Full Transcript:

Jane Goodall 0:03
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.

Welcome to another special mailbag episode, where I get to hear the questions and comments that you’ve submitted through our website. Today, we’re again joined by our executive producer and Hopecaster extraordinare. Michelle Khouri. Hello again, Michelle.

Michelle Khouri 0:56
Hello, Jane. It’s so good to be back for these episodes. They are just so special. I can’t wait to share some of these submissions that we’ve gotten again from around the world. It’s, it’s been really amazing to hear from people from all over. So are you ready?

Jane Goodall 1:17
I’m quite ready for whatever you throw at me.

Michelle Khouri 1:21
Okay, here we go. Our first submission is actually a written submission. So I’m going to pull it up here. And it comes to us from Hannah Pang in China. Hi, Jane Goodall. I’ve read many of your books, and I really like you. I want to be an astronaut when I grow up. I’m now eight years old from China. And now having COVID-19. I hope you can have a happy year. I’m also interested in animals and science. You are so famous. I read “Who is Jane Goodall?” and my sister Michelle likes animals, too. She’s very interested in animals, especially chimps. We also, and my mom and dad, had seen chimps in some of the zoos. They are super cute eating their snacks. Haha.

Jane Goodall 2:14
Well, Hannah, how lovely to hear from you. And I should be coming to China this year, but because of COVID-19, I don’t suppose I shall be able to. So it sounded as though you have COVID-19, if that’s so I hope you get really better very quickly. And you’re going to be an astronaut? Well, that’s very exciting. I hope that you will get to be an astronaut, you’ll be able to look down at the earth and see it as the little planet swirling around in this huge, huge universe. And when you see it like that, I think it will make a big difference to you. Because you realize it’s very beautiful, but it’s very small. And we mustn’t go on destroying it the way we are. We’ve got to look after it. Because in all that vile space, our planet is the only one we know where we can actually live. It’s our only home. And so, that’s something you may experience if you end up being an astronaut. But until you get there, go on being kind to animals, learn about Roots and Shoots, it’s all over China, you can easily start a group. I look forward to hearing from you again.

Michelle Khouri 3:35
Oh, wow, what a great story. So now we have a beautiful submission from Hyomin Cho from Japan.

Hopecaster 1 3:47
Hello, Dr. Goodall, I’m Hyomin Cho, a high school student living in Japan. I was really forced by the doctor’s message, especially “Don’t let anyone laugh you out of your dreams, but remember, you will have to work hard for opportunities and never give up.” This part really touched my heart. I have a dream. And it’s still not enough to make that dream come true, so it takes more effort. However, after reading the doctor’s message, I found that I never gave up what I really wanted to do and work hard to make that dream come true. I would do my best on. Thank you very much for your message.

Jane Goodall 4:30
Well, thank you, Hyomin. And of course, originally, that message was given to me by my mother. And I share that message all over the world. I’ve told young people everywhere, if you have a dream, don’t let people laugh you out of it. Just know you’re gonna have to probably work very hard. And take all these opportunities that come your way. And if you don’t give up you probably will find a way. If you have a dream, just follow it. Your dream might change, and that doesn’t matter, you might have another dream, we do change as we grow older. So whatever you do, whichever direction you end up going, then just stay true to that vision, that dream that you have. And it’s quite amazing what people can do when they do follow their dreams. You know, you may not be able to achieve your dream straightaway but don’t give it up. You can still make the right choices each day as to what you buy, and did it harm the environment or animals. And then the time will come when you’ve saved up enough money or you’ve got to the right age, or whatever it is, and then you can turn back and again follow and achieve your dream.

Michelle Khouri 5:51
That’s beautiful and you happen to know a thing or two about persevering to follow a dream, don’t you?

Jane Goodall 5:56
I do. I have had to persevere many, many times to follow my dreams.

Michelle Khouri 6:03
Pretty amazing things can happen when you do persevere and push through.

Jane Goodall 6:08
I’m like one of these dolls, you know, the weighted bottom, you push it over and it springs up again. That’s me. I won’t give up. I’m absurd. But, at the same time, let me say, that sometimes you are on a path and you suddenly find this is the wrong path, then you must not be afraid to admit that you are wrong and go another way.

Michelle Khouri 6:41
Okay, so now we’re going to hear from Shreya Chowdhury, I hope I’m saying that right.

Hopecaster 2 6:49
Hi, Doctor Goodall, I read that your relationship with nature began with your stuffed chimpanzee named Jubilee. Mine began when my mom and I would wish good morning and good night to all of our 96 plants in the garden every single day. My question for you is, how do you think someone who didn’t have the opportunity to form a bond with nature from an early age can forge one as an adult? I believe that building a personal connection with nature is important to create empathy, which is the foundation for someone to take meaningful climate action. Ensuring that everyone loves nature as a part of their family can encourage them to give back to support the ground that lifts them up. Thank you so much for your time.

Jane Goodall 7:32
Well, Shreya, first of all, I absolutely love the thought of you and your mother saying good morning or goodnight to all the different plants in your garden. That is a beautiful picture that I have. And when I was at Gombe with the chimpanzees, I started saying good morning to the trees, and the trees all have their different characters. You know, there were the young ones with smooth bark. And then there were the old, wrinkled bark ones that were hoary with age. And I would sometimes put my ear to the trunk of a tree, I suppose it was imagination, but I seem to hear the sap being pulled up to feed the leaves. So I understand this relationship with plants. So in our Roots and Shoots program, we really, really concentrate on getting children out into nature, so that they can learn to love it, to understand it, to care for it. And in that way, as you say, they will grow up and want to protect it and save it. So a big effort, if we can’t take children into nature, we have to try and find ways of taking nature into them. And it will make people healthier, mentally healthier, physically healthier, and people feel happier. So I’m very glad you talked about the trees and nature. Thank you.

Michelle Khouri 9:00
Alright, so now we’re going to hear from Lorena Sanchez, she is from the United States.

Hopecaster 3 9:10
Hi, Jane, you’re really an inspiration to me. I watched your whole master class and a bunch of, anything I can find. And I really like how you do positive work and focus on, on the good of humanity and people rather than think of the negative things. For example, when you gathered with the people that did experiments on gorillas, and you worked with them and told them that they must be good people and how to work with them to make things better, instead of just fighting against them. And you know, your activist friends would tell you that they’re just evil people and how can you have tea with them? I thought that that was really inspiring. And I’ve told a lot of people that story. Thank you very much.

Jane Goodall 9:56
I think I learned this from my mother that if you meet somebody who disagrees with you, is doing something you think is wrong, isn’t any point arguing with them because they’ll be building up their defenses, how to argue with you to prove that you’re wrong and they’re right. So I told stories and showed film of the chimpanzees so that they could see the contrast between what it’s like for a wild chimpanzee making nests up in the trees, hearing the wind at night, and the leaves rustling and the birds calling in the day, and resting sprawled out on the ground when it’s the dry season, and feasting on fruits. And then look at the chimpanzees in their labs, in five foot by five foot cages. With nothing but iron bars around, maybe a motor tired to sit on. Nothing to do. Fed monkey chow. Nothing else, just boring old. Imagine if you had to eat the same thing every day, day after day after day. And when I finally got into the labs, because I knew I had to, I had to see with my own eyes, so that I could talk about it with conviction. They didn’t know how to cope, it was so terrible. Some of the chimps I saw have been in those tiny cages for about 20 years. It gave me the courage to go on, going from lab to lab, talking to them, and it did make a difference. They did introduce enrichment. And now finally, after a long, long, long, long, long struggle in which many organizations joined, the chimps are now in sanctuary or on their way to sanctuary. There’s no more medical research in America.

Michelle Khouri 11:37
I think that’s such an important point you just made which is that it wasn’t easy for you. But you persevered. And you had to in order to create a bridge that lead to change, and it was the long game.

Jane Goodall 11:50
That’s right. It was a long hard struggle.

Michelle Khouri 11:54
And now we have Dorsa Mehidi, who comes from Iran, who sent us a video message.

Hopecaster 4 12:05
Hi, Jane, my name is Dorsa and I’m originally from Iran. But I’m sending you this message from Los Angeles. My stories with hope originate from the challenging days that I’ve had during our immigration and also the limitations that I face back home. But what has always helped me is the story of the mysterious anemone flower that grows all of a sudden in the roughest areas and the Persian poet that says, you have to live as long as there is anemone. Essentially, I’ve learned I’m not the first one to experience these challenges, and I won’t be the last but life goes on and as long as there is anemone, I have to live.

Jane Goodall 12:51
Thank you, Dorsa. And the image is beautiful of the anemone flower growing in rough places. And I think it can be tied up with the indomitable human spirit. People go through terrible times. They’re in grim places. But it’s the something in people that enabled them to stand up to those conditions, and even to look around and find beauty there. But I’ve seen so many of those kinds of flowers, you talk about surviving in really awful conditions and you wonder how they can survive. But it’s like watching people, children in areas that are being bombed, living in the rubble, how do they survive? You’ve got that indomitable human spirit. And it’s the same as this anemone flower that’s growing in rough conditions. So we’re like those flowers, and that enables us to have hope, even in the darkest times.

Michelle Khouri 13:58
And with that note of strength and hope and perseverance and the indomitable human spirit, we end this mailbag episode, how do you feel about it? How are these mailbags feeling to you?

Jane Goodall 14:12
Well, it’s fascinating to me to hear questions and comments from people all around the world. I think this time we’ve had quite a, quite a lot of young people. And it’s always good to talk about Roots and Shoots. And we’ve had a lot of questions about animals and comments and about plants, as well, and about people. So I think it’s been a really good session.

Michelle Khouri 14:36
I agree. So thank you for having me again, and for sharing your wealth of wisdom with us and the poetry that is your life story. Thank you, Dr. Jane.

Jane Goodall 14:50
Thank you. Bye bye.

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.


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

Ashley Sullivan is the Communications & Policy Officer at the Jane Goodall Institute, where she works to connect individuals with Dr. Goodall's vision, and the JGI mission. Ashley graduated Stony Brook University with a B.A. in Anthropology and a minor in Biology, and is currently pursuing a MS in Environmental Science & Policy at Johns Hopkins University. She has a varied background including conservation, art, communications, digital media, design, photography, and documentary filmmaking. Ashley believes in sharing information to empower and in magic of storytelling to change hearts and minds. Through growing understanding and empathy, she believes it is possible to ignite positive change, every day.