An interview with Dr Jane Goodall

Organic September is fast approaching and it’s certainly a time to reflect on our environmental impact. Here at People Tree we take this very seriously hence why we seek advice from the best in the business! We had the honor of interviewing one of the most respected conservationists on the planet Dr Jane Goodall and asked for her words of Wisdom.

Dr. Jane Goodall in Gombe National Park, Tanzania Gant- Morten Bjarnhof

       What made you so passionate about Nature and the Environment from a young age and what made you stick to your passion?

–       I was just born absolutely being fascinated by all animals – and I loved trees also and spent hours up my favourite, Beech he was called (and still in the garden, I am looking at Beech now as I come back to the house where I grew up between tours. My sister LIVES here with her family).  And the more you learn about nature and animals the more there is to learn, and the more fascinating it becomes.

       What is your view on the fashion industry and what it stands for? Can you give some advice to people who want to start consuming in a more ethical way?

–       Worst part of the fashion industry is fur.  The animals in the terrible conditions of the farms, where they are bred, and slaughtered – sometimes in a very cruel way – for their skins.  Foxes and minks come to mind.  Fortunately few people would even want to buy leopard skin garment these days.

       Who do you think the future generation should listen to?

–       Well – obviously me!!!!! Seriously, I hope to involve as many young people around the world as possible in our Jane Goodall Institute’s humanitarian and environmental Roots & Shoots programme.  It began with 12 high school students in Tanzania in 1991 and is now active in almost 70 countries, and growing in 30 more. We have members in kindergarten and university and everything in-between (even some adult groups today). The most important message of R&S is that every individual matters and has a role to play, even if they don’t know it yet.  Most importantly, every single one of us makes some kind of difference to the planet every day, and we have a choice as to what kind of difference we make.  Think about the consequences of the small choices made each day.  What do you buy?  Eat?  Wear?  Where did it come from?  Was the environment harmed?  Was there cruelty to animals? (as in factory farms, for example). Is it cheap because of child slave labour or sweatshops?  And, most importantly, do you NEED it?  Organic food may be more expensive, but you will buy less and value it more and waste less.  Food waste is appalling.

       What would your best advice be to someone who wants to make a positive difference on a daily basis? One action that will have a positive effect on our environment.

–       As above – think about the consequences of all of your actions on animals, the environment – and future generations.

       You have travelled the world and met so many amazing people but what or where is your happy place?

–       Honestly and truly, it is here in the old family home that originally belonged to my maternal grandmother.  Because I get to spend time (even a few days is good) with no lectures, hotels, airports etc. The house and the garden are the same.  The cliffs where I roamed with my dog, as a child, are more or less the same. And, apart from the odd conference call, skype interview, I can concentrate on trying to catch up with all the demands made – such as answering these questions!

       What do you think the secret to true happiness is?

  1. knowing that you are on the right path, doing what means the most for you.
  2. Understanding that, while we need money to live, things go wrong when we live for money.  As long as we have enough money to keep body and soul together stop trying to get more and more money to buy stuff you don’t really need.  Some people are very successful in getting lots of money, but they are often not very happy.  Too worried about how they can go on earning enough to pay for a lavish life style
  3. Knowing, at the end of each day, you have done all you can – or at least, not strayed too far from the goals you have set for yourself.
  4. Having real friends, family or otherwise, that you can rely on, discuss your ideas and problems with. With whom you can laugh and have fun – both very important ingredients of happiness.
  5. For many people (including me) being able to share life with a dog, cat or other animal. (Alas, now that I am travelling 300 days a year I can no longer have my own dog, and have to get a “dog fix” from other people’s dogs – unless I am at home. There is always a family dog. And there are trees. Just looking at and thinking about trees makes me happy).
  6. And I have to add, being lucky enough to enjoy good health

Thank you Dr Jane for your wise words!

People can join R&S by visiting our website www.rootsnshoots.org.uk. Or learn more about the Jane Goodall Institute if there is one in their own country