Dr. Jane Goodall Celebrates her 90th: Her Hopes and Dreams for the Future


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Humanitarian/conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall celebrated her 90th birthday April 3. Here, on the Today Show, this great woman describes why she feels that she can’t show down.

I spoke to Dr. Goodall in depth in 2019; she she visited Chicago to raise money for her Jane Goodall Institute. She remembered me as I was the first to write about her program for children, called Roots and Shoots with a story in the Chicago Tribune. She says among the achievements she is most proud, is that program now established in over 100 nations.

Dr. Goodall and I chat about the Fear Free initiative, and how that ties in with what she learned from her childhood dog. She says, we’re not the only beings with feelings, and animal emotions do matter. At one time she was told animal emotions don’t even exist.

Back around five years ago Dr. Goodall was being considered for a Nobel Peace Prize and for reasons inexplicable to me, she has yet to get this prize. Certainly, no one in my lifetime has communicated a message of peace to so many, as even today she criss-crosses the world.

It all began, she says, when she had a dream at the age of 10 years old of going to Africa – but not necessarily as a scientist. She was the first of “Lois Leakey’s Angels” as they were dubbed (from the popular TV show of the day, Charlie’s Angels), including Dian Fossey who studied the Mountain Gorilla and Birute Gadikas, who researched the Borneo Orangutan, as well as Jane Goodall.

Dr. Goodall explains why Leakey, the famed anthropologist, sought out “the Angels” rather than men – which seeking women was unheard of at the time.

She also tells the story about how one Chicago conference transformed her from a PhD researcher of our closest living relatives to an activist.