It was last Saturday, 27th of September, that the famous biologist, archeologist and human rights activist, Jane Goodall gathered around 200 souls to hear her talk about her professional and personal path, in Woburn Safari Park, outskirts of London.
The motto was “Gombe and Beyond” referring to the Gombe Stream National Park, in Tanzania, where Goodall spent her last 55 years studying chimps. But, back to the beginning, this narrative started at Jane’s youth when she went back to the 40’s and explained how quite simple gestures would nurse in young Jane this deep love and interest for animals. How with their low economical conditions, her and her mother tackled the big obstacles and make Jane able to, not only, further her knowledge in the matter, but also study and hope for a job that could actually lead her to Africa.
She found herself a job as a secretary in Oxford University and was actually for this function that she was hired, a few years later, by Louis Leakey, a British archeologist that was doing research about hominids in Kenya. Leakey was her first contact to scientific research and as well as to chimpanzees, and a long lasting friendship and work partnership allowed Jane to give her first steps as a primatologist.
|Pic 1: Jane Goodall with some natives from Gombe Natural Park|
Still, from arriving to Africa to secure funding to study all this years the chimp population of Gombe, was a tough, continuous and ever-lasting war, that lead Jane back to the UK to take her PhD (without having any kind of academic studies before), which she remember as a quite difficult time for her, grab funding for a six months project and therefore putting her under the obligation of find something amazing in that short period that make her able to receive further funding.
That trigger as was wonderfully described was her discovery of the use of tools by the chimpanzees what also lead to a great revolution in scientific community, who then faced the need to contest and redefine biological and behavioral concepts and definitions about men, other animals and what tells us apart from each other.
This one hour talk went on eventually reaching Jane’s work as a human rights activist with the NGO Jane Goodall Institute, founded by her in 1977 and working since to promote sustainability in the usage of natural resources, protection of endangered species and environmental education, a project already spread out to a few dozen countries all around the world. She also spoke about her Roots&Shoots program that already reached 8000 youth groups and aided them to work in the promotion of environmental and social development in their own communities.
|Pic 2: Jane Goodall and Mr H (from Hope)|
This really enjoyable conversation was followed by a question and answers session and a book signing.
A very special event, an amazing woman and example and a moment to remember.