Sunday, May 9, 2010

Jane Goodall ... A Reason for Hope

Shortly after I came to the United States (when I was 16) I remember picking up a book by Jane Goodall. I was enthralled by her story, her passion, her commitment and her journey. I bought every book she had. My favorite is her book "Reason for Hope: A spiritual journey." Science has always fascinated me. Along with that has been my personal journey and struggle with spirituality versus religion, and the endless questions that have plagued my mind and heart. Jane Goodall, through her kind, wise, gentle approach taught me through her words that science and spirituality can coexist. In fact, for her they thrive. She convinces us to open ourselves up to the saints within us.

The Boston Globe has said "Being with Jane Goodall is like a walk with Gandhi." Not long ago I learned Jane Goodall was coming to Minnesota. For as long as I can remember, it's been a dream of mine to meet Jane Goodall -- i've considered flying to other parts of the world to meet her, to simply be in her presence. I purchased tickets which included a private reception with her. Yes, the Boston Globe is right ... being with Jane Goodall is like a walk with Gandhi, or at least what I imagine would be a walk with Gandhi.

Jane Goodall's work revolves around mobilizing action on behalf of chimpanzees, who are endangered, and all wildlife species. Her holistic, compassionate approach is what has stood out for me as I've read her books. Yes, she is a voice for the chimpanzees, but she is also a strong voice for humans and for our environment/nature ... all the while respecting diversity, cultures, beliefs. She ignites the flame within us ... a constant, steady, flame with bursts of passion.

Her greatest reason for hope is the spirit and determination of young people. Her Reasons for Hope can be found on her website: the human brain, the indominatable human spirit, the resilience of nature, the determination of young people.

We are all connected. My heart breaks when I listen to news on NPR on the recent BP oil spill ... the devastation, for all of us. How do you hold onto hope with such massive devastation? "If we are without hope we fall into apathy. Without hope nothing will change. That is why we feel it is so desperately important to share our own, irrepressible hope for the animals and their world." - Jane Goodall (from her book: Hope for Animals and Their World). In Jane's last book she talks about "evidence mounting of a sixth extinction - this time caused by human actions ... it is inevitable that more and more species will need a helping hand if they are to continue to share the planet with us." 

Today is Mother's Day. Yes, I honor and wish all mothers a beautiful day .... mothers of humans, mothers of dogs/cats and other companion animals ... and most importantly Mother Earth, and all living beings with whom we share this beautiful world.

When Jane was introduced prior to her lecture here in Minnesota, the local anchor mentioned how she had been interviewed 4-5 years ago and he asked her "if chimps could talk what would they say to us? ..and she paused, reached out her hand to him and said "Can we be a part of your world?"

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