North Texas Daily

Why Jane Goodall is a badass

Why Jane Goodall is a badass

March 27
10:00 2018

Dr. Jane Goodall — when you hear this name, you probably think of a scientist kickin’ it with chimpanzees.

You would be correct. Dr. Goodall has studied chimpanzees for a massive part of her scientific career, and Dr. Goodall’s work is phenomenal. For more than 50 years, she has worked alongside chimpanzees, building intimate relationships and lasting friendships with the chimp community.

From her friends, she gleaned so much information that has benefitted hundreds of disciplines including biology, psychology and botany.

However, Dr. Goodall’s work over the years has relevance to all walks of life.

Goodall is a formidable woman in her field. She has paved her own way to success throughout the years and has made innumerable connections with people from all cultures and backgrounds. Her work, along with many other female contributors to science, has dispelled the illusion that a woman cannot professionally work in the field of science.

In the Gombe Forest located in Tanzania, Dr. Jane Goodall integrated herself into the society of the chimpanzees. Typical scientific approaches would have a scientist observe the population from afar so as to remain safe and to prevent any disturbances in the routines of the species being studied. Dr. Goodall’s approach was revolutionary and unique. It granted her insight into how the society of chimps works, as well as exposed facts about the species the world had not ever known before.

Dr. Jane Goodall didn’t allow neither her passions nor interests to cease with primatology. She concentrated her efforts with the help of many to establish the Jane Goodall Institute in 1977. The goal was to educate humans about deforestation, habitat destruction and species decline, along with many other important environmental topics.

Education is the first step to changing any environmental issue, for if the common man is aware of the dangers humans cause to the organisms around them, powerful change can ensue to make such a place better for all who share it.

Dr. Goodall expanded her efforts to go even further with education. She helped found a program called “Roots & Shoots,” which invites young people from all over the world to become educated about their planet and learn the ways they can protect it.

Goodall once described her youth in the gardens of her childhood home. She noted how her interest in life was exercised by young friends and family who supported her interests and encouraged her progress. She has expressed great love and sentimentality for these gardens.

Dr. Jane Goodall is a personal hero of mine.

I remember doing a report on Goodall’s work in fourth grade. The teacher told us to grab articles from her desk, each filled with science which was arguably beyond our understanding. I sat at my desk, the shyest of all the students, and waited for everyone to obtain their assignment. Then I approached, grabbing the last one. My article was about Jane Goodall. All I knew about Dr. Goodall at this point in my life was that she studied “monkeys.”

I finally learned the difference between a chimpanzee and a monkey, an important distinction for any wannabe-scientist. Secondly, I felt empowered. Jane was younger than me when she had a thirst for knowledge about the world around her — she was asking questions I never thought to ask.

Ever since this moment of my education, I had an interest in science.

I relished the idea that someone could ask a question nobody knew the answer to, and then use techniques to find an answer or at least a feasible theory. Dr. Goodall has worked tirelessly all her life, neither for renown nor wealth, but rather to learn, educate and inspire, and she has done just that.

My absolute favorite thing about Dr. Jane Goodall is her interest in nature. She respects and reveres the natural world in a way only the wisest would. She considers the feelings of plants and the needs of an environment. She is well-versed in botanical history and deposes anthropocentrism for the preferred ideal that she, too is a member of the animal kingdom.

Dr. Goodall wrote a book I personally believe should be at the top of everyone’s “To Read” list: “Seeds of Hope.” In this book, Dr. Goodall discusses, among other things, plants and their natural world. She writes about healing plants and their relevance to indigenous cultures, orchids and other flowers, and trees of all types. She touches on the horrors of biopiracy and over-harvesting of natural flora. She aims to educate the reader on a multitude of interesting topics concerning the human race and the planet as a whole.

This book, in particular, has brought me to the verge of tears on more than one occasion. The way she imparts such useful wisdom in a meaningful and relevant way is absolutely inspiring. When I suggest this book to people, I often hear, “I prefer fiction,” or, “Non-fiction is difficult for me to read.” If that is the case, then I suggest downloading the audiobook. This is a work of art that you will regret not having experienced.

Jane Goodall will be coming to UNT as a part of UNT’s lecture series. She will speak on April 9 at the Coliseum. You can find tickets by clicking here. I encourage each and every reader to attend the lecture, because not only is the session free to students and cheap for guests, but how many opportunities does one have to learn directly from one of the greatest scientific minds?

Featured Image: Illustration by Austin Banzon

About Author

Sean Rainey

Sean Rainey

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