As part of our Worldette Heroine series, we feature women who have made a difference in the world. Jane Goodall is a well-known activist who is passionate about chimpanzees and animals. Lorena Mayr tells us why this remarkable woman is a Worldette Heroine.
I remember watching a movie long ago when I was young and admiring the life portrayed. That life was Jane Goodall’s. It had inspired me so much that I had decided I wanted to be a biologist and go into the jungles and observe animals too.
I had dreams of going all over the world, as a photographer and zoologist because I had been so touched and moved by her story. And this is part of her story:
Jane Goodall is known internationally as a woman with a passion and fascination for chimpanzees. She is passionate about them and about Africa, and it all started in 1957, when she had the opportunity to visit a friend’s farm in the highlands of Kenya.
Read more about her early days and how she came to love animals: Jane’s Story
Her work as advocate and writer
Goodall is the only known human ever to have been accepted into a chimp society, where she was able to live amongst them for 22 months until the newest Alpha male decided she was not welcome anymore.
Today she dedicates most of her time (when not traveling to and from all these events and campaigns) to advocacy on behalf of the environment and of course, mostly for her very beloved chimpanzees.
Jane Goodall has been blazing new trails in the scientific community for many years.
Instead of numbering the chimpanzees, she gave them names (which back then, in the 1960s, was unheard of), and observed them and could distinguish each chimp by their very individual personality and by some of their external physical characteristics too.
She was the first to observe them as using tools, when she saw two of them using sticks to try to get down deep into a hole to extract some termites for their meal.
She also observed that chimpanzees are not just vegetarians, and at times can demonstrate quite aggressive and violent behavior, to the point of cannibalism.
Organizations Jane Goodall started
Goodall started the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) in 1977, an organization well-known for its efforts in conservation and programs in Africa. There are now 19 offices around the world. Read more about the history, the mission of the Institute and their core values: About JGI
Another important organization she started with a youth group of 16 local teenagers in Tanzania is the Roots and Shoots global youth program in 1991.
Roots and Shoots now has more than 100 countries involved with thousands of young people enthused and working towards environmental stewardship, peace and civic responsibility.
To read more about this exciting program go to: Roots and Shoots
Why Jane Goodall is a Worldette Heroine
Jane Goodall has received many awards, starting way back in 1980 up until 2012. But to me, her way of life and her activism, her love for the chimpanzees she observed, her interest and joy working with young people and her enthusiasm everywhere she goes is more of a statement of her life than any awards she receives.
She is one of a kind, and probably the chimps recognized that in her before any humans did. Her life influenced a little girl’s life, long ago, in a huge city…
Read about other Worldette heroines here: Worldette Heroines
Have you ever met Jane Goodall? Or maybe gone to hear her as a speaker? Are you also an animal lover and activist? Tell us about your experiences!