Jane Goodall discusses climate change, activism with App State students in special presentation

Jane+Goodall%2C+known+for+her+research+on+primates+over+the+last+60+years%2C+spoke+with+App+State+students+Nov.+18+via+Zoom.+

Courtesy of the Jane Goodall Institute/Bill Wallauer

Jane Goodall, known for her research on primates over the last 60 years, spoke with App State students Nov. 18 via Zoom.

Gianna Holiday, Associate News Editor

Jane Goodall, who has spent the last 60 years researching and advocating for primates, spoke to App State students this week via Zoom.

One of the world’s leading scientists, conservationists, and humanitarians, Goodall offered a virtual presentation through the Schaefer Center titled “Reasons for Hope.”

Goodall, who said during her discussion that she was “born loving animals,” has spent nearly 60 years of work to protect chimpanzees from extinction. 

“I believe if you want to talk about something or do something about something, you have to have first-hand experience,” Goodall said.

She began her work by researching chimpanzees in Eastern Africa and went on to speak about threats facing chimpanzees. According to Goodall, chimpanzees are endangered, protected by law and are found in only 21 African countries due to habitat loss.

Goodall, who called herself a “large animal activist,” spoke out on using chimpanzees in entertainment and medicine.

She said that even though they are like us, chimpanzees are not humans and we should fight against using animals for medical research and other kinds of experiments.

“The main message is, every single day that we live, we make some impact on the planet. We can choose what sort of impact we make and, because everything is interrelated, every group of roots and shoots should have three projects: one to help people, one to help animals, and one to help the environment,” Goodall said.

The Office of Sustainability, Appalachian Popular Programming Society and the Office of Arts and Cultural Programs partnered to bring Goodall up the mountain in September as part of the Schaefer Center Presents season. 

When COVID-19 forced the cancellation of live events, originally scheduled for Sept. 9, Goodall and her institute offered a virtual program as a precursor to her rescheduled in-person event in fall of 2021. 

“Goodall is somebody we thought was important to bring to campus because her message now, she is speaking about hope, climate action and climate change,” said Lee Ball, chief sustainability officer. “She really connects with the younger generation and she recognizes that we don’t have a lot of time to get our act together in regards to global climate mitigation.”

Allison West, director of marketing and public relations for the Schaefer Center, said Goodall’s talk was a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” for students.

“We, of course, jumped at the opportunity, especially when presented with the option of a live webinar in which she would interact with university students who are inspired by Goodall’s work,” said West. 

Goodall delivered the presentation followed by a Q&A period with four pre-selected students. Students included Jessica Navarro of sustainable technology, Claire Funderburk of sustainable development, Stephanie Dotson of anthropology and Morgan Plumley of elementary education. 

“The highlight of the talk for me was what Goodall said about communicating about the climate crisis through storytelling,” Funderburk said. “I loved what Jane said about getting to people’s hearts with stories instead of their brains with facts when it comes to communicating with people about climate change.” 

West said Goodall has made a difference to the world, and she continues to inspire those who will also make change. She said Goodall gives young people knowledge and confidence, and inspires them to be part of something bigger than themselves. 

“Her message of hope through action and responsibility resonates for people of all ages and walks of life,” West said. “We feel extremely fortunate and so excited to welcome her here. She’s the royalty of the science community.”

Attendees of the webinar were encouraged to submit questions and comments to Goodall via the chat.

Goodall found great inspiration for her career through another Jane, from Disney’s “Tarzan.”

 The 86-year-old travels and hosts more than 300 events per year to raise money for the Jane Goodall Institute, which aims to restore habitats of chimpanzees to save them from extinction, improve health and education for women and girls and is invested in “helping young people become the informed generation of conservation leaders.”

“Goodall is somebody we thought was important to bring to campus because her message now, she is speaking about hope, climate action and climate change,” said Lee Ball, chief sustainability officer. “She really connects with the younger generation and she recognizes that we don’t have a lot of time to get our act together in regards to global climate mitigation.”

Those who were unable to attend the live webinar on Wednesday can still view it  Nov. 19 at 8 p.m. as part of the Schaefer Center Presents series.