Wildlife Conservation Icon, Jane Goodall ~ Her Thoughts and Her Cause Featured In the May/June Issue of Sierra Magazine

photo by Craig Smith Posted by Picasa

Jane Goodall's early work "demonstrated that chimps in the wild are unique individuals that show emotions, use reasoning, and exhibit strong personalities ~ all traits once thought to be exclusive to humans. Besides making her world-famous, Goodall's engaging descriptions of chimpanzee society transformed our notions of what it means to be a primate ~ and what it means to be human"...."Today the Jane Goodall Institute supports family planning and rural development in central Africa, recognizing that chimpanzees can survive into the future only next to stable, peaceful human populations." ~ Paul Rauber

Paul Rauber is a senior editor at SIERRA. Following are a few excerpts from his special interview with Jane Goodall:

Sierra: What has your many years' observation of chimpanzees taught you about human behavior?

Goodall: It's taught me that our aggressive tendencies have probably been inherited from an ancient primate some 6 million years ago. But also love, compassion, and altruism ~ we find these qualities in chimpanzees as well. So if we believe in the common ancestor, both of these characteristics ~ the dark side of our nature as well as the more noble side ~ we've probably brought with us from the past. Some people say, therefore, that violence and war are inevitable. I say rubbish: Our brains are fully capable of controlling instinctive behavior. We're not very good at it, though, are we?

That's why I started Roots and Shoots (at the Jane Goodall Institute) and...Since 9/11, we've also had a very strong peace initiative, helping young people better understand those of different countries, cultures, and religions. My hope is that these young people can break through and make this a better world.

To learn more about the Jane Goodall Institute programs, click here: http://www.janegoodall.org . And, to read this entire interview by Paul Rauber, go to: http://www.sierraclub.org and click on Sierra Magazine on the menu.