85-year-old conservationist Dr Jane Goodall is an animal rights icon. She’s revered for her work on understanding and protecting chimpanzees, which naturally made her one the strongest and most vocal opponents to habitat-destroying deforestation.
Through her role as a UN messenger of Peace, and founder of the Jane Goodall Institute, she recently committed to contributing 5 million trees, via replanting or restoration. This will support the 1 Trillion Trees campaign organisation by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP.)
Speaking about the decision, Goodall says she is “motivated by the power of hope” and that this is an opportunity to “grow good.”
“1T.ORG offers innovative technologies which will serve to connect tens of thousands of small and large groups around the world that are engaged in tree planting and forest restoration,” Goodall said in a statement. “Creating this ‘greening global community’ will allow for sharing critically needed funding and best practices — just what is needed to achieve the trillion trees goal in ten years.”
She continued: “I am proud to announce that our Roots & Shoots program, which empowers young people in 60 countries, has committed to planting over 5 million new trees over the coming year. Now is the time for everyone on the planet to do their part.”
When Goodall was 26, she travelled to Tanzania and ventured into the world of wild chimpanzees. It was here that she discovered that chimpanzees make and use tools — a revelation that turned the scientific world upside down.
“We have found that after all there isn’t a sharp line dividing humans from the rest of the animal kingdom. We’ve found animals doing things that we in our arrogance used to think was just human.”
She was soon confronted with the reality of deforestation and the damage caused to the animal population. But she knew that it was “not really possible to think about conservation without bringing the people into the picture.” Her institute has always promoted local ownership of land as a way of protecting forests and therefore chimpanzees.
“We hear, think globally, act locally. Don’t. If you think globally you become filled with gloom,” she said in a National Geographic video, urging people to focus on a little piece of the whole picture where they can make a difference. By looking over at others doing the same — making a difference in a different part of the world — she says that “gradually the pieces get filled in and the world is a better place. Because of you.”
“We each have a responsibility to make decisions every single day that reduce harm and protect life,” the website says. “Protecting forests cannot continue to be the forgotten solution.”Tags: Chimpanzees, deforestation, Tanzania