January 13, 2010

TANZANIA: Jane Goodall - 'My job is to give people hope'

. LONDON, England / The Guardian / People in Science / January 13, 2010 It is half a century since she began her seminal work studying chimpanzees in Africa. But Jane Goodall, 75, says her work is far from finished. Jane Goodall's project is HOPE. By Stephen Moss, The Guardian Jane Goodall in London Photograph: Eamonn McCabe Jane Goodall, grey in complexion but resplendent in a red shawl, is sitting on the sofa in a dimly lit room in west London. The scientist-turned-environmentalist has just arrived from Bournemouth, had a rotten journey, has a hacking cough, but accepts it all stoically, rejecting the suggestion that the heating be turned up. She is here with her talisman, a stuffed monkey called Mr H, given to her by the blind magician Gary Haun ("the Amazing Haundini"), who thought it was a chimp. Goodall, who has a childlike quality, sees a metaphorical significance in a blind magician who is able to pull the wool over the eyes of the sighted. The letter H, standing for Hope, also attracts her. The world seems to divide into people who are besotted with Goodall and people who have barely heard of her. She is more prominent in the US, where the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) is headquartered, than in the UK, despite being born here in 1934 and, after half a lifetime spent documenting the lives of chimpanzees in the Gombe Stream National Park overlooking Lake Tanganyika in the far west of Tanzania, now living with her sister Judy in their old family home in Bournemouth..... ....... ...a life as an environmental evangelist. One journalist who has followed her career likens her to a "peripatetic Mother Teresa", and it's a good description: she combines stateliness with a kind of holiness, her religion a predominantly green one. The message of her new book, with its stories about black-footed ferrets, American crocodiles and whooping cranes, is surprisingly upbeat. "My job seems to have increasingly become giving people hope, so that instead of doing nothing and sinking into depression, they take action," she tells me. "It's very clear to me that unless we get a critical mass of people involved in trying to create a better world for our great-grandchildren, we'd better stop having children altogether.".... ...."I loved animals as a child, read the Tarzan books, and decided at the age of 11 that I would go to Africa, live with animals and write books about them," she says. ..... ...she says. "I certainly prefer a lot of animals to a lot of people, but then I prefer some people to some animals too." [rc] Hope for Animals and Their World is published by Icon Books (£17.99). For more information see janegoodallhopeforanimals.com or janegoodall.org The above report consists of extracts from interview in The Guardian. For full text, please click here © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010