Jane Goodall did an interesting thing recently. It should not be surprising, since her whole life seems worthy of a full-length feature film from Hollywood. She just turned 80 on April 3, and wrote an editorial for the USA Today advocating technology as a force for conservation. This seems strange coming from a woman who spent 45 years in the jungles of Tanzania studying chimpanzees.
In case you are not familiar with her work, Dame Jane Goodall is one of the world’s foremost experts on chimpanzees. As a young girl growing up in London, her father gave her a toy chimpanzee, and this sparked her lifelong fondness and advocacy for primates. In 1960, accompanied by her mother and with little formal training, she began her research at the Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania. She eventually earned her Ph.D. doing ground-breaking work in her field, and uncovering many traits not previously associated with chimpanzees: personalities, emotions, social relationships, tool making, hunting, and even brutality. Today, Dr. Goodall travels nearly 300 days a year around the world promoting advocacy on behalf of the chimpanzees and the environment.
Which brings us back to her editorial. In that piece, she laments on the damage humans have done to the environment, but she also is amazed at the advances in technology. And she thinks that this technology can be a major force for environmental conservation. She can now communicate in seconds with people on the farthest reaches of the planet, as compared to writing letters and papers when she started. She is also using technology to collect DNA profiles of wild chimpanzees, map and monitor habitats in real time, and stop poachers. Dr. Goodall is now asking for our help.
“I hope the fight to try to make this a better world for all — people and animals — will continue after I am long gone. But I need your help now and I'm increasingly inspired by the role technology — and especially young people's mastery of it — can play to extend our voices and ideas in support of environmental stewardship.… Technology alone will not solve every problem, but it is part of the solution. Let's use technology as a way to amplify our voices in support of the environment. Let's turn to Facebook, Twitter and the myriad other ways to connect and strategize with likeminded individuals about how to make this world better. Let's use technology to extend the reach of our personal influence in support of the planet we love.”
Your efforts can have a tremendous impact on our planet and the lives of future generations of both man and animals. Are you willing to help? Let us know.