Jane Goodall Quotes
1. Chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans have been living for hundreds of thousands of years in their forest, living fantastic lives, never overpopulating, never destroying the forest. I would say that they have been in a way more successful than us as far as being in harmony with the environment.
2. Certainly, if you look at human behavior around the world, you have to admit that we can be very aggressive.
3. It was both fascinating and appalling to learn that chimpanzees were capable of hostile and territorial behavior that was not unlike certain forms of primitive human warfare.
4. Words can be said in bitterness and anger, and often there seems to be an element of truth in the nastiness. And words don’t go away, they just echo around.
5. As a small child in England, I had this dream of going to Africa. We didn’t have any money and I was a girl, so everyone except my mother laughed at it. When I left school, there was no money for me to go to university, so I went to secretarial college and got a job.
6. War had always seemed to me to be a purely human behavior. Accounts of warlike behavior date back to the very first written records of human history; it seemed to be an almost universal characteristic of human groups.
7. Change happens by listening and then starting a dialogue with the people who are doing something you don’t believe is right.
8. When you meet chimps you meet individual personalities. When a baby chimp looks at you it’s just like a human baby. We have a responsibility to them.
9. I think the most important thing is to keep active and to hope that your mind stays active.
10. We can’t leave people in abject poverty, so we need to raise the standard of living for 80% of the world’s people, while bringing it down considerably for the 20% who are destroying our natural resources.
11. What makes us human, I think, is an ability to ask questions, a consequence of our sophisticated spoken language.
12. I didn’t want to become a professor or get tenure or teach or anything. All I wanted to do was get a degree because Louis Leakey said I needed one, which was right, and once I succeeded I could get back to the field.
13. I had been told from school onwards that the best definition of a human being was man the tool-maker – yet I had just watched a chimp tool-maker in action. I remember that day as vividly as if it was yesterday.
14. You cannot share your life with a dog, as I had done in Bournemouth, or a cat, and not know perfectly well that animals have personalities and minds and feelings.
15. We have language and they do not. Chimps communicate by embracing, patting, looking – all these things. And they have lots of sounds. But they cannot sit and discuss. They cannot teach about things that are not present, as far as we know.
16. When I began in 1960, individuality wasn’t an accepted thing to look for; it was about species-specific behaviour. But animal behaviour is not hard science. There’s room for intuition.
17. Women tend to be more intuitive, or to admit to being intuitive, and maybe the hard science approach isn’t so attractive. The way that science is taught is very cold. I would never have become a scientist if I had been taught like that.
18. My family has very strong women. My mother never laughed at my dream of Africa, even though everyone else did because we didn’t have any money, because Africa was the ‘dark continent’, and because I was a girl.
19. I’m highly political. I spend an awful lot of time in the U.S. trying to influence decision-makers. But I don’t feel in tune with British politics.
20. It has actually been suggested that warfare may have been the principle evolutionary pressure that created the huge gap between the human brain and that of our closest living relatives, the anthropoid apes. Whole groups of hominids with inferior brains could not win wars and were therefore exterminated.
21. Certainly the first true humans were unique by virtue of their large brains. It was because the human brain is so large when compared with that of a chimpanzee that paleontologists for years hunted for a half-ape, half-human skeleton that would provide a fossil link between the human and the ape.
22. I think we’re still in a muddle with our language, because once you get words and a spoken language it gets harder to communicate.
23. Chimps are very quick to have a sudden fight or aggressive episode, but they’re equally as good at reconciliation.
24. But does that mean that war and violence are inevitable? I would argue not because we have also evolved this amazingly sophisticated intellect, and we are capable of controlling our innate behavior a lot of the time.
25. I don’t spend that much time being introspective, believe it or not. All I know is that I grew up not questioning God because that’s how you are. God was there like the birds and the wind.
26. I’m always pushing for human responsibility. Given that chimpanzees and many other animals are sentient and sapient, then we should treat them with respect.
27. It was because the chimps are so eye-catching, so like us and teach us so much that my work was recognised worldwide.
28. When I look back over my life it’s almost as if there was a plan laid out for me – from the little girl who was so passionate about animals who longed to go to Africa and whose family couldn’t afford to put her through college. Everyone laughed at my dreams. I was supposed to be a secretary in Bournemouth.
29. I thought my life was mapped out. Research, living in the forest, teaching and writing. But in ’86 I went to a conference and realised the chimpanzees were disappearing. I had worldwide recognition and a gift of communication. I had to use them.
30. In Tanzania, the chimps are isolated in a very tiny patch of forest. I flew over it 13 years ago and realized that, basically, all the trees had gone, that people all around the park are struggling to survive. It became very clear that there was no way to protect the chimps while the people were in this dire circumstance.
31. Most Africans don’t get to see these wild animals at all. Once they see and learn about them, they are much more likely to become involved in protecting the environment.
32. When I was two, a dragonfly flew near me. A man knocked it to the ground and trod on it. I remember crying because I’d caused the dragonfly to be killed.
33. In 1975, when my students were kidnapped by rebels, I was accused of hiding instead of trying to save them, and of not giving enough money for their ransom. I wasn’t believed.
34. It’s been proven by quite a few studies that plants are good for our psychological development. If you green an area, the rate of crime goes down. Torture victims begin to recover when they spend time outside in a garden with flowers. So we need them, in some deep psychological sense, which I don’t suppose anybody really understands yet.
35. On the day-long follows that I used to do with mothers and their offspring – these chimp families that I knew so well – there was hardly a day when I didn’t learn something new about them.
36. The part that always shocked me was the inter-community violence among the chimps: the patrols and the vicious attacks on strangers that lead to death. It’s an unfortunate parallel to human behavior – they have a dark side just as we do. We have less excuse, because we can deliberate, so I believe only we are capable of true calculated evil.
37. I did this book ‘Harvest for Hope,’ and I learned so much about food. And one thing I learned is that we have the guts not of a carnivore, but of an herbivore. Herbivore guts are very long because they have to get the last bit of nutrition out of leaves and things.
38. When I was 10 years old, I loved – I loved books, and I used to haunt the secondhand bookshop. And I found a little book I could just afford, and I bought it, and I took it home. And I climbed up my favorite tree, and I read that book from cover to cover. And that was Tarzan of the Apes. I immediately fell in love with Tarzan.
39. I got to Africa. I got the opportunity to go and learn, not about any animal, but chimpanzees. I was living in my dream world, the forest in Gombe National Park in Tanzania. It was Tanganyika when I began.
40. My mother always used to say, ‘Well, if you had been born a little girl growing up in Egypt, you would go to church or go to worship Allah, but surely if those people are worshipping a God, it must be the same God’ – that’s what she always said. The same God with different names.
41. As I’m traveling around, I meet many small children. And when I look at a small and think how we’ve harmed this beautiful planet since I was that age, I feel a kind of desperation, anger, shame. I don’t know what I feel; I just don’t know what the emotion is.
42. People say maybe we have a soul and chimpanzees don’t. I feel that it’s quite possible that if we have souls, chimpanzees have souls as well.
43. I got my love of animals from the Dr. Doolittle books and my love of Africa from the Tarzan novels. I remember my mum taking me to the first Tarzan film, which starred Johnny Weissmuller, and bursting into tears. It wasn’t what I had imagined at all.
44. From my perspective, I absolutely believe in a greater spiritual power, far greater than I am, from which I have derived strength in moments of sadness or fear. That’s what I believe, and it was very, very strong in the forest.
45. I don’t think that faith, whatever you’re being faithful about, really can be scientifically explained. And I don’t want to explain this whole life business through truth, science. There’s so much mystery. There’s so much awe.
46. Chimps can do all sorts of things we thought that only we could do – like tool-making and abstraction and generalisation. They can learn a language – sign language – and they can use the signs. But when you think of our intellects, even the brightest chimp looks like a very small child.
47. There are certain characteristics that define a good chimp mother. She is patient, she is protective but she is not over-protective – that is really important. She is tolerant, but she can impose discipline. She is affectionate. She plays. And the most important of all: she is supportive.
48. I miss the early days; I do. I was so lucky. I basically had it to myself, learning about these chimpanzees. Nobody knew anything about them. Discovering their different personalities, different life histories. I was lucky.
49. I would never say I was an icon, but so many people have said I am, so I suppose I am. I mean, I can’t not be what everyone says I am. But I don’t feel like an icon.
50. I’ve watched a lot of people who became famous who completely change and I think it’s because they tend to believe all the hype that’s out there. I don’t think there’s that much hype about me.
51. I think my message to the politicians who have within their power the ability to make change is, ‘Do you really, really not care about the future of your great-grandchildren? Because if we let the world continue to be destroyed the way we are now, what’s the world going to be like for your great-grandchildren?’
52. I am not deeply involved in Australian politics but I know there are prime ministers, governments around the world who are not acting responsibly in relation to climate change.
53. I learned from my dog long before I went to Gombe that we weren’t the only beings with personalities. What the chimps did was help me to persuade others.
54. I was born in London in England in 1934. I went through, as a child, the horrors of World War II, through a time when food was rationed and we learned to be very careful, and we never had more to eat than what we needed to eat. There was no waste. Everything was used.
55. Whatever we believe about how we got to be the extraordinary creatures we are today is far less important than bringing our intellect to bear on how do we get together now around the world and get out of the mess that we’ve made. That’s the key thing now. Never mind how we got to be who we are.
56. The chimpanzee study was – well, it’s still going on, and I think it’s taught us perhaps more than anything else to be a little humble; that we are, indeed, unique primates, we humans, but we’re simply not as different from the rest of the animal kingdom as we used to think.
57. I was brought up to understand Darwin’s theory of evolution. I spent hours and hours in the Natural History Museum in London looking at the descriptions of how different kinds of animals had evolved, looking at the sequence of fossil bones looking gradually more and more and more and more like the modern fossil.