🗞 Taking care of our world

“Everyone can help,” says Jane, friend of chimps

Jane Goodall is a famous “naturalist”. She’s a scientist who’s been showing people amazing new things about Nature for a very long time – 60 years!

And she’s reminding us today that we must all help to look after it.

Jane wants us to use the extra time we have at home because of the corona virus to think about helping our world. It’s a good time to think, Jane says, because hurting Nature and animals may help spread diseases like corona.

The corona virus, or COVID-19, jumped from an animal into a person last year. Many scientists say that humans are more likely to catch other new diseases because we are unkind to animals – though Jane also says “we’re bound to get through” our troubles with corona:

Hopefully, because of this unprecedented response, the lockdowns that are going on around the world, more people will wake up and eventually they can start thinking about ways they can live their lives differently. Everyone can make an impact. Every single day.

Jane Goodall to AFP, 11 April 2020

When Jane was young, she lived among chimpanzees in Africa. She found that they acted much more like humans than people thought. She saw one, called David Greybeard, even make a tool out of a stick to catch bugs.

Jane helped us see that we humans are not so different from other animals:

There isn’t a sharp line dividing humans from the rest of the animal kingdom. We find animals doing things that we, in our arrogance, used to think was just human.

Jane Goodall

Jane showed we are part of the animal world and of Nature in general. We are “arrogant” if we think we are so clever and grand and separate from it.

That idea can help us see that how we treat animals and our environment – the air, the sea, forests and so on – can have a big effect on our lives, too.

Jane wants us to think about these things on Wednesday, April 22, when we celebrate Earth Day. People around the world – mostly online this year – take part in events to celebrate our planet and encourage us to protect it.

Even though we’re staying indoors, looking at Nature can cheer us up (as experts told WoW! earlier). And the shutdown has been helping clean up our air and giving birds and other wildlife some peace and quiet!

Staying at home on Earth Day, you may also be able to watch a new film on television that celebrates Jane’s work – and especially her idea that we can all, especially children, do our own little bit to help Nature. The film is called The Hope, because Jane thinks that having hope will help us succeed.

You can watch Jane talk about her hope for Nature here

If you want to be more active for Earth Day, you could check out the organisation that Jane set up for children. It’s called Roots & Shoots and has groups in dozens of countries. We spoke to the Roots & Shoots branch near WoW! Towers in Brussels and they suggested making a “bug hotel”.

A “bug hotel” !? Well, watch the video below…

When we say we like Nature, it’s easy to think about exciting and interesting animals. But we often forget about insects and creepy crawlies.

They need our help, too, though. The amazing riches of Planet Earth – its biodiversity – are incredibly important to us. And we are all learning about them all the time. Remember the plastic-munching bug from last week?

Make a bug hotel – and check out Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots group here.

Can you think of other ways you would like to help the planet? Write to us here and let us know.

And remember what Jane says …

What we can do in our individual lives does depend a little bit on who we are – but we all can make a difference. Everybody can.

Jane Goodall, April 2020

Problem?

Acting selfishly toward other creatures and Planet Earth has caused problems that are also making life difficult for ourselves.

Solution!

We can all do our little bit to help Nature, to be nicer to animals, make less rubbish – and be kinder to other people too!

Grown-up reading

French news agency AFP on Jane’s remarks for the National Geographic film Jane Goodall – The Hope, to be screened on Earth Day, April 22

Britain’s Press Association also spoke to Jane about corona virus etc.

Lots of background on Jane’s life and teaching on her website.

Find out about Jane’s Roots & Shoots movement; like WoW!, it encourages kids to have confidence in their talents to become young changemakers.

This video gives a good overview of Jane Goodall’s ideas:

An 80th birthday tribute to Jane Goodall

We particularly love this quote:

If you think globally, you become filled with gloom. But if you take a little piece of this whole picture:

‘My piece, our piece. This is what I can do here. I’m making a difference. And, hey wow, they’re make a difference over there. And so are they and so are they’.

And so gradually the pieces get filled in and the world is a better place. Because of you.

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