Thinking Citizen Blog — Jane Goodall (1934- ). Primatologist, Anthropologist. Author

Thinking Citizen Blog — Wednesday is Climate Change, the Environment, and Sustainability Day

Today’s Topic: Jane Goodall (1934- ). Primatologist, Anthropologist. Author

This is the second in a series on inspiring thinkers on the topic of the future of the planet. The first was on Frances Lappe (12/1/21). Today, selected quotes from a woman who has been called the greatest living naturalist and who most famously spent decades living with chimpanzees in Tanzania. Experts — please chime in. Correct. elaborate, elucidate.


1. “We have the choice to use the gift of our life to make the world a better place — or not to bother”

2. “Change happens by listening and then starting a dialogue with the people who are doing something you don’t believe is right.”

3. “The least I can do is speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves.”


1. “Only if we understand, can we care. Only if we care, we will help. Only if we help, we shall be saved.”

2. “Lasting change is a series of compromises. And compromise is alright, as long your values don’t change.

3. “The most important thing is actually to think about what we do.”


1. “In what terms should we think of these beings, nonhuman yet possessing so very many human-like characteristics? How should we treat them? Surely we should treat them with the same consideration and kindness as we show to other humans; and as we recognize human rights, so too should we recognize the rights of the great apes? Yes.”

2. “Michael Pollan likens consumer choices to pulling single threads out of a garment. We pull a thread from the garment when we refuse to purchase eggs or meat from birds who were raised in confinement, whose beaks were clipped so they could never once taste their natural diet of worms and insects. We pull out a thread when we refuse to bring home a hormone-fattened turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. We pull a thread when we refuse to buy meat or dairy products from cows who were never allowed to chew grass, or breathe fresh air, or feel the warm sun on their backs.”

3. “The more threads we pull, the more difficult it is for the industry to stay intact. You demand eggs and meat without hormones, and the industry will have to figure out how it can raise farm animals without them. Let the animals graze outside and it slows production. Eventually the whole thing will have to unravel. If the factory farm does indeed unravel — and it must — then there is hope that we can, gradually, reverse the environmental damage it has caused. Once the animal feed operations have gone and livestock are once again able to graze, there will be a massive reduction in the agricultural chemicals currently used to grow grain for animals. And eventually, the horrendous contamination caused by animal waste can be cleaned up. None of this will be easy. The hardest part of returning to a truly healthy environment may be changing the current totally unsustainable heavy-meat eating culture of increasing numbers of people around the world. But we must try. We must make a start, one by one.”

NB: “We have so far to go to realize our human potential for compassion, altruism, and love.”


1. “Farm animals are far more aware and intelligent than we ever imagined and, despite having been bred as domestic slaves, they are individual beings in their own right”

2. “As such, they deserve our respect. And our help. Who will plead for them if we are silent?”

3. “Thousands of people who say they ‘love’ animals sit down once or twice a day to enjoy the flesh of creatures who have been treated so with little respect and kindness just to make more meat.”

NB: “Cultural speciation had been crippling to human moral and spiritual growth. It had hindered freedom of thought, limited our thinking, imprisoned us in the cultures into which we had been born. . . . These cultural mind prisons. . . . Cultural speciation was clearly a barrier to world peace. So long as we continued to attach more importance to our own narrow group membership than to the ‘global village’ we would propagate prejudice and ignorance.”

FOOTNOTES — A few biographical tidbits — her PhD, her two husbands

1. She received a PhD in ethology from Cambridge University without ever getting an undergraduate degree. An extremely rare event.

2. Her first husband, Hugo Van Lawick was a Dutch film maker and National Geographic photographer who helped bring her work with chimpanzees to a wider audience. He was also a Baron which gave Jane Goodall the name of Baroness Jane van Lawick-Goodall. They were married from 1964 to 1974. They had one son.

3. Her second husband, David Bryceson, was a member of the Tanzanian parliament, and director of Tanzania’s national parks. He died of cancer in 1980, just five years after their marriage. No children. “Owing to his position in the Tanzanian government as head of the country’s national park system, Bryceson could protect Goodall’s research project and implement an embargo on tourism at Gombe.” (For the location of Gombe National Park see map above.)

NB: Jane Goodall on her marriages: “If I hadn’t married him, there wouldn’t be a Gombe today, If Hugo hadn’t come along, the chimp story [probably] would have ended. Unfortunately, they were both extremely jealous. Both of them. Even jealous of women friends. They were really jealous and possessive… How I could do it twice? I don’t know.”

Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall Quotes (Author of In the Shadow of Man)

Hugo van Lawick

Dr. Jane Goodall Opens Up About Her 2 Marriages: ‘How I Could Do It Twice? I Don’t Know’


PDF with headlines — Google Drive

ATTACHMENT BELOW — “39 Songs, Prayers, and Poems: Keys to the Hearts of Seven Billion People” — handout from Zoom presentation made to Adams House Senior Common Room in November 2020.


Please share the coolest thing you learned in the last week related to climate change or the environment. Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to climate change that the rest of us may have missed. Your favorite chart or table perhaps…

This is your chance to make some one’s day. Or to cement in your own mind something that you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than otherwise about something dear to your heart.



Passionate about education, thinking citizenship, art, and passing bits on of wisdom of a long lifetime.

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John Muresianu

Passionate about education, thinking citizenship, art, and passing bits on of wisdom of a long lifetime.