We Can't Forget The Hope
Tuesday, November 10, 2009 | Author: eventer79
Jane Goodall is a name that many know. Ever since I read one of her books years ago, she's been one of my personal heroes. The book was Reason For Hope and much of it brought tears to my eyes. Dr. Goodall is a soft-spoken, compassionate, patient and open person with a core of incredible strength and perserverence that I can only hope to approach. This woman started out as a grad student watching the chimpanzees at Gombe and now she changes the world one person at a time. She has done so much for conservation and continues to be a peerless ambassador for those who have no human voice. I don't think I can name many other women (or even people!) who I find so truly beautiful and awe-inspiring.

In hopes that no one will mind (and I would fall over dead of awe if Dr. Goodall ever stumbled upon my blog anyway), I want to share an essay of hers that is also posted on her site. Working in conservation, it is so easy for me to become disheartened, but reading these words, I almost feel as if she is patting me on the head, saying, "It will be ok. Never forget that there are many reasons to have hope." It makes me want to sit down and weep in both relief and a desperate desire to trust that her world travel means that she has seen much more than I and has seen that there is indeed much hope out there.

Without further ado:
Jane's Reasons for Hope

"It is easy to be overwhelmed by feelings of hopelessness as we look around the world. We are losing species at a terrible rate, the balance of nature is disturbed, and we are destroying our beautiful planet. We have fear about water supplies, where future energy will come from – and most recently the developed world has been mired in an economic crisis. But in spite of all this I do have hope. And my hope is based on four factors.

The Human Brain
Firstly, we have at last begun to understand and face up to the problems that threaten us and the survival of life on Earth as we know it. Surely we can use our problem-solving abilities, our brains, to find ways to live in harmony with nature. Many companies have begun "greening" their operations, and millions of people worldwide are beginning to realize that each of us has a responsibility to the environment and our descendants. Everywhere I go, I see people making wiser choices, and more responsible ones.

The Indomitable Human Spirit
My second reason for hope lies in the indomitable nature of the human spirit. There are so many people who have dreamed seemingly unattainable dreams and, because they never gave up, achieved their goals against all the odds, or blazed a path along which others could follow. The recent presidential election in the US is one example. As I travel around the world I meet so many incredible and amazing human beings. They inspire me. They inspire those around them.

The Resilience of Nature
My third reason for hope is the incredible resilience of nature. I have visited Nagasaki, site of the second atomic bomb that ended World War II. Scientists had predicted that nothing could grow there for at least 30 years. But, amazingly, greenery grew very quickly. One sapling actually managed to survive the bombing, and today it is a large tree, with great cracks and fissures, all black inside; but that tree still produces leaves. I carry one of those leaves with me as a powerful symbol of hope. I have seen such renewals time and again, including animal species brought back from the brink of extinction.

The Determination of Young People
My final reason for hope lies in the tremendous energy, enthusiasm and commitment of young people around the world. As they find out about the environmental and social problems that are now part of their heritage, they want to right the wrongs. Of course they do -- they have a vested interest in this, for it will be their world tomorrow. They will be moving into leadership positions, into the workforce, becoming parents themselves. Young people, when informed and empowered, when they realize that what they do truly makes a difference, can indeed change the world. We should never underestimate the power of determined young people.

I meet many young people with shining eyes who want to tell Dr. Jane what they've been doing, how they are making a difference in their communities. Whether it's something simple like recycling or collecting trash, something that requires a lot of effort, like restoring a wetland or a prairie, or whether it's raising money for the local dog shelter, they are a continual source of inspiration. My greatest reason for hope is the spirit and determination of young people, once they know what the problems are and have the tools to take action.

So let’s move forward in this new millennium with hope, for without it all we can do is eat and drink the last of our resources as we watch our planet slowly die. Let’s have faith in ourselves, in our intellect, in our staunch spirit and in our young people. And let’s do the work that needs to be done, with love and compassion."

--Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE

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On November 10, 2009 at 2:11 PM , lifeshighway said...

Brought tears to my eyes.

On November 10, 2009 at 3:08 PM , eventer79 said...

Good, then it's not just me being emotional.

On November 10, 2009 at 3:17 PM , Once Upon an Equine said...

Those are inspiring thoughts. Hope is a good thing. I once had a book titled Hope that a friend borrowed a couple of times. When she borrowed it, she would loan it out and that person would loan it out. It came back to me in rough shape with the binding falling off. When she wanted to borrow it for a 3rd time I said no, you need to get your own Hope. But I keep the book as a reminder of how badly everyone wants hope.