The legendary primatologist Jane Goodall explained how she defied the status quo and sparked global change.
“Women are coming into positions— high positions—but they’re bringing female qualities, and not just the male qualities,” she stated. “I hope they understand that qualities of compassion, and love, and respect are the important ones that’s going to save our planet.”
In 1960, Jane Goodall left her home in England to explore Africa. She met paleontologist Dr. Louis Leakey, who asked her to observe and research chimps in the forests of Gombe. Her role as a field researcher was unique at the time because she didn’t have the traditional credentials. She learned about the chimps’ behavior by immersing herself in their habitat. Her approach was unconventional and unprecedented.
“When I began my career I was in Gombe with the chimps, and there was no call to action needed because the world was very different back then,” she said.
In 1965, Dr. Goodall earned her PhD in ethology and became the eighth person to pursue a PhD at Cambridge University without a bachelor’s degree. Her work went on to redefine our understanding of our environment, wildlife, and species conservation.
“The most important thing it to, you know, think about the problems. Decide with problem or problems you want to tackle, work out how to tackle it, but then roll up your sleeves and take action,” she said, in reference to helping solve problems like climate change. “The call to action today is the same as it’s been since I first realized the harm we were doing. And that said, each one of us has a role to play. And each and every day, we make an impact on the planet.”