There is only one Jane Goodall and it’s my belief that there is no close second. My reasons are endless and having been blessed beyond my wildest dreams by getting to spend about 20 minutes in a room with only Jane, my friend and MGW team member, Meredith and me, recently, all my assumptions are correct. There really is only ONE Jane Goodall. She is brilliant, funny, captivating, down to earth beyond anything I can describe and she has a presence that is impossible to describe. Having met her once before, having interviewed her once, having seen her interact with Dave Matthews at the Global Climate Action Summit last fall and then getting to be one-on-one with her, makes me admire, respect and, yes, possibly even adore her. She is centered, has the most powerful sense of presence of anyone I have ever met and SHE is the one who puts everyone at ease because her reason for living has nothing to do with being famous but rather being all about making a difference.
What could I possibly write about Dr. Jane Goodall that hasn’t been written about her before? How could I begin to describe what it’s like to actually sit down next to her, in a room with only three of us, and have brief but focused conversations about things that matter – like the impact of government leaders on the environment, like the situation with wolves in our country, and then actually being able to ask her straight out: do you have hope? Truth is, I can’t describe what my friend Meredith and I experienced when we got to have one on one time with one of the world’s most famous icons. She has a presence I can’t describe. She is really fun and funny and she is fully and totally present when you are with her. And she doesn’t mince words. When we started discussing wolves and the sometimes heinous and barbaric treatment of them, Dr. Goodall said “we better change the subject and not talk about something so upsetting right before I am getting ready to speak.” And change the subject we did.
I found myself wanting to write down pretty much everything she said, both during our time together and during her one hour and fifteen minute presentation at the Arizona Speaker Series. But I didn’t because I wanted to be as fully present with her as she was being with us. But between Meredith and me, we were able to capture a few quotable quotes, have a funny “inside edition” thing to share and have her response to the question: do you have hope?
“You cannot share your life with a dog, cat, horse, bird or any pet meaningfully and not realize that we’re not the only beings with personalities and minds.”
“I prefer “tapestry of life” to biodiversity.”
“Only when the head and heart work in harmony can we achieve our true living potential.”
When we were getting our picture taken with Dr. Jane at the end of our time together, when asked to smile, she said quietly: “One, two, three, chimpanzee.” And “One, two, three, plant a tree.” She was making US smile and all I could think about was how many millions of times she has had to smile for the camera.
Response to the “Do you have hope for the future” question:
“We have a window, a small window – the young people.”
My hope for the future? Dr. Jane Goodall – her work, her passion, her impact. She is 85 years old and spends 300 days a year travelling all over the world mostly spending time with her project for children called Roots and Shoots – now with chapters in over 50 countries. She is, and always will be, my inspiration and my motivation to keep on doing the important work of Mrs. Green’s World – even on the darkest of days and when my hope meter is on low.
From about the age of five, Gina has been on the path of being a disruptor for good. A dreamer at heart, Gina is madly and passionately in love with this great planet of ours and is tireless in her efforts to preserve it