DESMOND: Hello: I'm Desmond Berghofer from the Visioneers Network welcoming you to Episode 3 on our journey of Extraordinary Wisdom, and I'll ask my partner, Dr. Geraldine Schwartz, to introduce our third wisdom keeper. Here's Gerri.
GERRI: Hello Everyone, and hello around the world in all the time zones that are watching us today. I am so proud and privileged to introduce a Visioneers Heroine of Humanity as the third global thought leader that we meet on our journey of Extraordinary Wisdom. Her name is so well known around the world that she doesn't really need a formal introduction from me, but i want to highlight the qualities that make her contribution to the Visioneers Project so seminal and so important.
Dr. Jane Goodall is the embodiment of the indomitable human spirit that she speaks about so eloquently in her speeches to audiences around the world. This same spirit is at the heart of the book and audio theater underlying this journey of ten wisdom episodes, The Visioneers:A Courage Story about Belief in the Future. In the early pages of the book and in the first episodes, two of the mentors appear suddenly in front of the Visioneers as they assemble for the first time in the Visioneering Room. They include President John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Prime Minister Winston Churchill, both in moments of their prime, set in the scene with the following conversation. They are talking about the spirit of visioneering, and Kennedy reminds Churchill of the latter's famous words delivered in his speech to the House of Commons in the darkest and most dangerous time for Britain in World War II: We will fight them on the beaches, we will fight them on the landing grounds, we shall fight them in the fields and on the streets, we shall fight in the hills, we will never surrender.
These are the fighting words of a strong male warrior, but suddenly also on the scene another person appears, Anne, a young female mentor who represents youth. She adds a softer voice: I think people must think more like a mother nurturing her children than like Alexander conquering the world.
These words represent the message of the Visioneers Project, and they underline the meaning of Jane Goodall 's extraordinary journey in contributing over a lifetime to move the moral compass from conflict to compassion, to kindness, and to collaboration, by activating the human spirit, especially in young people, as you will hear in her speech in her speaking with David Lorimer in response to the urgent global crisis we face in our time.
In her lifetime of activism she has been witness to some of the grimmest reality we have also experienced, and she doesn't back away from acknowledging the darkness of the times, but it is her response that makes her such a champion. Instead of despair in the face of the impossible, Jane chooses hope, hope to see the light and to persist with courage. She does not just call for change, she steps into the fray with compassion and most important, she makes things happen.
Now, she began her career as a young woman, unafraid to be deep in the African forest to observe chimpanzees in the wild. She gave them names, sorting them out as individuals. One day she made a discovery that forever changed human understanding of the animal kingdom. The grant was running out. She was sitting quietly and watching, and all of a sudden she saw something extraordinary. She watched a chimpanzee create a tool by going to a tree breaking off a bark, stripping off the leaves, and using the twig to dig termites out of a mound and eat them. With the report of this discovery, Jane came to the world 's attention and the National Geographic Society supported and filmed her work.
And the rest is history.
Her list of achievements, awards, lectures and books, and founding activities of good work all the following years, now fill many pages on digital sites devoted to her work. But I'd like to highlight some of her most outstanding personal achievements to receive special mention.
From a young woman who had no postsecondary education, she earned a PhD in Ethology, the science of animal behavior, in 1966 from Cambridge University, no small achievement for a woman in those days. She has taught and lectured widely at universities all over the world. She was named as the United Nations Messenger of Peace in 2002, and she received the great honour to add Dame of the British Empire to the front of her name, granted at Buckingham Palace in 2004. Her activism is focused on young people's education and projects. She created the Roots and Shoots program in Tanzania in 1991, which now has chapters in sixty-five countries The alumni from three decades of operation now constitute a mature and powerful army ready to save the planet, the people, and its creatures and living systems. Most importantly, she believes in the power of hope, and she proclaims this wherever she goes, and she travels the world lecturing sometimes for three hundred days out of the year, even as she is almost ninety years of age.
Jane is a person who lives and acts on her beliefs. Dame of the British Empire, Dr. Jane Goodall is considered to have made one of the most important scientific discoveries on the intelligence of animals, and has been named to the top echelon of the Watkins 2023 list of the hundred most influential spiritual leaders alive on the planet today. Her life, beliefs and activism are the epitome, model and example of the Visioneers Project. You will be justly proud of our humanity in all its heartfelt diversity as you engage your mind in the meaning of Jane 's work as you listen to the following conversation between Jane and David Lorimer.
To fit all of this in context and place Jane’s contribution in the larger picture, here again is Dr. Desmond Berghofer Here's Des.
DESMOND: Hello again.
In the first two episodes of our series, Willis Harman and Ervin Laszlo presented us with the possibility of a future world in which millions of people across the globe have changed their minds about the way they are living on the planet, and are restructuring the current economic and social systems that are based on massive consumption of the Earth 's resources. A critical number of people will have embraced planetary consciousness in which they see themselves as part of one human family without divisions based on borders, racial and ethnic differences. They will not see themselves as separate from each other or nature, but as part of a single system of relationships in which everything and everyone is uplifted by everyone else. This human system is upshifting to an even higher system of connections and relationships in which no one is left behind. People see themselves as an integral part of nature, and they design their societies to operate in harmony with the natural world.
It's a grand vision, and Ervin continues to work in every way he can to develop it. But the question remains of how does humanity as a whole get there from where we are today?
Ervin told us we are at a bifurcation point where different paths into the future are opening up in front of us. We cannot stay as we are, but must choose a path forward, either into the kind of world just described, or into a world that becomes increasingly unsustainable as ecosystems breakdown and conflict rages unabated across the globe.
We are at a moment of choice, but it's not just a case of saying we want something different. We must know how to do it, and our third wisdom keeper shows us the way to do that.
Dr. Jane Goodall from her early years as a young English woman was determined to make a contribution to the study of wildlife. Africa was her chosen continent for her life 's work, and Gerri has told you about her achievements in the study of chimpanzees in the wild in Gombe National Park in Tanzania, but thirty years later in the 1980s, after she had been recognised as a world class ethologist, she flew over Gombe National Park and the surrounding area in a small plane and her true life's work began. She was shocked to see that what had been a continuous forest when she first went to that part of the world, that it had been reduced to a stretch of bare treeless hills with the small oasis of forest of Gombe National Park standing out. With large population growth, the local people were destroying their land and their livelihood, and they were resentful of the now isolated and therefore endangered chimpanzees in a protected area.
It was then that Jane had a powerful insight. She realised that unless she could help the people find ways of making a living without destroying their environment, she could not hope to protect the chimpanzees, their forests, or anything else.
And so began the second half of her life 's work, which has become the inspiration for action on making a sustainable future for all humanity possible. In her conversation with David Lorimer in the following video, you will hear the now almost ninety year old Jane Goodall refer to a project she created through her Jane Goodall Institute called Tacare, that's spelled T A C A R E, which originally stood for the Lake Tanganyika Catchment Reforestation and Education project, but which now simply means “take care”. It takes care of people, the environment, and animals. This project is the embodiment of Jane's philosophy that local people must make local choices about how to live sustainably.
Through this approach the Jane Goodall Institute has been successful in encouraging villages throughout many countries in sub-Saharan Africa to adopt new and improved agriculture and market practices while simultaneously protecting the environment. And what has worked so well in Africa might well prove to be the model for the rest of the world, as people struggle to change their minds and behaviours about how they are living on Earth. In her introduction to the book Local Voices Local Choices, Jane says as much about Tacare. It is, she says, I believe, the very embodiment of hope for the future of our planet.
And hope, as Gerri pointed out, is another strong part of Jane Goodall 's vision. You will hear her talk about it in her conversation with David. When young people came to her in Dar es Salaam in 1991, expressing grave despair about the future they were inheriting, she gave them hope by forming her youth organization, which she called Roots and Shoots, and which has now spread to many thousands of chapters in sixty-five countries, where young people are engaged in what I would call visioneering projects to improve the world. It's a wonderful and powerful model to give hope for the future.
In her latest book written with Douglas Abrams called The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times, Jane gives four reasons for hope for the future.
One, the power of the human intellect to achieve great things.
Two, the resilience of nature to recover and flourish from adversity and destruction.
Three, the energy and enthusiasm of youth, once inspired, to carry out projects of good work.
And four, the indomitable human spirit to succeed and overcome when faced with the direst of challenges and assaults.
So, this is Jane's book of hope, which she has given us in our hour of need to triumph in the face of overwhelming odds.
In his presentation, Ervin Laszlo reminded us of the wisdom from the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament: Without vision the people perish. All the work of the Visioneers Network is dedicated to describing and delineating that vision of the future that will see humanity thriving for millennia to come on a vibrant and beautiful planet.
After you have watched Episode 3 of the wisdom journey with Jane and David, put on Episodes 5 and 6 of the Visioneers Audio Theatre, also released today, where the Visioneers struggle through despair to find hope as they turn their minds to making room for a miracle.
So let it be with us in the real story we are now living, with thanks to Dr. Jane Goodall DBE for the hope and for guidance for on-the-ground action. She is indeed a great Heroine of Humanity.
DAVID: What you're talking about, I think, represents a different mindset, and so there's the industrial mindset, which is behind this exploitation that we're talking about, and so it's a wholesale systems change that we're talking about here, and this obviously is very challenge and we're both working in our own different ways on different scales, and tell us a bit about your Tacare project, because that's what's part of the solution, I think.
JANE: Yes, well, Tacare is a program which began in Tanzania, and it was when I was actually travelling to different African countries to find out the problems faced by chimpanzees. This was then in the mid 1980s, and there was this alarming news that forests were disappearing and chimp numbers were dropping, and so I wanted to learn more about the problems, but at the same time as learning the problems faced by the chimpanzees I was seeing the plight of so many African people living in and around chimp territory, that's forest, and it came to a head when I flew over the tiny Gombe National Park, which in 1960 and even in 1970 was part of the great equatorial forest belt stretching to the west coast. And when I flew over in the late 1980s I was shocked to see Gombe was the little island of forest surrounded by bare hills, and I realised that there were more people living there than the land could feed, that they were too poor to buy food from elsewhere, but they were cutting down their trees in their desperation to get more land to feed their growing families, or to make money from charcoal or timber.
And so that's when it hit me, if we don't help these people find ways of making a living without destroying their environment, we can't save chimps, forests or anything else.
So, Tacare began its community-led method of conservation, and we started small, just by sending a team of select Tanzanians, not arrogant white people, but Tanzanians who went into the twelve villages around Gombe and listened to what they felt we could do to help them grow more food, meant restoring fertility to the overused farmland, without chemicals by the way, and better health, better education. We worked with the local authorities to improve or actually create clinics and better schools, and then we were able to introduce management programs scholarships to give girls a chance of secondary education, because it's been shown all around the world as education for women improves family size tends to drop.
So we provide family planning information, eagerly received by the way, and then finally we provide micro-finance opportunities so that people can start their own environmentally sustainable businesses, and I love this idea of loaning rather than just giving, because if you just give, then the money runs out and the hand comes out to let me have some more, but if it's a loan and people repay, which we find on around ninety percent of the people, if they repay these small loans, they're proud. This is something I have done, and if they've done it really well and they want a bigger loan, then they get it.
DAVID: Wonderful, of course, that's the Muhammad Yunus principle of micro-credit, which as you say, works extremely well, and it seems to me, Jane, that, you know, what you've described in this project is a kind of microcosm, which if applied worldwide would go a long way towards creating the kind of future we all want.
JANE: I couldn't agree with you more, and we've just produced a book called Local Voices Local Choices, which explains the whole of the Tacare program and the whole view of the whole idea of this book is so that we can scale this out because it works so well. So what's happened is that the people now realise that saving the environment isn't just for wildlife, it's for their own future, and they have become our partners in conservation.
And, by the way, what you said about Muhammad Yunus, he's one of my heroes, and he took this approach in Bangladesh, that's why we introduced his program into Tacare.
DAVID: Have personal contact, that's marvellous, and you have another new book I'm looking forward to looking at. This one is called The Book of Hope. Tell us about that and its message.
JANE: Well, I've felt that hope is tremendously important for a very long time, because if people lose hope they become apathetic, and they do nothing, and if we all become apathetic and do nothing, we're doomed. I mean really the situation is pretty grim right now, it's made worse by this terrible war in Ukraine, and that of course hadn't started when I wrote the book of hope. But the media is full of doom and gloom, and we do have to know, we do need to know how bad the situation is, although some people still bury their heads in the sand. But if the media would give more time to the amazing projects and the wonderful people that I've been fortunate enough to see and meet around the world, that would inspire them, and they will feel, Gosh they did that, we could do that. Let's give it a go.
DAVID: And that would then reverberate, as you say, and I think of a more general point, Jane, is the need for people at large, especially those in in cities, to find ways of connecting with nature.
JANE: Yes, a big big problem today is young people growing up, particularly young people, who are totally dissociated with nature, and science has proved that especially young children need the greenness and peace and birdsong of nature for good psychological development. People are beginning to realise the importance, even if it's just a few trees, and you can lie under them and look up through the branches to the sky. It gives you some peace. And the tragedy is children in inner cities, children living in poverty, they don't have this opportunity.
You know in Japan, where it began, and now Canada, forest bathing has become very popular. I thought, what's this, you put on a bathing costume to go into the forest? Of course, it doesn't mean that. And doctors can actually prescribe time in nature to their patients in Canada, and it's reducing the cost of healthcare, because it's beneficial both to our mental and physical health to spend time in nature.
DAVID: Yes, as we all know. I spent a lot of my childhood climbing trees and being in trees and swaying with the branches. And I think you've had some very powerful experiences yourself of the spiritual power of nature. Would you like to share one of those with us?
JANE: Well, it's when I'm particularly out in the forest, for other people it might be the seashore or the mountains, but for me, it's the forest. There's something about it, and when I'm out in the forest alone, when i say alone, it can be with chimpanzees, but without human company, then I find that I'm almost at one with nature, and feel this great spiritual power. If it's just another human being with me, even though I'm very fond of that person, we're two people in the forest. When I'm alone, the me disappears, and I'm just a part of the forest, and it's a wonderful feeling, really really is.
DAVID: And this same power, I think, you write, is in everyone, and in the whole of nature, and it's recognising that fundamental interconnectedness of life that I think is the key message for our time.
JANE: Yes, yes, that's right.
DAVID: And I believe, this is something that struck me from a personal point of view, that you had a powerful experience in Notre Dame Cathedral, which I have also had in a different context, of course. That's a beauty striking you in a building. And how do you compare that experience with being in nature?
JANE: Very different, because I went into Notre Dame early in the morning. I was going through a pretty bad time in my life, and I'd always wanted, I think, since reading Victor Hugo's Hunchback of Notre Dame, I'd been fascinated. And as I went in, it was sort of a whole strange set of circumstances. The sun just was shining through that great rose window. I’m so glad that wasn't destroyed in the fire. And then suddenly, there was apparently a wedding going on in some far part of the of the cathedral, Inever saw it, but suddenly, the organ just came out into this space with Bach's Toccata and Fugue in G minor, and it was in that moment that i realized life must have a meaning. Because it couldn't be mere chance that brought me to that spot when these two things happened. It was the accumulation of all the years and years of people meeting, people having children, the people who built the cathedral at a time when seriously there wasn't enough architectural knowledge and equipment to build it, but they did, like the Egyptians built the pyramids. And the brain of Bach, again the result of all those meetings and minglings which composed that music. And there was I, and so it made me think, Well, my life, too, must have meaning. So, it was a, I hadn't formulated anything then, but it was a real sense of mission, I suppose.
DAVID: Absolutely pivotal, Jane. My own experience was actually a different D minor, which is the Dorian Toccata and Fugue, which I heard in Notre Dame played by the organist of Montreal Cathedral. It was absolutely transporting. And that's where Albert Schweitzer used to have his organ lessons with Widor when he was a young man on that same organ.
So, let's move on to the whole question of spiritual activism and how activism, I think you would agree, has to be informed by love and activism of the heart.
JANE: Yes, I mean, you know, I'm always meeting with CEO's of companies that are not treating the environment very well, or politicians, people like that, and I'm absolutely convinced that in order for you to try and effect change, it's not the slightest use being aggressive, pointing fingers at them, you know, ticking them off. But you've got to reach the heart, not the head, because while you're arguing with the head, that person 's mind is working out how can I refute her, how dare she say these things to me, so they're not really listening.
So, you've got nowhere. But my mother taught me, my wise, wise mother, when you meet somebody like that, first listen to them. Maybe you get a feeling as to why they think the way they do, and then when you got this little feeling, try and pull out a story that will reach their heart. And I find that sometimes, you find out much, much later, that that story did reach their heart, and did make a difference, but at the time they may not be prepared to give in. So it's something, but that's the only way I can work.
DAVID: And tell us a little something about your Roots and Shoots program for young people, because this, I think, is a tremendous educational initiative.
JANE: Yes, but let me go back and I will answer your question. OK?
JANE: One of the hardest things I've ever had to do in my life is go into the medical research laboratories and see our closest relatives, the chimpanzees, highly intelligent, highly social, highly emotional, like us in so many ways in five foot by five foot cages alone, seeing people in white coats, usually doing painful things to them. And it, it was just terrible, and when I came out of that lab, all the people of the American National Institute of Health in that section we're sitting around a table. I didn't know they were going to be there, and then I found they were all looking at me, and I was still trying to fight back the tears.
And when I realized they were expecting me to say something, I said, Well I imagine you're all caring and compassionate people and feel rather as Ido about what's going on in there. Well, they couldn't admit they weren't caring and compassionate, so again to reach the heart, I began telling them stories about chimps in the wild, and I had some photographs with me, and I could see that it was making a difference, and it did make a difference, and conditions began to change.
DAVID: Yes, that's very inspiring and obviously completely focused. Your Roots and Shoots program, just tell us briefly about that and its impact and how many people have been taking part.
JANE: OK, well Roots and Shoots began in 1991. By that time, I had been going around the world talking about the plight of chimps, forests, all the other learning about what we're doing to the planet, and I was meeting so many young people, even back then, who were losing hope and they were angry depressed or mostly just apathetic, not seeming to care, and when I talk to them, and I'm talking about children on most continents, why do you feel this way?
Well, you've compromised our future and there's nothing we can do about it.
Not only have we compromised their future, we've been stealing it since the industrial revolution, maybe even from the agricultural revolution. But was there nothing that could be done? Was there not a window of time, which, I believe?
So, twelve students came to talk to me in Dar es Salaam, high school students, and they were concerned about things going on in the environment. So, I said, Well, OK, go and find your friends from your eight schools who feel as you do. We had a meeting, about thirty, and from that meeting Roots and Shoots was born,
And having heard all that they were concerned about, which was illegal dynamiting, or fishing, which was destroying the coral reef, bad treatment of stray dogs, but why weren't people doing more for the street children without homes, on and on like that.
So, we decided the main message of our program would be, Every individual makes some impact on the planet every day, and most of us can choose what sort of
impact we make. And secondly, that because of this interconnectedness of life on the planet that meant that each group would choose three projects. They would choose one to help people, one to help animals, one to help the environment.
And so, what began with twelve high school students is now in sixty-five countries. It involves young people in kindergarten, of course, they need some help with their projects, but even at that age they know what they want, because animals or people or the environment. And university, very strong in university, everything in between, more and more adults forming groups, and it's literally changing the world.
Because we began in 1991, many of those young people are now in decision-making positions. I call them the alumni. And they take the values they learned in Roots and Shoots with them, and I would say, the main values is respect, respect for each other, the environment and animals, but also what's right and what's wrong, a sense of ethics.
And to give just one example, the previous President of Tanzania was building a dam in a world heritage site, which would destroy the environment for miles around, and he announced on public television and public radio anyone who opposes this dam will face the consequences. The Minister of the Environment had been through Roots and Shoots, when he was young, and he stood up to the President, who was known to disappear people who stood up to him. Oh, he lost his job, luckily not his life, but that's, you know, we have other examples of that, too.
DAVID: Well, making a stand or, taking a stand, and acting as you said, is just so important. And on the basis, you mentioned respect, and my final question is, What other values do you think are fundamental in creating the kind of world that we'd like to see for our children and grandchildren?
JANE Well, yes respect is one, compassion, understanding, determination, not to give in, Those are probably the main ones. You add some.
DAVID: Well, love and wisdom, I would add.
JANE: Yes, yes.
DAVID: And because compassion is, as it were, a sub-category of love in my view. So, Jane, thank you so much for sharing this time with Visioneers, and I'm sure people will be very interested and inspired by what you've had to say in your message and in our interview.
JANE: Well, thank you for inviting me. Once again, what an honour to get this award. Once again, I wish I was with you, but I think I might greet the audience with the distance greeting of the chimpanzee just to end this off, which is, Ohh, ohh, ohh! Me, Jane, thank you.
GERRI: Thank you, Jane, and thank you, David for your beautiful and enlightening and inspirational conversation.
And now to anchor the thoughts that you have just heard, listen to the beautiful original music and words by Tatiana Speed as she gives you the message that you have just heard in song.
SONG: Today we come together with a new vision for humanity
to co-create a united Earth family.
And with this vision and our shared intuition,
we have the potential to bring peace on earth to fruition.
We imagine a world where we take care of all of life,
and, with this intention we become beacons of light.
So let's join together in manifestation,
to bring about societal transformation.
From the heart of humanity
we come together in unity,
to co-create a united Earth family.
From the heart of humanity
we come together in unity,
to co-create a united Earth family.
We come together to unite.
We come together rto ignite
unity between all forms of life.
I see the one in all and the all in one,
our hearts beat to the same drum.
We come together for the fate of the Earth,
Every single one of us is needed to rebirth
a new community,
a new earth family, a new reality and unity
for all humanity. If we educate,
we can innovate,
create a blank slate
for the world to co-create a new fate
of societal change and renewal.
Indigenous knowledge is the key, is a tool.
From the heart of humanity
we come together in unity,
to co-create Earth’s family.
From the heart of humanity
we come together in unity
to co-create family.
Let's come together as family.
Let's come together as family.