The Human Spirit is the Greatest Reason for Hope
Last October I had the honor of hearing Jane Goodall speak at the Wildlife Conservation Expo. Dr. Goodall spoke about the problems facing our world today; crippling poverty, unsustainable lifestyle, and human population growth. But she also spoke of the indomitable human spirit being the greatest reason for hope. And that we can turn this mess we have made around if we choose and work towards a better world.
Happy Birthday Jane Goodall
Dr. Goodall celebrates her 80th birthday today. In a recent post in USA Today, Dr. Goodall reflected on how technology can help save our environment. This headline caught my eye because this semester I am an instructor for Miami University’s Global Field Program teaching Biology in the Age of Technology. Everyday I get to read student’s work on the improvements being made in conservation through advances in technology. And everyday I am refueled with optimism and hope for the future.
Dr. Goodall discusses how we take for granted technology that would have been science fiction when she was young. When she first studied chimpanzees of Tanzania’s Gombe National Park, her communication took weeks for a response via sending letters in the mail. Today, she connects within seconds with people all over the world, even in the worlds most inaccessible places.
Environmental conservation work is advancing through the use of technology. And we are finding new uses for older technology everyday. Dr Goodall said, “Technology alone will not solve every problem, but it is part of the solution. Let’s use technology as a way to amplify our voices in support of the environment. Let’s turn to Facebook, Twitter and the myriad other ways to connect and strategize with likeminded individuals about how to make this world better. Let’s use technology to extend the reach of our personal influence in support of the planet we love.”
The United Nations Ambassador of Peace still travels around the world about 300-days-per-year to raise awareness about the threats to our children’s future. Her hope is that the fight to try to make a better world for all people and animals will continue long after she is gone.
After her talk at the conference last fall, Dr. Goodall was gracious enough to hang out and chat with attendees. She endured long lines signing books and listened to many stories from those inspired by her. When it was my turn, we exchanged a greeting and I simply said, Thank you.
We have Jane Goodall to thank for so many things. Her work made a significant difference in how humans view animals, from giving them names instead of numbers and from changing the pronoun from it to she or he. Dr. Goodall will correct a person referring to an animal as it, by gently telling them, animals are not objects, they are sentient beings.
She has also openly declared her opposition to militant animal rights groups who engage in violent or destructive demonstrations. Extremists on both sides of the issue polarize thinking and make constructive dialogue nearly impossible. She encourages peaceful, thoughtful solutions through open dialogue.
Her message to each of us is to, “Think about what you buy, what you wear and what you eat everyday. We can all make a difference.”
Happy Birthday to Jane Goodall! Thank you for your inspiration and reminding us that hope remains within the human spirit. We can make a difference everyday to help restore our world.