Jane Goodall
Conservationist, UN Messenger of Peace, Anthropologist, Environmentalist

"I would have to clone myself many times over to do, what I would actually like to do." Dr. Jane Goodall spends her time travelling around the globe and encouraging as many people as possible to make the right ethical choices towards nature, food and material goods. As an environmentalist and an expert for conservation she inspires us to make this world a better one for future generations. "Bringing all this together takes a lifetime."


Was steht auf Deiner Visitenkarte?

I don't have a job description. I don't get paid a salary. I go around the world trying to help conservation, environmentalism, youth education, and giving people hope. Well, there's no job description for that.

Worum geht es in Deinem Job?

I am trying to lead a life which impacts as many individuals as I possibly can, and encourages them and inspires them to make the right choices each day. By making ethical choices in what we buy, what we eat, what we wear, thinking whether that harmed the environment, did it have a negative impact on other people, like child slave labor in far away places. Is that why it's cheap? Has it harmed not just a few, but billions of sentient animals in the intensive factory farms, because that makes cheaper meat, so we shouldn't buy it.. If everybody starts thinking that way, and makes ethical choices, even though it means buying a little less, then we have to ask ourselves do we really need it? Do we need so much stuff? Shouldn't we measure success in a different way from just how much money we make and how much material goods we have? Shouldn't we measure success as are our lives helping other people to fulfill their dreams and their goals, and are our lives helping to make this world a better place for future generations? The Jane Goodall Institute began in 1977 in the United States. It was created to conserve chimpanzees in their habitats, but right from the beginning, I added in conserving other great apes, and conserving forests where the apes live, and educating young people so that they understand more about the natural world and their own responsibilities. Fortunately, as a result of our youth program, Roots & Shoots, I can inspire young people to take action to help all the different animals and causes that I believe in so passionately, that the Jane Goodall Institute cannot do, because it can't do everything. The JGI is now in 33 countries, and every single JGI, wherever it is, at least does Roots & Shoots, and all of them tried to contribute to our programs in Africa, to save the chimpanzees and the other great apes of Africa. The Roots & Shoots program is now in 99 countries and growing, and these young people are changing the world. If you want to conserve a species in one of these developing countries, it's really important that you improve the lifestyles of the people living around the forests, who are often in crippling poverty, and they're hungry. They don't have good education or health facilities, so by improving the lives of the people, in ways that they choose themselves, we create partners rather than those who resent our presence. And that's what we're now doing in seven different African countries, and hoping to grow.

Wie sieht Dein Werdegang aus?

I was born in England before World War II, and I had a typical upbringing. I went to a Church of England school. I did very well in school, but we had very little money, and so instead of going to university, because you couldn't get a scholarship back then unless you were good in a foreign language, which I wasn't, so I did a secretarial course. We had just enough money for that. Then, I got a job in London with documentary films, which was very useful for me afterwards. Then I got an invitation from a school friend, inviting me to Kenya where her parents had just bought a farm. That was the opportunity to go where I had always wanted to go, but I couldn't save up enough money in London. It was very expensive. I went home, and I worked as a waitress, and I don't know, it was very hard work, maybe six months. After the war, people couldn't afford lavish tips, but I saved up my wages. I saved up my tips, until finally I had enough money for a return fare to Africa, but in those days, it was by boat. We didn't have planes flying back and forth. So I was 23 years old, which is a bit like a 17, 18 year old today. We were very naïve, very unsophisticated. We didn't know much about the world at all. I went off at 23, said goodbye to family, friends, and country, and arrived in Kenya. On the way, I stopped in Cape Town, which is very beautiful. I was excited to be setting foot for the first time in Africa. But everywhere I went, there were these notices in Afrikaans, on the seats in the park, on the doors into the restaurants, into the restrooms, wherever I went, saying, "Whites only." I was utterly, utterly shocked, because I didn't grow up that way. I hated it, but fortunately, many thanks to Nelson Mandela and others like him, apartheid has ended. There's still a lot of discrimination in every country, but we fight it. Anyhow, I met Louis Leakey. Somebody told me about him. He offered me a job, because he was impressed by how much I knew about animals, because I'd followed my mother's advice and gone on reading books about African animals, learning all I could. In the museum, I got to meet with people. It was just very exciting. They knew all about the birds, the insects, the amphibians, the mammals, the plants, even, of Africa, and I was learning, learning, learning all the time. I think Louis Leakey was impressed by my determination to do something with animals. Anyhow, he gave me the opportunity to go to Gombe and study chimpanzees. But it took a year before I could get there. First of all, who was going to give money to a young girl who hadn't been to university, and only just come from England. But finally, a wealthy American businessman gave money for six months.

Ginge es auch ohne Deinem Werdegang?

I don't think there's anybody qualified today to do what I do, because the work that I do, which isn't a job, it's a way of living, and it's gradually evolved because of who I am and what I care about. There are other people who want to help conservation. There are other people who want to help youth education. There are other people who want to save endangered species. There are other people who want to write books. But bringing all this together in one takes a lifetime.

Was ist das coolste an Deinem Job?

The way I'm living my life now, all I can say is that I was given two gifts. One, a healthy body, and two, a gift for communication. And as I'm 83 years old, I need that strong constitution to travel 300 days a year, around the world, giving talks and lectures. The only reason I continue to do it, because it's utterly exhausting, is because I know that when people come and hear my talks, they become inspired and they make changes in their life, to make this a better world for future generations. I guess I could say that I meet the most amazing people, I hear about wonderful projects, and I meet very, very inspirational people who inspire me, and that is the sort of thing that enables me to go on living this really ridiculous lifestyle.

Welche Einschränkungen bringt Dein Job mit sich?

I would like to be able to visit more countries. I would like to talk to more young people, but I'm limited by the physical inability of getting to more places in a single year. I would have to clone myself many times over to do what I would actually like to do, which is to change attitudes, in not just thousands or even millions, but billions of people around the globe, so that each and every individual understood that each one of us makes a difference every single day. We have a choice, and the way that we live our lives, however small we may seem as an individual, when that's multiplied a million and a billion times, means that if we make the right ethical decisions in how we live our lives, then we start to create a better world.

Drei Ratschläge an Dein 14jähriges Ich!

When I was 14 years old, I was still at school, and it was just after World War II. In those days, girls didn't really have careers. If you wanted to go on and do anything, you became a nurse or a secretary, and it was just the beginning of being flight attendants. And none of those things were anything I wanted to do. The advice that I received is the best advice, which I now give to young people all around the world, came from my mother, who would say to me, "If you really want something, you're going to have to work really hard, take advantage of opportunity, and never give up." So when I decided I wanted to go to Africa, age 10, and live with wild animals and write books about them, and everybody laughed at me, and said, "Jane, dream about something you can achieve," it was my mother who gave me that advice. So, if I'm advising young people today, I would simply share with them the advice that I got from my mother.