As Dr. Goodall travels nearly 300 days a year all around the globe spreading her message of hope and the importance of individual action, she rarely has time for pause. This past week she had a moment to do so at her home in Bournemouth, England, where she shared this message with the staff of the Jane Goodall Institute. We hope you are inspired by her words as much as we are!
Merry Christmas/Hanukah & Happy New Year!
I am sharing two pictures this year. The first, the drawing by Fernando Turmo, photographer, illustrator and filmmaker of our Tchimpounga Sanctuary, of a chimpanzee Christmas for we must remember the animals as we get together with family and friends.
For many it will be a difficult Christmas this year. So much suffering because of the terrible fires that have destroyed so much for so many. The stories from Australia are particularly horrifying – but fires have ravaged California and other parts of America, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Brazil and other Latin American and African countries – there have even been fires in the Arctic Circle.
People around the world are suffering in other ways. There are almost 70 million refugees fleeing violence and climate change. Far too many living with very sick family members. And those in crippling poverty.
All the rest of us should surely think of them as we enjoy time with your families, and give thanks
Nevertheless, Christmas is a time to temporarily shelve the worries and tragedies to be with our loved ones. We all need to have fun and relax to get strong for the year ahead. And make no mistake, 2020 will be a tough year as we are going through dark times, socially, politically and environmentally.
But there is much good news too.
In 2020, the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) will be celebrating 60 years of unbroken research and conservation of the Gombe chimpanzee communities. We shall be announcing exciting plans for this very soon. And our other chimpanzee conservation and research projects in Uganda, DRC, Republic of Congo, Senegal, Burundi and Mali are playing a major role in conserving chimpanzees and their habitats.
There is, in general, much more awareness everywhere about environmental problems, including the climate crisis. A huge push to plant trees and protect and regenerate forests is underway. This is a crucial strategy to mitigate climate change, giving us breathing space as amazing new technologies are developed to help us live in greater harmony with the natural world. And major efforts in many countries are working on reducing the use of plastic – the plastic that is having a terrible effect on wildlife in rivers and the oceans. There are many NGOs as well as governments seeking ways to alleviate poverty – as JGI does through our Tacare method of community-based conservation. And everywhere more people are fighting to alleviate animal suffering, recognizing that they are capable of mental as well as physical suffering, that they are way more intelligent that people used to think. And, of course, our Roots & Shoots youth groups, in more than 50 countries, are playing an important role in making this a better world in all these and many other ways.
So – we have much to celebrate, achievements that give us hope – and without hope people fall into apathy and do nothing.
And so my second picture is symbolic. Yes, the year will bring major challenges. But remember I am always talking about the ‘indomitable human spirit’, those tackling what seems impossible, and succeeding. Each of us has that indomitable spirit – including our animal friends!!!!
HAPPY AND PRODUCTIVE 2020!
WISHING YOU COURAGE AND STRENGTH AS WE FACE THE CHALLENGES AHEAD.
BELIEVE IN YOUR INDOMITABLE SPIRIT THAT CAN TACKLE THE IMPOSSIBLE – AND SUCCEED.
And so, this comes to you with my warmest wishes for a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
The Jane Goodall Institute is a global community conservation organization that advances the vision and work of Dr. Jane Goodall. By protecting chimpanzees and inspiring people to conserve the natural world we all share, we improve the lives of people, animals and the environment. Everything is connected—everyone can make a difference.