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  1. "Every single day that we live, we make some impact on the planet. We have a choice as to what kind of impact that is."

    Jane Goodall

    I often seek inspiration from trailblazers who have broken barriers and made a lasting impact on the world, and try to include them here on my blog. I want to celebrate people by sharing their story whilst I learn about them. One such remarkable figure is Dr. Jane Goodall, whom I had heard about many times, but not fully known about, until today. I like to write about it here so that I can cement it in my mind, and in the hope that it might be of interest to you. 

    Jane Goodall (II)

    Jane Goodall's journey serves as a beacon of resilience and determination, and that's what struck me the most. Born in 1934 in London, England, her early fascination with animals laid the groundwork for a lifelong dedication to understanding and protecting wildlife. Her decision to study chimpanzees in their natural habitat in Tanzania was groundbreaking, challenging established scientific norms, especially for female scientists, and redefining our understanding of primates.

    Despite facing numerous challenges, including limited resources and societal expectations, Jane's unwavering commitment to her research led to groundbreaking discoveries. Through her patience, keen observation, and deep empathy for the chimpanzees she studied, she shattered misconceptions about animal intelligence and behavior, fundamentally reshaping our understanding of the natural world.

    Here are some of the things that Jane enlightened us on:

    1. Tool Use: Jane observed chimpanzees using tools, such as sticks, to extract termites from their mounds for food. This discovery challenged the notion that tool use was exclusive to humans, highlighting the cognitive abilities of chimpanzees and reshaping our understanding of primate behavior.

    2. Social Structure: Through her long-term observations, Jane documented complex social hierarchies among chimpanzee communities. She observed behaviors such as dominance displays, grooming rituals, and alliances, revealing similarities to human social dynamics and providing valuable insights into the evolution of social behavior.

    3. Hunting Behavior: Contrary to previous beliefs, Jane observed chimpanzees hunting and consuming meat, including small mammals like monkeys and birds. This discovery challenged prevailing ideas about chimpanzees as solely herbivorous and shed light on the diverse dietary habits of these primates.

    4. Communication: Jane documented a wide range of vocalizations, gestures, and facial expressions used by chimpanzees to communicate with one another. Her studies revealed the complexity of chimpanzee communication and its role in maintaining social cohesion within groups.

    5. Emotional Complexity: Through her observations, Jane demonstrated that chimpanzees experience a range of emotions, including joy, grief, and empathy. Her research challenged the notion of humans as the only species capable of complex emotional experiences, highlighting the rich inner lives of chimpanzees and fostering greater empathy for our primate relatives.

    What sets Jane apart is not just her scientific contributions but also her ability to translate her research into meaningful action. Through the Jane Goodall Institute and programs like Roots & Shoots, she has empowered individuals around the globe to become advocates for conservation and social change. Her work has inspired countless people, from scientists to activists to everyday citizens, to take up the cause of environmental stewardship and make a positive difference in their communities. We don't all have to go to Tanzania to make a positive change for this planet. 

    Jane's legacy reminds us of the power of perseverance, empathy, and collaboration in creating meaningful change. The use of her voice to advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves is something so powerful, and something to inspire all of us. 

    Here is the link to her foundation, where you can read all about her and her institute, along with a donation page if you are able. 

    the Jane Goodall Institute Homepage


    "The least I can do is speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves."

    Jane Goodall