Jane Goodall, one of the world’s foremost primatologists, spent much of her life studying chimpanzees. She has interacted with the animals on a more personal level than anyone before her. Her groundbreaking work challenged numerous taboos in animal science and opened the door for scientists to research the social lives of all kinds of animals.
In bridging the divide between humans and animals, Goodall’s work also shed a new light on the human condition — one that directly connects people to nature. So, in honor of the scientist, conservation activist, and environmental leader on her birthday, here are 10 of Jane Goodall’s most inspiring and thought-provoking quotes.
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On human fallibility:
Here we are, the most clever species ever to have lived. So how is it we can destroy the only planet we have?
To me, cruelty is the worst of human sins. Once we accept that a living creature has feelings and suffers pain, then by knowingly and deliberately inflicting suffering on that creature, we are guilty, whether it be human or animal.
The greatest danger to our future is apathy.
On human potential:
I think empathy is really important, and I think only when our clever brain and our human heart work together in harmony can we achieve our full potential.
What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.
Let us develop respect for all living things. Let us try to replace violence and intolerance with understanding and compassion. And love.
On humanity’s connection with nature:
To reconnect with nature is key if we want to save the planet.
If we kill off the wild, then we are killing a part of our souls.
Chimpanzees, more than any other living creature, have helped us to understand that there is no sharp line between humans and the rest of the animal kingdom. It's a very blurry line, and it's getting more blurry all the time.
And finally, on our power to create a brighter future:
I do have reasons for hope: our clever brains, the resilience of nature, the indomitable human spirit, and above all, the commitment of young people when they’re empowered to take action.
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