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← Every day you live, you impact the planet

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Showing Revision 8 created 07/09/2020 by marialadias.

  1. Chris Anderson: Dr. Jane Goodall, welcome.
  2. Jane Goodall: Thank you,

  3. and I think, you know,
    we couldn't have a complete interview
  4. unless people know Mr. H is with me,
  5. because everybody knows Mr. H.
  6. CA: Hello, Mr. H.

  7. In your TED Talk 17 years ago,
  8. you warned us about the dangers
    of humans crowding out the natural world.
  9. Is there any sense in which you feel
  10. that the current pandemic
    is kind of, nature striking back?
  11. JG: It's very, very clear
    that these zoonotic diseases,

  12. like the corona and HIV/AIDS
  13. and all sorts of other diseases
    that we catch from animals,
  14. that's partly to do
    with destruction of the environment,
  15. which, as animals lose habitat,
    they get crowded together
  16. and sometimes that means
    that a virus from a reservoir species,
  17. where it's lived harmoniously
    for maybe hundreds of years,
  18. jumps into a new species,
  19. then you also get animals being pushed
    into closer contact with humans.
  20. And sometimes one of these animals
    that has caught a virus can --
  21. you know, provides the opportunity
    for that virus to jump into people
  22. and create a new disease, like COVID-19.
  23. And in addition to that,
  24. we are so disrespecting animals.
  25. We hunt them,
  26. we kill them, we eat them,
  27. we traffic them,
  28. we send them off
    to the wild-animal markets
  29. in Asia,
  30. where they're in terrible,
    cramped conditions, in tiny cages,
  31. with people being contaminated
    with blood and urine and feces,
  32. ideal conditions for a virus
    to spill from an animal to an animal,
  33. or an animal to a person.
  34. CA: I'd love to just dip
    backwards in time for a bit,

  35. because your story is so extraordinary.
  36. I mean, despite the arguably
    even more sexist attitudes of the 1960s,
  37. somehow you were able to break through
  38. and become one of the world's
    leading scientists,
  39. discovering this astonishing
    series of facts about chimpanzees,
  40. such as their tool use and so much more.
  41. What was it about you, do you think,
  42. that allowed you to make
    such a breakthrough?
  43. JG: Well, the thing is,
    I was born loving animals,

  44. and the most important thing was,
    I had a very supportive mother.
  45. She didn't get mad when she found
    earthworms in my bed,
  46. she just said they better be
    in the garden.
  47. And she didn't get mad
    when I disappeared for four hours
  48. and she called the police,
    and I was sitting in a hen house,
  49. because nobody would tell me
    where the hole was where the egg came out.
  50. I had no dream of being a scientist,

  51. because women didn't do
    that sort of thing.
  52. In fact, there weren't any man
    doing it back then, either.
  53. And everybody laughed at me except Mom,
  54. who said, "If you really want this,
    you're going to have to work awfully hard,
  55. take advantage of every opportunity,
  56. if you don't give up,
    maybe you'll find a way."
  57. CA: And somehow, you were able to kind of,
    earn the trust of chimpanzees

  58. in the way that no one else had.
  59. Looking back, what were the most
    exciting moments that you discovered
  60. or what is it that people
    still don't get about chimpanzees?
  61. JG: Well, the thing is,
    you say, "See things nobody else had,

  62. get their trust."
  63. Nobody else had tried.
  64. Quite honestly.
  65. So, basically, I used the same techniques
  66. that I had to study the animals
    around my home when I was a child.
  67. Just sitting, patiently,
  68. not trying to get too close too quickly,
  69. but it was awful, because the money
    was only for six months.
  70. I mean, you can imagine
    how difficult to get money
  71. for a young girl with no degree,
  72. to go and do something as bizarre
    as sitting in a forest.
  73. And you know, finally,
  74. we got money for six months
    from an American philanthropist,
  75. and I knew with time
    I'd get the chimps' trust,
  76. but did I have time?
  77. And weeks became months
    and then finally, after about four months,
  78. one chimpanzee began to lose his fear,
  79. and it was he that
    on one occasion I saw --
  80. I still wasn't really close,
    but I had my binoculars --
  81. and I saw him using and making tools
    to fish for termites.
  82. And although I wasn't terribly surprised,
  83. because I've read about things
    captive chimps could do --
  84. but I knew that science believed
  85. that humans, and only humans,
    used and made tools.
  86. And I knew how excited
    [Dr. Louis] Leakey would be.
  87. And it was that observation
  88. that enabled him to go
    to the National Geographic,
  89. and they said, "OK, we'll continue
    to support the research,"
  90. and they sent Hugo van Lawick,
    the photographer-filmmaker,
  91. to record what I was seeing.
  92. So a lot of scientists
    didn't want to believe the tool-using.
  93. In fact, one of them said
    I must have taught the chimps.
  94. (Laughter)

  95. Since I couldn't get near them,
    it would have been a miracle.

  96. But anyway, once they saw Hugo's film
  97. and that with all my descriptions
    of their behavior,
  98. the scientists had to start
    changing their minds.
  99. CA: And since then,
    numerous other discoveries

  100. that placed chimpanzees much closer
    to humans than people cared to believe.
  101. I think I saw you say at one point
    that they have a sense of humor.
  102. How have you seen that expressed?
  103. JG: Well, you see it
    when they're playing games,

  104. and there's a bigger one
    playing with a little one,
  105. and he's trailing a vine around a tree.
  106. And every time the little one
    is about to catch it,
  107. the bigger one pulls it away,
  108. and the little one starts crying
  109. and the big one starts laughing.
  110. So, you know.
  111. CA: And then, Jane, you observed
    something much more troubling,

  112. which was these instances
    of chimpanzee gangs,
  113. tribes, groups, being brutally
    violent to each other.
  114. I'm curious how you process that.
  115. And whether it made you, kind of,
  116. I don't know, depressed about us,
    we're close to them,
  117. did it make you feel
    that violence is irredeemably
  118. part of all the great apes, somehow?
  119. JG: Well, it obviously is.

  120. And my first encounter
    with human, what I call evil,
  121. was the end of the war
  122. and the pictures from the Holocaust.
  123. And you know, that really shocked me.
  124. That changed who I was.
  125. I was 10, I think, at the time.
  126. And when the chimpanzees,
  127. when I realized they have this
    dark, brutal side,
  128. I thought they were like us but nicer.
  129. And then I realized
    they're even more like us
  130. than I had thought.
  131. And at that time, in the early '70s,
  132. it was very strange,
  133. aggression, there was a big thing
  134. about, is aggression innate or learned.
  135. And it became political.
  136. And it was, I don't know,
    it was a very strange time,
  137. and I was coming out, saying,
  138. "No, I think aggression is definitely
  139. part of our inherited
    repertoire of behaviors."
  140. And I asked a very respected scientist
    what he really thought,
  141. because he was coming out
    on the clean slate,
  142. aggression is learned,
  143. and he said, "Jane, I'd rather not talk
    about what I really think."
  144. That was a big shock
    as far as science was concerned for me.
  145. CA: I was brought up to believe a world
    of all things bright and beautiful.

  146. You know, numerous beautiful films
    of butterflies and bees and flowers,
  147. and you know, nature
    as this gorgeous landscape.
  148. And many environmentalists
    often seem to take the stance,
  149. "Yes, nature is pure,
    nature is beautiful, humans are bad,"
  150. but then you have the kind of
    observations that you see,
  151. when you actually look
    at any part of nature in more detail,
  152. you see things to be
    terrified by, honestly.
  153. What do you make of nature,
    how do you think of it,
  154. how should we think of it?
  155. JG: Nature is, you know,

  156. I mean, you think of the whole
    spectrum of evolution,
  157. and there's something about going
    to a pristine place,
  158. and Africa was very pristine
    when I was young.
  159. And there were animals everywhere.
  160. And I never liked the fact
    that lions killed,
  161. they have to, I mean, that's what they do,
  162. if they didn't kill animals,
    they would die.
  163. And the big difference
    between them and us, I think,
  164. is that they do what they do
    because that's what they have to do.
  165. And we can plan to do things.
  166. Our plans are very different.
  167. We can plan to cut down a whole forest,
  168. because we want to sell the timber,
  169. or because we want to build
    another shopping mall,
  170. something like that.
  171. So our destruction of nature
    and our warfare,
  172. we're capable of evil
    because we can sit comfortably
  173. and plan the torture of somebody far away.
  174. That's evil.
  175. Chimpanzees have a sort of primitive war,
  176. and they can be very aggressive,
  177. but it's of the moment.
  178. It's how they feel.
  179. It's response to an emotion.
  180. CA: So your observation
    of the sophistication of chimpanzees

  181. doesn't go as far as what
    some people would want to say
  182. is the sort of the human superpower,
  183. of being able to really simulate
    the future in our minds in great detail
  184. and make long-term plans.
  185. And act to encourage each other
    to achieve those long-term plans.
  186. That that feels, even to someone
    who spent so much time with chimpanzees,
  187. that feels like a fundamentally
    different skill set
  188. that we just have to take
    responsibility for
  189. and use much more wisely than we do.
  190. JG: Yes, and I personally think,

  191. I mean, there's a lot
    of discussion about this,
  192. but I think it's a fact that we developed
    the way of communication
  193. that you and I are using.
  194. And because we have words,
  195. I mean, animal communication
    is way more sophisticated
  196. than we used to think.
  197. And chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans
  198. can learn human sign language of the Deaf.
  199. But we sort of grow up speaking
    whatever language it is.
  200. So I can tell you about things
    that you've never heard of.
  201. And a chimpanzee couldn't do that.
  202. And we can teach our children
    about abstract things.
  203. And chimpanzees couldn't do that.
  204. So yes, chimpanzees can do
    all sorts of clever things,
  205. and so can elephants and so can crows
    and so can octopuses,
  206. but we design rockets
    that go off to another planet
  207. and little robots taking photographs,
  208. and we've designed this extraordinary way
    of you and me talking
  209. in our different parts of the world.
  210. When I was young, when I grew up,
  211. there was no TV,
    there were no cell phones,
  212. there was no computers.
  213. It was such a different world,
  214. I had a pencil, pen
    and notebook, that was it.
  215. CA: So just going back
    to this question about nature,

  216. because I think about this a lot,
  217. and I struggle with this, honestly.
  218. So much of your work,
    so much of so many people who I respect,
  219. is about this passion for trying
    not to screw up the natural world.
  220. So is it possible, is it healthy,
    is it essential, perhaps,
  221. to simultaneously accept
    that many aspects of nature
  222. are terrifying,
  223. but also, I don't know, that it's awesome,
  224. and that some of the awesomeness
    comes from its potential to be terrifying
  225. and that it is also just
    breathtakingly beautiful,
  226. and that we cannot be ourselves,
    because we are part of nature,
  227. we cannot be whole
  228. unless we somehow embrace it
    and are part of it?
  229. Help me with the language, Jane,
    on how that relationship should be.
  230. JG: Well, I think one of the problems is,
    you know, as we developed our intellect,

  231. and we became better and better
  232. at modifying the environment
    for our own use,
  233. and creating fields and growing crops
  234. where it used to be forest or woodland,
  235. and you know, we won't go into that now,
  236. but we have this ability to change nature.
  237. And as we've moved more
    into towns and cities,
  238. and relied more on technology,
  239. many people feel so divorced
    from the natural world.
  240. And there's hundreds,
    thousands of children
  241. growing up in inner cities,
  242. where there basically isn't any nature,
  243. which is why this movement now
    to green our cities is so important.
  244. And you know, they've done experiments,
  245. I think it was in Chicago,
    I'm not quite sure,
  246. and there were various empty lots
  247. in a very violent part of town.
  248. So in some of those areas
    they made it green,
  249. they put trees and flowers and things,
    shrubs in these vacant lots.
  250. And the crime rate went right down.
  251. So then of course,
    they put trees in the other half.
  252. So it just shows, and also,
  253. there have been studies done
    showing that children
  254. really need green nature
    for good psychological development.
  255. But we are, as you say, part of nature

  256. and we disrespect it, as we are,
  257. and that is so terrible for our children
  258. and our children's children,
  259. because we rely on nature
    for clean air, clean water,
  260. for regulating climate and rainfall.
  261. Look what we've done,
    look at the climate crisis.
  262. That's us. We did that.
  263. CA: So a little over 30 years ago,

  264. you made this shift from scientist mainly
    to activist mainly, I guess.
  265. Why?
  266. JG: Conference in 1986,
    scientific one, I'd got my PhD by then

  267. and it was to find out
    how chimp behavior differed, if it did,
  268. from one environment to another.
  269. There were six study sites across Africa.
  270. So we thought, let’s bring
    these scientists together
  271. and explore this,
  272. which was fascinating.
  273. But we also had a session on conservation
  274. and a session on conditions
    in some captive situations
  275. like medical research.
  276. And those two sessions
    were so shocking to me.
  277. I went to the conference a a scientist,
  278. and I left as an activist.
  279. I didn't make the decision,
    something happened inside me.
  280. CA: So you spent the last 34 years

  281. sort of tirelessly campaigning
    for a better relationship
  282. between people and nature.
  283. What should that relationship look like?
  284. JG: Well, you know, again you come up
    with all these problems.

  285. People have to have space to live.
  286. But I think the problem is
  287. that we've become,
    in the affluent societies,
  288. too greedy.
  289. I mean, honestly, who needs
    four houses with huge grounds?
  290. And why do we need
    yet another shopping mall?
  291. And so on and so on.
  292. So we are looking
    at short-term economic benefit,
  293. money has become a sort of god to worship,
  294. as we lose all spiritual connection
    with the natural world.
  295. And so we're looking for short-term
    monetary gain, or power,
  296. rather than the health of the planet
  297. and the future of our children.
  298. We don't seem to care about that anymore.
  299. That's why I'll never stop fighting.
  300. CA: I mean, in your work
    specifically on chimpanzee conservation,

  301. you've made it practice
    to put people at the center of that,
  302. local people, to engage them.
  303. How has that worked
  304. and do you think that's an essential idea
  305. if we're to succeed
    in protecting the planet?
  306. JG: You know, after that
    famous conference,

  307. I thought, well, I must learn more
    about why chimps are vanishing in Africa
  308. and what's happening to the forest.
  309. So I got a bit of money together
    and went out to visit six range countries.
  310. And learned a lot about the problems
    faced by chimps, you know,
  311. hunting for bushmeat
    and the live animal trade
  312. and caught in snares
  313. and human populations growing
    and needing more land
  314. for their crops and their cattle
    and their villages.
  315. But I was also learning about the plight
    faced by so many people.
  316. The absolute poverty,
    the lack of health and education,
  317. the degradation of the land.
  318. And it came to a head when I flew over
    the tiny Gombe National Park.
  319. It had been part of this equatorial
    forest belt right across Africa
  320. to the west coast,
  321. and in 1990,
  322. it was just this little island of forest,
    just tiny national park.
  323. All around, the hills were bare.
  324. And that's when it hit me.
  325. If we don't do something
  326. to help the people find ways of living
  327. without destroying their environment,
  328. we can't even try to save the chimps.
  329. So the Jane Goodall Institute
    began this program "Take Care,"
  330. we call it "TACARE."
  331. And it's our method
    of community-based conservation,
  332. totally holistic.
  333. And we've now put the tools
    of conservation
  334. into the hand of the villagers,
  335. because most Tanzanian wild chimps
    are not in protected areas,
  336. they're just in the village
    forest reserves.
  337. And so, they now go and measure
    the health of their forest.
  338. They've understood now
  339. that protecting the forest
    isn't just for wildlife,
  340. it's their own future.
  341. That they need the forest.
  342. And they're very proud.
  343. The volunteers go to workshops,
  344. they learn how to use smartphones,
  345. they learn how to upload
    into platform and the cloud.
  346. And so it's all transparent.
  347. And the trees have come back,
  348. there's no bare hills anymore.
  349. They agreed to make
    a buffer zone around Gombe,
  350. so the chimps have more forest
    than they did in 1990.
  351. They're opening up corridors of forest
  352. to link the scattered chimp groups
    so that you don't get too much inbreeding.
  353. So yes, it's worked,
    and it's in six other countries now.
  354. Same thing.
  355. CA: I mean, you've been this extraordinary
    tireless voice, all around the world,

  356. just traveling so much,
  357. speaking everywhere,
    inspiring people everywhere.
  358. How on earth do you find the energy,
  359. you know, the fire to do that,
  360. because that is exhausting to do,
  361. every meeting with lots of people,
  362. it is just physically exhausting,
  363. and yet, here you are, still doing it.
  364. How are you doing this, Jane?
  365. JG: Well, I suppose, you know,
    I'm obstinate, I don't like giving up,

  366. but I'm not going to let
    these CEOs of big companies
  367. who are destroying the forests,
  368. or the politicians who are unraveling
    all the protections that were put in place
  369. by previous presidents,
  370. and you know who I'm talking about.
  371. And you know, I'll go on fighting,
  372. I care about, I'm passionate
    about the wildlife.
  373. I'm passionate about the natural world.
  374. I love forests, it hurts me
    to see them damaged.
  375. And I care passionately about children.
  376. And we're stealing their future.
  377. And I'm not going to give up.
  378. So I guess I'm blessed
    with good genes, that's a gift,
  379. and the other gift,
    which I discovered I had,
  380. was communication,
  381. whether it's writing or speaking.
  382. And so, you know,
  383. if going around like this wasn't working,
  384. but every time I do a lecture,
  385. people come up and say,
  386. "Well, I had given up,
    but you've inspired me,
  387. I promise to do my bit."
  388. And we have our youth program
    "Roots and Shoots" now in 65 countries
  389. and growing fast,
  390. all ages,
  391. all choosing projects to help
    people, animals, the environment,
  392. rolling up their sleeves
    and taking action.
  393. And you know, they look at you
    with shining eyes,
  394. wanting to tell Dr. Jane
    what they've been doing
  395. to make the world a better place.
  396. How can I let them down?
  397. CA: I mean, as you look
    at the planet's future,

  398. what worries you most, actually,
  399. what scares you most about where we're at?
  400. JG: Well, the fact that we have
    a small window of time, I believe,

  401. when we can at least start
    healing some of the harm
  402. and slowing down climate change.
  403. But it is closing,
  404. and we've seen what happens
    with the lockdown around the world
  405. because of COVID-19:
  406. clear skies over cities,
  407. some people breathing clean air
    that they've never breathed before
  408. and looking up
    at the shining skies at night,
  409. which they've never seen properly before.
  410. And you know,
  411. so what worries me most
  412. is how to get enough people,
  413. people understand,
    but they're not taking action,
  414. how to get enough people to take action?
  415. CA: National Geographic just launched
    this extraordinary film about you,

  416. highlighting your work over six decades.
  417. It's titled "Jane Goodall: The Hope."
  418. So what is the hope, Jane?
  419. JG: Well, the hope,

  420. my greatest hope
    is all these young people.
  421. I mean, in China,
    people will come up and say,
  422. "Well, of course I care
    about the environment,
  423. I was in 'Roots and Shoots'
    in primary school."
  424. And you know, we have "Roots and Shoots"
    just hanging on to the values
  425. and they're so enthusiastic
    once they know the problems
  426. and they're empowered to take action,
  427. they are clearing the streams,
    removing invasive species humanely.
  428. And they have so many ideas.
  429. And then there's, you know,
    this extraordinary intellect of ours.
  430. We're beginning to use it
    to come up with technology
  431. that really will help us
    to live in greater harmony,
  432. and in our individual lives,
  433. let's think about the consequences
    of what we do each day.
  434. What do we buy, where did it come from,
  435. how was it made?
  436. Did it harm the environment,
    was it cruel to animals?
  437. Is it cheap because of child slave labor?
  438. Make ethical choices.
  439. Which you can't do if you're living
    in poverty, by the way.
  440. And then finally, this indomitable spirit
  441. of people who tackle what seems impossible
  442. and won't give up.
  443. You can't give up when you have those ...
  444. But you know, there are things
    that I can't fight.
  445. I can't fight corruption.
  446. I can't fight military
    regimes and dictators.
  447. So I can only do what I can do,
  448. and if we all do the bits that we can do,
  449. surely that makes a whole
    that eventually will win out.
  450. CA: So, last question, Jane.

  451. If there was one idea, one thought,
  452. one seed you could plant
    in the minds of everyone watching this,
  453. what would that be?
  454. JG: You know, just remember
    that every day you live,

  455. you make an impact on the planet.
  456. You can't help making an impact.
  457. And at least, unless
    you're living in extreme poverty,
  458. you have a choice as to what sort
    of impact you make.
  459. Even in poverty you have a choice,
  460. but when we are more affluent,
    we have a greater choice.
  461. And if we all make ethical choices,
  462. then we start moving towards a world
  463. that will be not quite so desperate
    to leave to our great-grandchildren.
  464. That's, I think, something for everybody.
  465. Because a lot of people
    understand what's happening,
  466. but they feel helpless and hopeless,
    and what can they do,
  467. so they do nothing
    and they become apathetic.
  468. And that is a huge danger, apathy.
  469. CA: Dr. Jane Goodall, wow.

  470. I really want to thank you
    for your extraordinary life,
  471. for all that you've done
  472. and for spending this time with us now.
  473. Thank you.

  474. JG: Thank you.