From despair to hope: Jane Goodall's message for saving our planet

8 minute read

From despair to hope: Jane Goodall's message for saving our planet

BRATISLAVA, MAY 14, ARMENPRESS. British primatologist, ethologist, and anthropologist Jane Goodall kicked off the STARMUS science festival in Bratislava on May 13th.

At 90 years old, this petite woman travels around the world for more than 300 days a year, conducting seminars, delivering lectures, and participating in activities aimed at protecting the environment.

Goodall, the keynote speaker at the seventh STARMUS festival, has dedicated her entire life to studying chimpanzees and protecting the planet Earth.

Her innovative research on chimpanzee life, conducted in Tanzania, has profoundly altered mankind's perceptions of these animals. She is also a leader in pioneering environmental protection initiatives. Goodall's work over the years has contributed significantly to preserving vital ecosystems and safeguarding endangered animal species. Throughout her endeavors, she has consistently sought to demonstrate the interconnectedness of various forms of life on Earth.

On the stage of the STARMUS science and music festival, Jane Goodall delivered a speech titled "Reason for Hope", greeting the audience in the language of chimpanzees.

ARMENPRESS presents excerpts from the speech of the legendary British scientist.

StarmusVII_LSA1729.jpg (905 KB)

Earth is our only home

I am particularly thrilled that this year’s STARMUS is concentrated on our own planet, one of the maybe billions of billions of planets that are spinning in the Cosmos. But isn’t it fascinating that it’s because of our exploration in the Space that we had the first stunning image of our own planet Earth, that beautiful green and blue planet, taken from the Space? And then I think people began to realize this is a very fragile planet. And there we are, spinning around the Sun, very small planet surrounded by black dark immensity of outer Space. And I think that’s a wakeup call for all the people on Earth to realize that this is our only home; we better start protecting the planet.

And over the ages, probably since the industrial revolution, maybe since the agricultural revolution, we have solely been inflicting more and more harm upon this planet, our only home.

With climate change we’ve seen these terrifying changes around the world; worse and more frequent storms, and hurricanes, and flooding, and droughts, and heat waves, and the terrifying forest fires that we’ve seen in so many parts of the globe.

We’ve seen places of ice melting; we’ve seen sea level rising… There are so many other ways that we harm this planet. Climate change is not something that we’re facing in the future, climate change is here, here and now.

Humanity is in the middle of the sixth great extinction

We are in the middle of the sixth great extinction on planet Earth. And this one is caused by us. We are at a very very difficult point of time and what we do now is going to affect the future of life on planet Earth.

But I see light at the end of a very long and a very dark tunnel. Right at the end of the tunnel, there’s a little star shining. That’s hope.

Industrial agriculture, with its huge use of fossil fuel, its use of chemical pesticides, and artificial fertilizer, is having dramatic effect on biodiversity and actually killing the very soil on which we depend… We can’t go on like this, can we?

StarmusVII_LSA1678.jpg (1.03 MB)

Are human beings the only sentient beings on the planet?

When I got to Cambridge University in 1961, I was told that only human beings have personality, only human beings have minds capable of solving problems, and only human beings had emotions like happiness, sadness, fear. Fortunately, I’ve been taught by amazing teacher when I was a child that these scientists were wrong. That teacher was my dog -Rusty.

We are not the only sentient beings on the planet.

We are part of and not separated from this amazing animal kingdom.

Reasons for Hope

People say to me – Jane, you’ve seen so many of these problems, do you really have hope? And I do! I believe we have a window of time, but it depends on us. We have to get together and try to make difference. We must not leave it to others, it’s up to us. But my main reasons for hope first of all is science. And many of the scientist who are here or have been here at Starmus events, scientist beginning to find ways using this amazing intellect that makes us more different than anything else from chimpanzees and other animals, giving to use that intellect to create ways in which we can live in harmony with nature.

My next reason for hope is the resilience of nature. We can destroy the places and if give it time and some help, the nature will return… It may take time but I have seen with my own eyes places, that were totally destroyed by us, where nature has come back. And with the first grasses and then the trees growing from the seeds left in the ground, the insects come back, and gradually biodiversity returns. Maybe not exactly the same, but it becomes once again a living, thriving ecosystem.

But my greatest reason for hope lies in the young people today. Roots and Shoots, the program I began, is for young people from kindergarten, schools, universities. It started with 12 students, it’s now in 70 countries and even adults are forming groups. Roots and Shoots is all about empowering the young people, listen to their voices, and it’s incredible, they are changing the world.

We can change the world

Please don’t forget, you as an individual have a role to play. You’re on this planet for a reason, I believe. And every single day that you live you make some impact on the planet.

People say to me, "But Jane, I am just one person, the problem is huge, what can I do?" Think about the deserts; one drop of rainfall, that won’t make any difference. But when billions of billions of raindrops fall, that wakes up the life beneath the sand, and it comes and blooms and the desert comes to life. That’s what young people can do, that’s what all of you can do. Just remember, accumulatively we can change the world!

Araks Kasyan


Armenia, Yerevan, 0002, Martiros Saryan 22


For full or partial reproduction of any material in other media it is required to acquire written permission from Armenpress news agency.


Created by: MATEMAT