Rose Parade Grand Marshal Jane Goodall on conservation

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Primate expert Jane Goodall is the grand marshal for Tuesday’s 124th Tournament of Roses Parade.

Goodall is best known for her groundbreaking research on wild chimpanzees during the 1960s.

The 78-year old stopped by the KPCC studios to talk about her focus on global conservation.

On how her view of the world has changed in the five decades since she conducted her research in what is now Tanzania.

“[My view of the world] has totally changed,” said Goodall.

 “The reason why I’m no longer in the forest that I love, doing what I love best, and I’m on this crazy 300 days a year travel is because I suddenly realized that chimpanzees were vanishing across Africa, the forests were going.”

Goodall said some young people have lost hope about the prospect of a livable Earth for future generations .  “Since I was a child, you know, I look back at what we’ve done to this planet, the places that are gone, the species that have become extinct, the poverty that has increased, hunger and so forth. But is it too late? I don’t think so.”

 How can we change these problems? One solution: Think locally, Act Globally

“If you spend a lot of time thinking globally, you become depressed and you feel helpless,” said Goddall. “But if you if you take action locally and see ‘wow, we can clean up this stream, we can remove these invasive species, we can help the stray dogs on the streets.’  Then you begin to feel a sense of empowerment.”

On inspiring young women…

Goodall doesn’t consider herself as a feminist, but she has inspired generations of women to pursue their career goals.

“Certainly hundreds of young women say they’ve had the courage to do what they’ve done because they read about my life and how I was told by everybody when I was 11 ‘go to Africa, live with animals, write books about them. How stupid? Why don’t you dream about something you can achieve?'”

Despite the adults' dismissive tone, Goodall never gave up on her goals. She said her mother always told if her that if she wanted something, she had to work hard, persevere and eventually she would find her way.   

When you look back to the years that you spent with the chimpanzees in the forest, you look back with a sense of….?

“Nostalgia,” Goddall answers. “they were the most wonderful days getting to understand the chimpanzees. You know I was the first. How amazingly lucky is that? … It was magic.”

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