Our editors sit down for an interview with renowned English primatologist and anthropologist Jane Goodall.
1. In your book, you write about the “wisdom” of trees. What lessons have you learned from the wise trees in your life?
The two lessons I have learned from the trees in my life are patience and endurance.
2. You share some amazing facts about healing plants. Do you use plant medicines in your own life? If so, how?
I hardly ever use medicines. Apart from malaria (which, touch wood, I have not now had for at least 10 years), I don’t get sick. I have got the odd cough and cold very few times, and usually I let them run their course. I do use arnica in one form or another.
3. How do you stay connected with nature in your day-to-day life?
I always try to see a tree through my hotel window or any room that I am in, even if it means moving furniture or sitting on the floor. Also, there are always little snippets of nature to watch—starlings playing in the wind, sparrows seizing crumbs in airports around the world, or the perfect miniature flowers that you can find if you look in the grass. Even in the inner city, little plants push up bravely through the cracks in paving stones or walls.
4. Do you believe that people are more or less committed today to protecting nature?
I only wish more people were. Certainly more, but at the same time, the destruction of nature intensifies everywhere all the time. One battle won, two lost.
5. What gives you hope for the future?
Our Roots & Shoots program for young people—preschool through university and some adult groups—is now in 134 countries with more than 150,000 active groups. All groups choose three projects to help people, animals, and the environment, with a theme of learning to live in peace and harmony with each other and with the natural world.
Renowned primate researcher Jane Goodall is the founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and a UN Messenger of Peace. Her latest book is Seeds of Hope