Jane Goodall Hopecast Podcast Episode 11 – Craig Foster

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Jane Goodall 0:00
JANESPLASH: Octopuses turned out to be unbelievably intelligent. They don’t have a single brain like us, they have a brain in the part of them that’s a head. They also have brains in their arms. They can work out little puzzles to open boxes. In the wild, they can make houses out of empty clam shells or coconut shells, they carry them to a place where there are no rocks and they’re soft bodied, so they need normally to hide in rocks. They’ll put one half of the clamshell on the ground, they’ll ooze into it making, go into tiny spaces, then they reach out, put the other one on top. And then you just see the eyes peeking out and the fish goes by and boom- outcome the arms to grab the fish. There was one octopus that I read about, she lived in an aquarium, and the people couldn’t understand why fish were disappearing because everything was normal in the morning. So they put up a camera. And when everybody gone and it was quiet, this octopus gently pushed away out under the lid of her tank. She went into another tank, she consumed a fish. And then she went back to her tank, which they would do because they have homes. And you know there’s this wonderful new film “My Octopus Teacher”, by Craig Foster, and he’s become one of my best friends and his stories about the octopus in the ocean are so enchanting.

CONSERVATION CHOIR INTRO: Changing mindsets and opening hearts about Mother Earth. Our planet is a gift. I believe in the collective efforts of everyone. I believe that everyone can make a difference. I aspire to change the world, too, because of the hope she gave me. She devoted her life it. Together we can save the world. Together we can, together we will. What is your greatest reason for hope? I’m Jane Goodall. And this is the Hopecast.

INTRO: Today, I get to chat with one of the people who truly inspires me, someone who’s become a real friend, though we’ve never met in person, Craig Foster. I’m sure many of you have seen Craig’s amazing film, “My Octopus Teacher”. It’s a Netflix original, and it has just been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary. Craig is also the co-founder, with Russ Frylinck of the “Sea Change Project”, which is all about saving our oceans. Craig embodies the power of storytelling. His film and his film photography, have opened the eyes of millions of people around the world to the wonders of the kelp forest, and the sentience, beauty and intelligence of the octopus. I hope you enjoy this thoughtful conversation with Craig Foster.

INTERVIEW: Craig, welcome to this Hopecast. And I find it most extraordinary that although I feel I know you so very well, and we did speak once on the telephone, I feel I’ve known you most of my life. So I’m really, really excited to be having this conversation with you. Welcome.

Craig Foster 3:38
Thank you so much, Jane. I also feel I know I’ve known you for years. And obviously we’ve communicated an email so much in such a wonderful way. And you’ve inspired me already so deeply. So it’s, yeah, it’s really exciting to be face to face like this.

Jane Goodall 3:52
It is I wish it was real face to face, but that’ll come.

Craig Foster 3:56
Absolutely.

Jane Goodall 3:57
So you know, Craig, what I think is extraordinary and fascinating is that we’re both passionate about saving forests. But your forest is deep under the sea. And my forest is very definitely on land. And yet, they’re both so important in helping to mitigate climate change. In fact, you always tell me that your kelp forests sequester even more CO2 than my land forests.

Craig Foster 4:26
They do. I think it’s at least 10 times as much. But of course, it’s so different than your trees, you know, last for hundreds of years. But our kelp stipes and the plants, you know, only last for one or two years. We have these huge Atlantic storms that come through the you know, rip a lot of the kelp off the rocky bottom. And then those pieces of kelp get washed in and sometimes it’s a meter or so deep on the beach. And then these tiny little empty pods and isopods, which are like little crustaceans, that live in the intertidal.There are literally millions of them. They like migration in miniature, they come out in enormous numbers, it’s quite incredible to see. And they eat tons and tons of this cat that washes up and then the birds eat them. So it’s a wonderful cycle, where the carbon is stored is some of this kelp that gets ripped off, gets taken out into the deeper ocean. And that’s where it sinks down. And that way that carbon gets stored. And we don’t know quite how much there is. But it could be a significant amount. And then of course, the standing forest holds a tremendous amount of carbon and this forest is growing at one centimeter per day. So you can imagine how fast it is and how different it is to your forest in Tanzania.

Jane Goodall 5:43
Very, very different. So if I remember rightly, Craig, your love of the oceans began when you were just a little boy. Is that right?

Craig Foster 5:55
Yeah, there’s some fun stories around that I think you’d enjoy. I mean, I think I was three days old. And I came from the nursing home. And we had this incredible little wooden bungalow that was actually below the high water mark. That’s how close we were to the ocean. And my, my dad literally took me straight from the hospital, straight into the Atlantic Ocean and put me into that 12 degree water as I came, and I was, I mean, blue in the face, and I couldn’t actually scream. I was so shocked. So that was my first introduction, he was so excited to introduce me to the ocean. And it probably didn’t realize it would be a bit of a shock for a small child of three days old. So we had this incredible little wooden bungalow, and it was so close to the ocean, Jane, that the big waves used to come up and smash the windows. So we actually used to have a special wooden pieces that we took, as soon as a storm came in, there’s animals that are probably about used to eat the kelp, the empty poison, I suppose they somehow know the storm is coming. So they all started rising out of the intertidal, many hours before the storm is shown. And then as soon as we saw those animals, we’d put up these wooden boards on the windows. And then when the waves through the rocks up, they didn’t break the windows. And when we came in the morning, after a big storm, our lawn would be a metre deep in kelp and you couldn’t even, I couldn’t walk around. Even some of the kelp, a little dabble story used to get thrown on top of the roof. So it was like literally living in the ocean in that home, it would be battered by the ocean. And today, they’ve actually had to move that home a meter or two up on a platform because it’s just became too much. For a child, you can imagine growing up so close to that ocean. And I had a little portal in my room that I still look through. And I remember clearly even today, the bigger waves breaking the door down and filling the whole bottom of the house up and I go at night I got out of my bed, and I was standing in a waist deep in water. We loved it. That was a huge adventure. And of course then I my dad was a, I ove diving and I I learned to dive by going on his back and riding on his back through the kelp forest before I could almost walk. So it was a magical childhood. And I was keen to know about your childhood how you, did your childhood connected to nature in a similar way?

Jane Goodall 8:26
Well, I didn’t have anything as exciting as growing up in a rain forest. I wish I had. But no, it was more my push towards animals that took me out watching squirrels and birds and any animals that I could find. Reading books about them. Different childhood from yours, but the same kind of interest, I think in the natural world.

Craig Foster 8:50
Wonderful. I think some people are just born with that incredible love, like you say. I’ve noticed that. I kind of had to learn it. So I didn’t have that advantage I think that you had. But funny enough behind our house was a giant milkweed tree. And I used to spend a lot of time in that tree. And I took a lot of the artifacts that I found in the ocean and used to store them in little holes in that tree.

Jane Goodall 9:13
Oh how sweet, like a squirrel.

Craig Foster 9:17
So I was deeply in love with nature as a whole. But I had to, it took me quite a long time to learn to love and connect with individual animals like you I think had from an early age.

And so that evolved into what you do now. And I first heard of you because of your amazing documentary “My Octopus Teacher”. That film has moved so many people. I was especially fascinated because, you know, I’m really, really interested in what we’re learning now about animal intelligence. It doesn’t really surprise me because I always knew animals were intelligent but the things we’re learning now. And of course, the octopus was one of the creatures that, it seems so strange. They are so different from us, they had a different evolutionary pathway. And yet they’re so intelligent. So you weren’t planning to make a film about your octopus, were you, it just happened?

Yes, I mean, I was, was the last thing I was actually planning to do. I was trying to get away from the sort of intensity of filmmaking and I wanted to just dedicate my life to understanding nature and tracking. But I used my camera as a tool to learn about her. She just did so many extraordinary things that it sort of evolved into this farm. But you’re right, this, this is the intelligence of these animals is mysterious, because 500 million years of evolution that separates us, yet some of the thinking is almost mammalian, in its complexity. And what’s interesting about the octopus cognition is two thirds of that thinking two thirds of their cognition is outside the brain, actually in the arms, and in the body. And that’s very hard for us to even really comprehend. We don’t fully understand it. And even the suckers themselves seem to be communicating with each other. And imagine having like, you know, 2000 fingers, that’s the equivalent, I got about 2000 suckers, and to move those in the symphony in the way they do. I mean, it’s just text. Imagine the coordination and the brain power to just do that. And that’s a simple thing that they do the whole time. It is really so incredible communication from brain to brain, it’s sort of moving in the direction of our internet, and all the amazing things that’s happening with with artificial intelligence, the octopus is doing it anyway. Isn’t that fascinating? Yes. I mean, I my view is that, you know, the, the technology of nature is so far advanced from any of our technology, I’m talking about, you know, it’s, it’s a millions of times more advanced, then our most advanced space technology. And I think that people don’t understand just how far behind nature’s technology we are. And that’s why I think that, you know, this idea that technologies are going to be the saving grace obviously can help us but it isn’t. The real supreme technology is inherent in nature, and has been developed over millions and millions of years.

Jane Goodall 12:41
I know I asked you in one of our conversations, were you ever tempted to give your octopus teacher a name? And you said, you decided deliberately not to, or?

Craig Foster 12:55
Yes, yes. And I did, I was tempted, absolutely tempted in the beginning, my reasoning was that she felt in a more like kin, what I can only describe as kin to me, rather than a pet. And I didn’t want people to think in any way, she was a pet. Also, there’s a sense of underwater, you know, you’ve got your snorkel in your mouth. On land, if you see an animal, you might be tempted to speak gently to them, and so on. But underwater, that’s just not possible. So you don’t develop a name that easily underwater. And I just felt that she was, most of all, she just wasn’t my teacher. And I looked up to her, and almost felt that I would honor her best by just calling my teacher. And that’s what she was a tremendous teacher and an inspiration to me.

Jane Goodall 13:46
See my teacher was my dog that I had a child and I could never imagine not naming the animals I was studying. Because, well, how else would I relate to them if I didn’t have a name for them? Like the chimpanzees, you know, the scientists told me I should have given them numbers. And is the number six any different than the name Fifi, to me not.

Craig Foster 14:12
I think many people were so glad that you broke that scientific protocol and went with your deep feelings. I think many people were very pleased about that. And that’s why we’ve given our environment here the great African seaforest, this name. Without a name, it’s very hard to protect something and you need to give it a name and you need to give it an identity and you need to put all your passion behind that.

Jane Goodall 14:35
The other question I had for you, which I’ve never asked you is, if you were doing what most divers would do in your situation with the helmet and the tank, wouldn’t that give you one advantage in that you could stay long and see through the end of interaction? So I’m really curious as to do you feel that without these things that you can get closer, feel closer to your creatures in your sea world?

Craig Foster 15:08
Yes, I mean, obviously, there’s an advantage, Jane, to scuba and that you can stay down for a long time. But the kelp forest environment is, you know, very close, they’re very like narrow little caves, the kelp forest grows close together. So the scuba tank, will not allow you to get into a lot of the places that I get into. Also, I’m often covering large distances two to three kilometers, sometimes in a dive. Now that’s impossible with a scuba. The other, the other big factor is a lot of the animals don’t like vibrations. So when you breathe underwater, and all those bubbles explode, it gives off massive vibrations. It’s like shouting underwater. So certain animals that are like sharks, for instance, that are sensitive to vibration, you’ll never see them. I wanted to, you know, go in on its terms, rather. I wanted to feel the cold. I wanted to feel the kelp against my body. I wanted to feel what that’s like.

Jane Goodall 16:06
Yeah, that’s great. Well, it obviously wasn’t the same for me in the forest. But I never wore the kind of gear that people expected me to, you know, when little girls dress up as Jane for Halloween, which they often do, they always put on a pith helmet, I’ve never worn a hat in my life. I’ve never worn boots, I always wore just little sandals or plimsolls. Because I want to feel as close as possible. Certain places where there aren’t thorns and nasty stones I walked, walked barefoot a lot, my feet were very tough. And in the wet season, going up in the early morning, going into this icy, dewy wet grass that have been rained on all night that was over my head. So I’d arrive up on the peak or wherever sopping wet and so cold. So I took to bundling my clothes in plastic. And then when I got to my destination, I could put on dry clothes. There was nobody to see me and it was dark anyway. And you know, I have this feeling which people say was ridiculous. I’m meant to be here, the animals won’t hurt me. Well, ridiculous or not, they didn’t hurt me. So was it ridiculous?

Craig Foster 17:28
But you did have some in the in the beginning, you mentioned something about, you know, some of the chimps when there perhaps weren’t so used to you could be quite aggressive. How does that exactly work? And how did you overcome that?

Jane Goodall 17:41
Well, you know, first, as you know, they ran away from me. And then when it came to the first rainy season, somehow you know how people will sometimes dash across the road in the heavy rain without properly looking, chimps were like that in that they didn’t have their normal fear reaction because they were miserable and they hated the rain. And so this one occasion, I was going in the rain and going through the forest, and I suddenly heard a chimpanzee and they make a little “who,” that’s when they’re puzzled by something. And listed “who” was ahead of me. And I stopped immediately I knew it was a chimp. Then I heard “who” behind me. And then I had what we call a raw call, it so it’s a real savage sound, they make at a predator. I can’t imitate it. And that was over there. And then I heard another sound above me. And I realized I was absolutely surrounded. And then one of them displayed dragging a branch, came very close to me. And I was just pretending I was interested in digging holes in the ground. I couldn’t care less about them. Eating little leaves. And then one of them actually hit me as he went past. And I wasn’t afraid until they’d all gone. I think it’s really lucky if I’d known then how aggressive, how brutal, how strong they are. I would have been terrified. I was really lucky. I really think I was terribly lucky. Because they could have done that. But maybe it was this saying, I’m meant to be here. Nobody will hurt me.

Craig Foster 19:26
Or the lack of fear, when they felt that lack of fear and didn’t take advantage of you.

Jane Goodall 19:30
Something like that. But now it’s your turn. What’s your worst sea experience? I know what you’re going to say.

Craig Foster 19:41
There’ve actually been too many scary experiences. But I think the one you’re referring to is when I was in my early 20s. And you know you kind of feel when you that young that you sort of invincible and I went diving with my brother, and a great friend who is a very experienced diver, and it happened to be the roughest day of the year. And we went in the water and were ok for a while. And then these giant swells came in. And I was remembered looking at this, these mountains of water coming towards me. And I dive down and I held on maybe 25 feet onto the kelp, the bottom of the kelp, and those huge waves ripped me off the bottom, and smashed me into a reef and I thought I was gonna die. And we fought that giant sea for two hours, and we ended up with cramps in our legs, I thought we were all gonna die. And then there’s this miracle happened, this enormous wave picked us up and actually lifted us over the cliff and deposited us in a tree. And then the water went away. And we were laying in the top of this tree. And I was like, our lives are being given back to us. And that was actually the first day I ever wore a seatbelt in a car, because that, that feeling of invincibility was taken away very quickly. And I was humbled in the extreme. But I’ve had quite a few, you know, diving for years, every day, it gets safer and safer as you get more experienced. But I have been stuck in caves underwater without, you know, just on one breath, and almost drowned number of times, smashed into rocks. But I’m now very, very careful. So I try to avoid any dangerous situations at all cost.

Jane Goodall 21:25
Well, I think something is looking after both you and me.

Craig Foster 21:30
I believe so, yeah. I’ve had more than my nine lives now.

Jane Goodall 21:34
You know, we’re meant to be doing what we do. And so we must have our lives preserved, right?

Craig Foster 21:42
Well, I hope I get too.

Jane Goodall 21:43
Well, I think, you know, I’ve done it. I’m 87. So come on. I’ve weathered most of them. But there was one time, very strange, actually. And it’s not only me who’s experienced this, but with these chimps, these strong, potentially aggressive chimps and one of them, Frodo, he bullied other young chimps. In fact, when young chimps were playing, laughing, and Frodo came to join in, they immediately stopped because he was so rough, because one of them to scream. So they knew, so they stopped playing. And he bullied them, but he bullied people, and especially me. And at that time, you know, I was spending longer away from Gombe. And I think I don’t know why he singled me out. But I think maybe he felt he had to reassert his dominance every time I appeared, which is ridiculous. Because I kept saying Frodo, I know your dominant, will you stop it. But he would come in and charge me hit me, you’d have to grab a tree, he would try and pull you not too hard. And three times to me, he dragged me down a slope. And if he had done his normal, charging, hitting, dragging, there’s no question I would have been killed. Once I was on the edge of a very, very steep drop. Once I was at the top of a real skinny slope. And another time I was crouched in a tree, and quite high up. But Frodo would come and he’d veer off at the last minute. So it’s as though he was just showing off and proving his dominance but not meaning to kill us. Because he could have, easily, strong enough.

Craig Foster 23:29
Oh yeah, I mean, he could just tear you apart. But was it terrifying when he was dragging you away or were you okay?

Jane Goodall 23:35
No, I was, I was angry.

Craig Foster 23:37
Okay.

Jane Goodall 23:38
I was scared afterwards.

Craig Foster 23:43
And what did you think, what did they see you as, do you think they saw you as the human or as another strange chimpanzee?

Jane Goodall 23:49
Not a chimpanzee, I’m sure. But you know, in a chimps life, the most important other is other chimps, obviously. Next, it’s the other animals, especially those they prey on like monkeys. And then well, there’s this other queer creature, you know, a human.

Craig Foster 24:08
You know, on land, a lot of the animals on land you actually have to be very careful with but the extraordinary thing about the water, I mean, yesterday, I was diving in shallow water with 50 sharks, and each one of those sharks is, you know, a little bit bigger than me and can tear me to pieces. And there’s something incredible about being in the water that you can actually be right up close to big predators and 99.9% of the time, they don’t harm you in any way. And the sharks are coming in right, right close to me, almost brushing their bodies against me, and that was in murky water. So they’re coming out of the gloom, and I would, I could be completely relaxed knowing that they would not attack me and I could completely relax my body and most of these big animals including Great Whites, including Orcas, almost every animal in the ocean, I’ve had incredible interactions with these giant stingrays that can just kill you in a second. But they’re very, very gentle. And I think it’s because in terms of evolution, for a million years or so, animals on land, when they see that upright creature with the sphere, that in their mind is danger, and is something that is a potential threat. Whereas we haven’t been in the water much. So when animals sees a strange primate in the water, and feels a strange heartbeat in the strange muscle tension and all the strange things, it just doesn’t register. That’s why I asked you, what are the chimps see you as? Animals in the sea are perplexed as to what this thing can be. So it doesn’t come up on their search image at all as predator or prey. So they generally leave us alone. And the amazing advantage of that is you can get up close and have these incredible experiences, while you kind of flying with them. And then yesterday was mind blowing, I was just, these long, sleek, so the bodies with these huge eyes, and they’re just coming out of the murk, out of the kelp forests and having a look. And then they just disappeared, and it’s just absolutely magnificent. And your whole spirit just lifts and you just feel absolutely connected for that moment and nothing else is there. So, so peaceful.

Jane Goodall 26:35
You are demonstrating one of the things that I’ve always felt the importance of storytelling. And you know, you once wrote to me, one day, I wish I could take you down into my world and the ocean. I said, Craig, you have because your stories take me there with you. I’ll never be in your ocean physically. But you’ve taken me there, mentally and spiritually. I think I heard that you had people who felt that you had too much emotion or empathy towards the animals you were watching. Is that true?

Craig Foster 27:11
Yes. I mean, there’s obviously always going to be people who just want to look at the hard facts. But my sense is the greatest scientists on this planet are the great naturalist as well. And the people who have that empathy, and you have that combination of science, empathy, and a deep passion and love for wild things. It’s unbeatable, you know. And I’m so glad you talked about storytelling, because it’s often underplayed. And I have only recently really realized the sheer power of storytelling. I mean, that’s what we’ve done since the beginning of time, we’ve come back from adventures in the wild. And we’ve told our clan, our group of people, the stories of animals and our encounters with them, it’s the oldest story on earth. And our whole brains are designed and hardwired to absorb those stories. Those people never came back and sort of stating facts and figures, we can never remember that and doesn’t hit us in the place where we can remember it. As you say, a good story you never forget. Facts, facts and figures in five seconds, you forgotten. Of course, the data in science is critical that you need to translate that data into stories that we can understand and empathize with, in terms of conservation, obviously, empathy, and story is so critical to bring about change.

Jane Goodall 28:32
Stories really do make a difference. And also this thing about having empathy, certainly with the chimps, if there was an interaction that I didn’t understand, because I had empathy with them, I could say to myself, well, I think they’re behaving like that because, because you know, something we do, perhaps, then you can sit back and put on your scientific thinking mode. And you can say, well was my intuition right? If you don’t have that empathy, you don’t get those aha moments, please. I wouldn’t have.

Craig Foster 29:09
I totally agree. I mean, it’s exactly the same way, in a way. I mean, I felt at some point, that I could step a little bit into the secret world of the octopus. And she, my teacher, allowed me to step into that world. And I could start thinking a little bit like an octopus can think and of course, that’s how I worked out so many of these behaviors.

Jane Goodall 29:31
I’ve heard a lot of people say that the behavior of an octopus and the intelligence of an octopus is probably as close as we can get to imagining what an alien species from outer space might be like.

Craig Foster 29:46
They say that because we so far away in terms of evolution, it could have been evolving on another planet, but it’s kind of co-evolution. So when you get to know the animals that well they don’t see, at least to me, they don’t seem like an alien at all. If anything, Jane, I think we are the aliens on our planet. We’ve become a, we’ve become alien to the wild, we the last child of the wild group that we once were. The joke is we are, you know, we living so out of our desire that we’ve become disconnected from the very planet that we were born.

Jane Goodall 30:25
And we have lost wisdom, the wisdom of these indigenous people who think about the decisions they make, and think how they might affect the future.

Craig Foster 30:37
I think a lot of indigenous people were thinking seven generations ahead. They saw, you know, wild animals, wild ecosystems, as family, as kin, as part of our family. The biodiversity on this planet, the animals, the plants, that the air, it’s all feeding us from second to second, it’s the thing that’s keeping us alive. That’s the original mother, that’s absolutely critical to every moment of our lives. And we’ve in this, in this strange disconnection, forgotten, there’s this great forgetting. And if we don’t remember pretty quickly, it’s going to get a lot lot harder to exist.

Jane Goodall 31:17
There’s a window of time when we can start healing some of the harm, but it’s closing, it’s not static. You know, that’s why I work so hard with young people. I found they were losing help, not surprisingly, but there is something that can be done. And that’s the key message we need to get together now. So Craig, you know, I think we all agree now but the planet in the state that it’s in, that having hope is tremendously important, because without hope you don’t take action. So did meeting your octopus teacher, give you hope?

Craig Foster 31:54
Um, very much. I mean, on many levels, actually, Jane, I mean, she taught me so much about the natural world so much about her species, but so much was about that every individual animal is so precious and has this distinct personality. And then through that, I got a glimpse of the, what I call the giant biological mind. This enormously powerful and sophisticated, giant brain that is wild nature. And the power of Mother Nature gave me a lot of hope. I realize she is eternal. And she, even though we’re smashing her so hard, she will always come back, no matter what even worth or without us. So that gives me a sense of hope, but also through the film, you know, we expected maybe it could never see the light of day, we had no idea that would be so popular. And so we started the film in my attic with no budget, nothing. And it was a series of miracles that landed on Netflix. And I’ve just got thousandss of incredible messages from all over the planet, people who just get it, they get this wonder of nature, they empathize at the deepest level they’ve been, you know, drawing beautiful pictures, writing stories, have been moved in ways that I could never imagine. And that gives so much hope that I think just under the surface of this disconnection, this difficult place that humanity is almost being forced into, there are millions and millions of wild souls just waiting to do the right thing and to allow this planet to regenerate. It gives me enormous hope to have felt humanity react to one little octopus’ magnificent life in this way is quite beyond my wildest dreams. Absolutely remarkable. And that’s what I wanted to ask you, you know what in your all your incredible experience and years of doing this work. It’s so incredible to look at what you’ve done, and the tenacity with which you’ve done it. And I just can’t thank you enough. You know, it’s just so wonderful. But in all your experience, what is the best thing that people can do?

Jane Goodall 34:16
Well, it’s going to be different for different people. But if people just realize, and this is the main message of our youth program, but really, it’s for everybody, that each single one of us matters. Every one of us, just like every animal matters, too. And each one of us humans anyway, we make some impact on the planet every day and we can choose that impact if everybody chooses to live in such a way and make ethical decisions that benefit the future but think about what you buy. Did they tell me environment was it cruel to animals? Is it cheap because of sweatshops? If hundreds, thousands, millions, billions of people start making ethical choices, then that’s going to lead us towards a better world. And when people say, Well, I feel helpless and hopeless, I say, well, just stop thinking globally. And for a little moment, think locally and think, what can I do here? I can’t heal the world. I’m not meant to heal the world. But I can do something in my own community. So Craig, what can people do, if they truly are inspired by you by by your octopus teacher? What can they do to help save our precious, precious oceans? And the amazing beings that inhabit the ocean?

Craig Foster 35:44
Yeah, I mean, I think that’s such an important question, what actually can people do? And I think the first thing to do is educate yourself. You know, many people don’t realize we are actually in a major environmental crisis right now. We’re in the sixth grade mass extinction. It’s, it’s like an apocalypse that in a way we walking through blindfolded it’s it’s quite terrifying in some ways, but there is a lot of hope. And what we can do is, we’ve got to give nature and the oceans a chance to recover, to regenerate. So we need to pull a lot of the pressures away from her. People can vote with their wallets and not support companies that don’t support nature or are actually actively polluting nature or undermining poor people have got, you know, social justice issues. And the other big thing is, is slowly we can start decentralizing the way we operate. So instead of getting produce from far away, use your local farmers, your local people support farms that you do regenerative farming. Support farms that don’t use insecticides, a lot of these pollutants end up in ocean. Support, you know, politicians that care about nature or care about the ocean, the more people we get to met gather from more diverse backgrounds to support the natural world, the better it’s going to be. But we need a big, big, big following from many, many walks of life and we need to uplift poor people because they can’t be expected to be part of this if they’re in survival mode, it’s impossible. When you see how fast in the ocean, Jane, the regenerative properties, especially where I am is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet, the upwelling this this cool, nutrient rich water that comes from the deep and just feeds everything, but the way it can regenerate how fast I’ve seen reefs that have been stripped clean from a big storm. And there’s nothing on them. And just, you know, six months later, she’s thriving with thousands and thousands of animals. It’s quite incredible if you just give it a chance.

Jane Goodall 37:48
There’s some amazing examples of what nature can do if you give her a chance.

Craig Foster 37:55
You’ve given me so much hope and you’ve helped me so much with my storytelling by encouraging me Jane and I feel so grateful to you. So you’re inspiring so many people and I’m one of the.

Jane Goodall 38:07
You inspire people, too. Thank you so much for coming on this Hopecast, and for being a fantastic guest. And I couldn’t ask for a better one. Until we meet again. Thank you.

Craig Foster 38:20
Thank you so much.

Jane Goodall 38:21
FROM THE ARCHIVES: The first chimpanzee to lose his fear of me was David Graybeard. I was following him along a trail in the forest. I lost him for a moment, but then found him sitting, I sat near him. And lying on the ground between us was this ripe red palm nut which chimpanzees love. So I picked it up, and I held it towards him on the palm of my hand, and he turned his face away. So I put my hand closer, and he turned and looked directly into my eyes. He reached out, and he took and dropped that palm nut but then very gently squeeze my fingers, and that’s how chimpanzees reassure each other. So in that moment, we understood each other without the use of human words, the language of gestures.

Feel hopeful and inspired to act with a Jane Goodall Hopecast by subscribing on Apple podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, and anywhere podcasts are found. I’m your host, Jane Goodall. The Jane Goodall Hopecast is produced by the Jane Goodall Institute. Our production partner is FRQNCY Media. Michelle Khouri is our executive producer, Enna Garkusha is our producer, and Matthew Ernest-Filler is our editor and sound designer. Our music is composed and performed by Ruth Mendelssohn with additional violin tracks from Angie Shear. Sound design and music composition for the Conservation Chorus is by Matthew Ernest-Filler.

are found. I’m your host, Jane Goodall. The Jane Goodall hope cost is produced by the Jane Goodall Institute. Our production partner is frequency media. Michelle Corey is our executive producer in our Gao kosha is our producer, and Matthew Ernest phila is our editor, and sound designer. Our music is composed and performed by Ruth Mendelssohn with additional violin tracks from Angie shear, sound design and music composition for the Conservation chorus is by Matthew Ernest.


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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.

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About Author

Shawn Sweeney is a senior director of community engagement at the Jane Goodall Institute and works to create connections among the organizations staff, constituents, supporters and the wider world. Shawn has been involved with the Jane Goodall Institute since 2004 when as a college student he led a group of fellow students in Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots at the College of Wooster. Shawn has a masters of education in humane education and has been working in service learning and communications with the Jane Goodall Institute since 2007 when he joined the staff.