in | 11 Jan 2018

A Portrait of Dr. Jane Goodall

"This planet can provide for human need, but not for human greed" - Ghandi


Dr. Jane Goodall is a rockstar. In purity and calmness, maybe the opposite, but in passion, soaring just as high. For those who don’t know her, she is a now 82 year old environmentalist, activist and primatologist from London, known for her work with and for chimpanzees, rainforests, animals, children. She describes her job as ‘bringer of hope’, which is exactly what we at the Juicery praise her for. And which is why we were very pleased to be inspired by Brett Morgan’s most recent documentary about her.

Jane sees we as humans are part of this planet as much as any organism is, and that we per definition are not superior at all, just because we have a more complex mental system. In her TED-talk on what separates us from the chimpanzees: In the developed world, in a way, it's worse, because we have so much access to knowledge of the stupidity of what we're doing. We're bringing little babies into a world where, in many places, the water is making them sick, the air is harming them, and the food that's grown from the contaminated land is poisoning them…  We're harming ourselves around the world, as well as harming the animals, as well as harming nature herself -- Mother Nature, that brought us into being”.

At the start of the movie, we see a young Jane, wandering through the the wild, effortlessly climbing trees, undoubtedly in her natural habitat. The fascinating thing is, she got sent to Africa in 1960, for the first ever scientific research on the social behaviour of chimpanzees and how this relates to our stone age ancestors, without a scientific degree. She ventured where no other researcher, especially not female, had ever set foot. "They needed someone without any analytical prejudgements, but with an open mind, a passion for knowledge, a love for animals, and a monumental patience" she says with a spark in her eyes.

It straight away becomes crystal clear why she is fit for the job. There exceeds a vibrant togetherness from her that throughout the film does not leave. As she humbly says, in response to the question whether she was scared that these animals would, as Morgan says, 'rip her face off': "there was, at the time, nothing available to inform me about these risks. Humans had never explored chimpanzees in the wild before, but apart from that, I just knew: nothing is going to hurt me, I am meant to be here”.

Respectfully, she observes that chimpanzees are capable of feeling emotions the same way humans are. They experience joy, sorrow, fear, jealousy, and in between are looking for interaction and reassurance of their fellow beings just like we are. They feel physical and mental pain just like we do. The film is a beautiful and very visual reflection of this inter-connectedness, because while we see Jane, experiencing passion, romance, starting a family, but also separation, setbacks, despair, we get to glimpse chimpanzee-society, where all these of things exist in parallel.

After years and years of on-and-off spending time in her beloved research camp in Africa, she comes to realize that nature around her is slowly being attacked. That's where she replaces her focus from observations and research, to raising awareness. To this day, she hasn’t stayed in one place longer than 3 weeks since. She is responsible for many funds, institutes, inspiration, motivation and general well-doing all around the world. This film is as much about nature as it is about love, connection, and about following your dreams. 

“Yes, there is hope, and where is the hope? Is it out there with the politicians? It's in our hands. It's in your hands and my hands and those of our children. It's really up to us. We're the ones who can make a difference. If we lead lives where we consciously leave the lightest possible ecological footprints, if we buy the things that are ethical for us to buy and don't buy the things that are not, we can change the world.”