Dr Goodall spoke of her mentor, Louis Leakey, Kenya’s National Museum Director, who funded her research in Tanzania and later her Cambridge degree in the 1960s, as well as the other important teacher in her life, her dog Rusty.
Rusty had taught her animals did have emotions and personalities. This knowledge had given her the strength to stand up to the Cambridge establishment who criticised her for anthropomorphising the chimps under her watch.
In 1992 she had her “Road To Damascus moment” when she attended a conference in Gombe Stream National Park. She learned about the extent of the devastation happening in the African environment with regards to the degradation of its land and animals.
“I left the conference an activist”
She feels a sense of shame and desperation as a member of her generation, having caused such destruction, she says.
And yet, Dr Goodall, ended every one of her speeches by saying there were still reasons for hope. “There is still time. The problems of poverty, the energy of the youth, the human intellect, the resilience of nature and the indomitability of the human spirit… is what inspires me every day.”
It is the children who will change their parents’ minds about the problems of poverty, unsustainable lifestyles and the human population.
“They are changing it right here and now. Right here at Green School!”