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  • Kathy Shimpock

Jane Goodall (1934 - ): From Scientist to Activist



During these days of uncertainty, many women seek strong, positive, wise and vital examples of aging.  Fortunately, such role models exist. These women embody the character of the wise old woman archetype. Their lives provide inspiration and guidance for the darkest of days. Jane Goodall is one of these women. There are many more; we only have to open our eyes to see them.


“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”  ― Jane Goodall


Jane Goodall is a naturalist, anthropologist, and activist.  She is best known for her time living alone in Tanzania studying chimpanzees.   This was 1960 when Jane’s patient observation led to significant discoveries that linked chimps to humans.  However, in the 1980’s Jane stopped researching and begin working as an activist, spending 300 days a year speaking, lecturing and fund-raising for environmental and conservation causes.  This is work she believes to be her calling.


In 1977, the Jane Goodall Institute was founded. It funds research on primates, wildlife conservation, poverty, education, and climate change. Jane is the recipient of many awards. In 2002, she was named a UN Messenger of Peace.  At 87, Jane has no indication of slowing down, although she plans to focus more on virtual activities.  She says, “I'll go on fighting till the day I die. Because I'm passionate, and because I believe we have a window of time. … [I]t’s only if we all do our bit and get together that we can start slowing down climate change [and] heal some of the harm that we've inflicted.”


Jane’s life and her continuing hope that we can still reverse the impact of climate change give her listeners the belief that their actions can make a difference.


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