10 Dec JANE GOODALL
Tarzan ended up with the wrong Jane
She walks like an angel. She is the kind of woman who walks in and quietly commands the room, not because she is famous but simply because she carries an otherworldly, ethereal quality, that I will not try to explain with words, as words will never be enough to describe her.
I will let Wikipedia do the introductions:
Dr Jane Goodall is an English primatologist and anthropologist. Considered to be the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees, Goodall is best known for her over 55-year study of social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees since she first went to Gombe Stream National Park, Tanzania in 1960. She is the founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and the Roots & Shoots programme, and she has worked extensively on conservation and animal welfare issues. She has served on the board of the Nonhuman Rights Project since its founding in 1996. In April 2002, she was named a UN Messenger of Peace.
Thessaloniki, 9th of December 2018:
Dr Goodall payed us a visit. She travels 300 days a year to raise awareness and talk about her research and her programme Roots and Shoots giving new essence to the word commitment.
“I’m 84” she said. “Closer to the end of my life than ever before. This is not the time to slow down, this is the time to do as much as possible because we don’t have the luxury of time.”
She waited patiently for us (the press) to ask one question each. I had to choose wisely and I had been studying for this conference for weeks, jumping from biology to ethology and all the “–ologies” that found me sleepless on my desk at 5am on a weeknight.
I thought to myself: Let’s be rather selfish and forget that it’s a press conference.
What would I ask her if she was my friend or mentor?
“Dr Goodall” I said, “I believe you are a vegetarian. Which is fantastic, but as a vegan myself, I know first-hand that such a choice comes with a side of harsh criticism. People will always find that we are either not doing enough, doing too much, or somehow doing it wrong. What would you advise someone who struggles with that?” (me)
“Listen to criticism” she said, proving that she is probably the noblest person I have ever met.
“Listen to what they have to say. And then everything comes down to telling stories. Intensive animal farming, the impact on the environment, what it actually takes to convert vegetable protein to animal protein, the amount of resources we have to waste on that, what it takes to bring that product to our table and how all these affect the climate change. And if they do not care about any of these, there’s also the health issues. All the antibiotics that get in our food chain from the meat we eat, bacteria building up resistance… People are now getting the picture. More and more people are thinking about veganism, including myself, it’s the fastest growing movement today. And remember that becoming aggressive is not going to work. These people who are aggressively trying to enforce their beliefs are not going to do it. Just raise awareness”
She moved on to answer other people’s questions and unfortunately I had to share her with the rest. Someone asked a really interesting question. -If you are reading this please contact me so that you can get proper credit-.
She asked: “Do you still think that we can change the world?”
“I still believe that we have a window” Dr Goodall exclaimed.
“It’s getting smaller and smaller but we do still have the opportunity to make a difference. If we all come together and start taking responsibility there is hope. Buy ethically. Ethical choices every day. Where do our clothes come from, what do we eat. Everything matters.”
Christopher Makos of the Hilton Brothers was there and also asked a question. Last time I saw him he sang a song but this time he did not.
I wonder what kind of music Dr Goodall likes.
I know she said she genuinely missed good music when she was living in the forest but I don’t know what good music means to her.
Christopher asked if she noticed the chimps having a similar concept to having pets.
“There’s a lot of play” she replied. “They create special bonds with other animals and form relationships but not really as we perceive pets”
After a few more Q&A that I will save for future random posts, we reunited again at her speech at Olympion Theatre.
Devoted and untiring as always she greeted the enormous amount of people who came to see her. I preferred the conference room where we had her all to ourselves but I said nothing. She told the story of how she begun, a little girl, no money, high hopes, loads of love for the animals. A tale of a girl who spend a whole day in a coop trying to figure out how hens lay eggs to the point where her mother had to call the police as she could not find her daughter. A very supportive mother who instead of getting upset she sat and listened the whole magical story of how an egg is being laid and later on travelled to Africa to support that little girl who went on to become the woman who redefined hope.
Until the next one,