ll get out of this mess, this monstrous mess that we find ourselves in, maybe they’re simplistic. Maybe they’re idealistic. But they work for me. The human brain and, you know, if you actually check around to see what people have invented that will allow us to live in more harmony with nature, I mean, there are many, many scientists who say if we would just do these things and stop talking about them, we have the way to get out of so much of the mess we’ve made. So that’s one reason for hope and that more people are thinking about the way they live and realizing that what we do each day does, in fact, have an impact on the world.

Second reason for hope: the resilience of nature, the places we destroy which can be given a second chance. The animal species on the very brink of extinction, and in some cases down to just two individuals, but they can, too, be given a second chance, if we care enough.

AMY GOODMAN: Jane Goodall, author of Harvest for Hope: A Guide for Mindful Eating, the world renowned primatologist.

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