The Optimism of Jane Goodall

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Jane Goodall speaks with Bill Moyers about the work she has done, not just with chimpanzees, but with creating a better world for our children and grandchildren to live in. Because of her lifelong devotion to science and awe and conservation she has remarkable insight into the human condition. “I reach the conclusion that we have brought aggressive tendencies with us through our long human evolutionary path,” she says. “And equally, we have inherited tendencies of love, compassion, and altruism, because they’re there in the chimp also … It’s like each one of us has this dark side and a more noble side. And I guess it’s up to each one of us to push one down and develop the other.”

She is still optimistic about our future, and one of her main projects today is working with youth of all ages in 120 countries. “It’s basically choosing three kinds of projects to make the world better. One, for your own human community. Two, for animals, including domestic ones. And three, for the environment. There is a theme of learning to live in peace and harmony among ourselves, between cultures and religions and nations and between us and the natural world.”


Jessie Wood is a writer, reader, and journalist based out of the San Francisco Bay Area. She graduated from Westminster College with a degree in Creative Writing in 2010. She writes for SLUG Magazine, a free local Salt Lake City magazine, about the many faces of electronic music. More from this author →