What can a pediatrician learn from a woman who studies monkeys? It turns out...a lot.
I went to listen to Jane Goodall on Monday night at the University of North Texas. Jane just celebrated her 84th birthday. I expected a frail, wispy haired woman to come shuffling out on the stage.
I was wrong.
Jane Goodall embodies my definition of a strong woman. At 26, she started her study of primates. Now, at 84, she’s working to save our world.
Jane's life has been remarkable in many ways- she was made famous when she challenged the long-standing belief that only humans used tools. In a quiet but firm voice, she has continued to make observations that have changed the way we look at primates. But it isn't just monkeys that Jane has been studying.
Jane has watched the shrinking of the rain forrest, the decline of several different species and the despair of young adults who believe the world is on a self-destructive path. She made a decision to become an ambassador and travel around the world despite the fact that she considers her time with the chimps precious.
What is her message? It's not too late, she says. There is many good reasons to still have hope.
But she would recommend some changes.
Eat less beef. Cattle produce a lot of methane and it's bad for the environment. In her youth service program, you can sign up for a ‘one click campaign’. I recommend looking at IEATMEATLESS . It's not necessarily a decision to go vegetarian, just a commitment to eat less meat. Simple.
She’s watched the monkeys and how they raise their young and suggests we adopt similar habits. (okay that really got me interested!) The young are attached to their mothers and 2-3 other adults for five years. Children need their parents and stability. There is nothing wrong with daycares, she is quick to add, if the staff is consistent and the child can form true attachments. Hmm. Tell parents to ask about turn-over when they interview daycares. Simple.
Raise your children to think about the next generation. THIS is big. We don’t do that. But we need to...
Instead of spending her last days on earth basking in her successes, Jane will spend 300 of 365 days of the year on the road. Teaching and praising. She does a lot of that. Talks about the generation in front of her—the ones that will save us. Commends them on what they have done and will do in the future.
Why is she so hopeful? I'll summarize. She believes we have been given brains to make wise decisions, that the human spirit is indomitable, that nature is resilient and our youth are determined. Good points.
Her words on the screen said it all “Every individual matters. Every individual has a role to play. Every individual makes a difference.”
Read more on about Jane Goodall here.