In a rather special and reflective ‘Talking Foreign Affairs’ episode, Dr. Jane Goodall (who, amongst many titles, is a UN Messenger of Peace) joins Adil Cader to discuss international issues of importance to her.
The two discuss several issues related to the environment, its conservation, the role of young people, and the impact of individual action. Dr. Jane Goodall also shares her valuable insights on the status of women in the field of science and the future of the world that we live in. Talking about the inspiration behind her phenomenal work related to environmental conservation and awareness, Dr. Goodall opens up that she happens to care very deeply about the natural world which “we are destroying”. She adds that chimpanzees are not only the closest to humans in terms of physiological and behavioural patterns, but also more intelligent than we think. Yet, they cannot compete with humans in so many regards. Looking at that, she continues, “It’s bizarre that we are destroying our only home”.
The host, Adil Cader, then follows up with a question on the advice that Dr. Goodall would give to world leaders – drawing from her observations of chimpanzees – given that we are in a very divided time where serious issues like climate change are not taken very seriously. To this, Dr. Goodall responds, “What is unfortunate and yet interesting is that chimps too have an aggressive and dark side like us, and yet, they don’t make it a part of their normal behaviour. They quickly resolve their conflicts and can’t rest until they’ve made it up with a pat or an embrace”. This urge for resolving conflicts without resorting to violence is something that the decision-makers of today can learn from.
Reflecting upon the CoP26 in Scotland, Dr. Goodall adds that she is “still waiting to see”, given that so many promises from the previous conferences and agreements were not followed, mentioning the Paris agreement in particular. On the positive side, she suggests – “the awareness around climate change is much higher” today. Talking about the role of young activists and the work of the Jane Goodall Institute, she says- “the main message is that every single one of us makes an impact on the planet every single day”. An individual action may seem insignificant, but if everyone makes even small ethical choices, that can lead to big change. Concluding the interview, Dr. Goodall advises young leaders “not to take an aggressive stand, but to try and lead by example and get their head and heart working together”.
Dr. Jane Goodall is known as the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees. In 2002, she was appointed as a UN Messenger of Peace, in recognition of her “dedication to what is best in mankind”. Her institute, ‘The Jane Goodall Institute’ is widely recognized for creating innovative conservation and development programmes in Africa, where she began her landmark studies in 1960.
‘Talking Foreign Affairs’ has interviewed several World Leaders, from a UN Secretary-General to Heads of State, from Nobel Laureates to those who have led mission-critical organisations like the WTO, World Bank, and NASA. It will operate as a non-partisan and non-profit initiative. Adil Cader specialises in Australian Foreign Policy and Global Diplomacy. He is a Pacific Forum Young Leader, a Board Member of the Australia-Pacific Youth Dialogue and actively involved with diplomacy education.
Photos: Adil Cader of ‘Talking Foreign Affairs’ (right) with Jane Goodall.