Yes, I went with Jackie and Carla to hear what Jane Goodall has to say. Gabi, our two-year old daughter, was left in the day care center because they’re not allowing kids younger than four inside the venue (although it would have been awesome to catch a snapshot of Gabi with Jane Goodall).
We entered the university auditorium and rushed to open the doors of the hall. And there she was: seated at the speaker’s section wearing a grayish blue outfit quite similar to that of a Viet Minh fighter. Her appearance was austere but her bearing was regal. She stood up after she was beckoned to the podium and the audience fell into a momentary silence, not the kind of silence that you hear after a lion roars but of another kind, a pause like when one sees a flight of migratory birds heading to the west. Then, a torrent of applause came from the audience embracing this 75-year old conservationist as she stood in front of the microphone.
Jane began her talk with a rhythmic chimpanzee call, a fitting reminder that the woman before us is a consummate primatologist with 51 years of experience working with chimps. And she allowed her voice to glide as she recounted the process of her becoming a conservationist and researcher. She shared her concerns about climate change and the overall fate of the planet in general. But hers was not a message of doom but a stern jolt of reality that the world as we know it is in danger. Jane Goodall however is optimistic of our human potential, of our collective capacity to be agents of change, that we will eventually redefine our relationship with our ecosystem. In this view, she shared vital experience on how human communities, animals, and the environment need not be in conflict with each other. She pointed out how the modern world has failed to notice the wisdom imbibed in the sustainable practices of indigenous peoples around the world. Reading between the lines of what Jane Goodall was saying, I would also suppose that while she’s critical of the misuse of science, she embraces human rationality as the major, if not ultimate, component in addressing environmental problems: thus her repeated plea to “bring our brains together.”
Lest this blog be too winded, am posting Jane Goodall’s video here. Listen, reflect, and act.
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