Jane Goodall Getting Ready for Earth Day 2011Apr 17th, 2011 | By Michael Benenati | Category: Green Living
When Earth Day started in 1970, celebrity chimp expert Jane Goodall was celebrating the 10-year anniversary of her first observations of chimpanzees in the Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania. 41 years later, now Dame Jane Goodall courtesy of Prince Charles, the 77-year-old anthropologist is looking back on the history of the event and looking towards the future.
“As far as awareness is concerned, we’re further ahead,” Goodall told Buffalo’s Channel 2 News. “The sad thing is awareness doesn’t always lead to the changes in behavior which have to happen if we’re going to get ourselves dug out of this mess.”
“We’ve made such a mess of this planet,” Goodall added. “How we got to be the way we are is much less important than getting together now, and trying to find a way to get out of this mess. . .together.”
Born in London in April 1934, Goodall first became interested in chimpanzees as a little girl when her father gave her a toy chimp named Jubilee, which she has to this day. Her interest in animals and Africa led her to Kenya in 1957. There she came into contact with paleontologist Louis Leakey, who was looking for a chimpanzee researcher. Leakey invited Goodall to join him as his secretary in Tanzania.
Goodall began studying chimps in Tanzania in 1960. Meanwhile she earned a doctorate from Cambridge University, studying Ethology, the science of animal behavior. She quickly became renowned for her study of chimps, first publicized in a National Geographic documentary in 1963. By the time of the first Earth Day in 1970 she was an international celebrity.
In 1977 Goodall founded the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) to promote the study and ethical treatment of the great apes and their environment. The JGI’s youth arm Roots & Chutes organizes thousands of youth in over 120 countries into community service projects to help animals and the environment and support humanitarian activity.
Goodall has been increasingly active in Earth Day in recent years, regularly making commemorative speeches. This year her Roots & Chutes is organizing and supporting numerous Earth Day projects, including A Billion Acts of Green, a campaign to get people to make 1 billion pledges to support the environment through different actions such as doing a home energy audit, contacting their legislator, or organizing an Earth Day event. To learn more about Roots & Chutes’ Earth Day activities, visit http://www.rootsandshoots.org/campaigns/earthday.