Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

British primatologist Jane Goodall visits a chimp rescue center on June 9, 2018 in Entebbe, Uganda. (Photo: Sumy Sadurni/AFP via Getty Images)

British primatologist Jane Goodall visits a chimp rescue center on June 9, 2018 in Entebbe, Uganda. (Photo: Sumy Sadurni/AFP via Getty Images)

Humanity Must Embark on 'New Relationship With the Natural World,' Says Jane Goodall

The acclaimed conservationist, just awarded the Templeton Prize, says that without hope, "we sink into apathy, do nothing—and that will be the end."

Renowned conservationist and primatologist Jane Goodall has stressed the need for humanity to seize the coronavirus pandemic as a turning point to forge "a new relationship with the natural world."

Goodall made the comment in an interview with Agence France-Presse published Friday—a day after she received the Templeton Prize for "her unrelenting effort to connect humanity to a greater purpose" over her 60-year career.

In the interview, 87-year-old Goodall expressed hope the "pandemic has woken people up." Leveling a charge she's made before, Goodall put blame for the outbreak on the world's "disrespect" for nature, citing as one example "very, very cruel intensive factory farms."

As global governments roll out plans for a Covid-19 recovery, she said those who choose to simply go back to "business as usual" must urgently chart a different course.

"We have to have a new mindset for our survival," she said.

Ahead of the award, Goodall also spoke with the Associated Press and addressed the global biodiversity crisis.

"Every time a little species vanishes, it may not seem important," she told AP. "But the thread is pulled from that tapestry and the picture gets weaker as more threads are pulled, until that tapestry, once so beautiful, is hanging in tatters."

Goodall on Thursday was awarded the Templeton Prize, whose previous winners include Desmond Tutu in 2013, the Dalai Lama in 2012, and Mother Teresa in 1973. It includes a monetary prize of over $1.5 million.

Heather Templeton Dill, president of the John Templeton Foundation, said in a statement that Goodall's "achievements go beyond the traditional parameters of scientific research to define our perception of what it means to be human."

"Her discoveries have profoundly altered the world's view of animal intelligence and enriched our understanding of humanity in a way that is both humbling and exalting," said Templeton Dill.

In accepting the prize, Goodall reflected on a career that has included "the best days of my life" at the Gombe research station in Tanzania where she conducted groundbreaking research on chimpanzees, as well as the Roots and Shoots program she founded in 1991, which she said "has changed thousands of lives."

Goodall also stressed the importance of hope, saying that without it, "we sink into apathy, do nothing—and that will be the end."

"I have learned more about the two sides of human nature, and I am convinced that there are more good than bad people. There are so many tackling seemingly impossible tasks and succeeding," she said.

"Only when head and heart work in harmony," said Goodall, "can we attain our true human potential."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
We need your help.

Support progressive journalism.

Common Dreams is not your average news site. We don't survive on clicks or advertising dollars. We rely entirely on your support. And without it, our independent progressive journalism simply wouldn’t exist. Every gift of every amount matters.

Join the fight and support our common dreams today.

Key Senate Democrat Applauded for Manifesto on Reducing Drug Costs

"Sen. Wyden's drug pricing principles are a road map for taking on the greed of pharmaceutical corporations and lowering drug prices for all Americans."

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·

Coalition of 200+ Groups Call for Permanent End to 'Neocolonialist' Global Gag Rule

"The global community deserves true partnership from the U.S., but the threat that this destructive policy could reemerge undermines relationships and harms people around the globe."

Julia Conley, staff writer ·

Social Cost of Emissions: 'One of the Most Important Numbers That No One Has Ever Heard Of'

An analysis for Friends of the Earth finds the social cost of CO2 calculates to at least 15 times the Biden administration's current figure, which is set to be finalized by early next year.

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·

Biden Urged to Pressure EU to End 'Outrageous' Opposition to Vaccine Patent Waiver

"As citizens of the world, we cannot sit and watch a repeat of the horror during the AIDS pandemic, when millions of people died while countries and companies refused to share life-saving antiretrovirals."

Jake Johnson, staff writer ·

'The Zapatistas Have Invaded': Indigenous Activists Sail From Mexico to Spain

"They did not conquer us; we are still here resisting," the group said following their seven-week trans-Atlantic voyage marking the 500th anniversary of the conquest of the Aztec capital Tenochtitlán.

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·