Tuesday, April 20, 2010

reason for hope

Last night I had the amazing opportunity to hear Dr. Jane Goodall speak. She is truly an inspiration.

She gave a very compelling and inspiring speech about why she has hope for our future, and how she can manage to stay hopeful in the face of overwhelming destruction of the earth's resources.

Her 4 "reasons for hope" are:
1. The Human Brain--marvelous in its capacity for creativity and innovation, she believes we WILL stop harming the earth and reverse the damage already done;
2. The Indomitable Human Spirit--that capacity we have for compassion, altruism, and love that WILL guide us to making the right choices, and inspire others to do the same;
3. The Resilience of Nature--nature's ability to be re-born after seemingly impossible odds and the ability of populations to return after reaching the brink of extinction;
4. The Determination of Young People--she has created a worldwide network of young people involved in environmental projects. If you're a teacher, you MUST check out Roots and Shoots, and get your students involved. This is an incredible movement and involves a huge number of people. What a way to let the young people in your life know they are not alone in their concern for the environment, and what better way to let them know by empowering them to work together.

Dr Jane Goodall, the woman, is incredible. She's 76 years old, she travels over 300 days every year, spreading the message of hope and working tirelessly for the environment. She started working as a field biologist at 26 years old, and has done more work for chimps than probably anyone else on the planet. She is an ambassador for animal welfare and a UN Messenger of Peace.

But the thing that struck me the most last night was her vivid description of being a little girl. She spent a summer on her uncle's farm in the countryside of England. She was thrilled to be in such close contact with animals.

She shared a memory of "disappearing" for an entire day-hoping to catch a chicken in the act of laying an egg. When Jane finally returned home, rather than get angry and scold her, her mother sat down and listened intently as Jane regaled her with an exciting tale of her thrilling discovery. Her mother was enthusiastic and loving and believed in the importance of letting Jane make discoveries and explore nature. Throughout her speech, she mentioned her mother's support and encouragement as the single most powerful, guiding force in her life. Thanks to her mom, Jane said, she had the courage to dream of living in the jungles of Africa, and later, thanks again to her mom's love and support, she accomplished this dream and is now literally changing the world.

Won't it be wonderful when all parents and all educators can be a beacon of support and encouragement for our children as they make their own connections to the natural world! Just imagine what could happen!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, what an opportunity to hear Jane Goodall speak! And what an inspiring message.