90-Year-Old Jane Goodall Shares How She Stays Hopeful About the State of the Planet

British environmentalist Jane Goodall poses for a portrait at the garden of Groningen University at the Sharing the Planet conference June 14, 2002 in Groningen, Netherlands. The conference deals with international sustainable development and is the beginning stages for the U.N. Environment meeting in Johannesburg August 2002
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Jane Goodall, best known for her dedication to animal welfare and the environment, is 90 years old. While there can be a lot to be nervous or even downright scared of in the world, Goodall is still embracing her hope for the future. Goodall is an ethologist, a scientist who studies the behavior of animals in their natural habitat and is best known for her work with chimpanzees in Tanzania. She has given significant research to the scientific community and advocated for the empathy of all animals.

She shared in a recent interview, “I’ve come to think of humanity as being at the mouth of a very long very dark tunnel and right at the end there’s a little star shining. And that’s hope. However, it’s futile to just sit and wonder when that star will come to us. We must gird our loins, roll up our sleeves, and navigate around all obstacles that lie between us and the star.”

Jane Goodall

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When asked how she remains hopeful when there seems to be more and more bad news each year she shared, “How do I stay hopeful? By traveling 300 days around the world—which, of course, isn’t environmentally friendly in terms of emissions from planes, etc., and since nobody’s given me a magic carpet—I feel I need to be there to actually talk to people. Our Roots & Shoots groups are planting hundreds of thousands of trees, and JGI is protecting forests. As I travel, I meet incredible people doing amazing things. I see forests being protected and woodlands restored. I meet people who tackle what seems impossible and don’t give up.”

Jane Goodall, (Season 1, aired June 5, 2020).

Apple TV+/Everett Collection

She continued, “This includes bringing endangered species back from the brink of extinction, like the California condor, for example. I vividly remember when there were only 12 left, one in captivity and 11 in the wild. They captured the 11 wild ones, did captive breeding, and now there are over 200.”

Jane's Journey Jane Goodall, 2010

Animal Planet/Everett Collection

She also spoke about her 90th birthday celebration and said there were 90 dogs on a beach in Carmel to honor her. She shared that it was “magical.” She hopes to continue to guide people with her work and her attitude toward life and showcase how important it is to respect other people, animals, and the environment. A great message indeed.

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March 2018

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