Happy Birthday Dr. Jane


How lucky we are in Bakersfield…sometimes. This is one of those times. A long-awaited book by Dr. Jane Goodall will hit the bookstores tomorrow, Tuesday.  We have Dr. Goodall here in person to sign the books on the first release day. Not only that, we can help her celebrate her 80th birthday.

Her birthday is Thursday but the party will start tomorrow at 5pm with a meet and greet, a little wine and cake, and then Dr. Goodall will lecture from her new book at 7:30.

We each understand our personal motivations to “do our thing.” If questioned why we spend our lives doing taxes for large corporations, we might answer with the usual mumbles, “Well, I was good at math in high school, pursued it in college, got even better at it, was offered a good paying job and suddenly it was my career.”

Other career choices are sometimes defined by, “My parents were doctors, or musicians, or lawyers, or business owners, or whatever…and I followed their roles.” Some folks developed sports, writing, computer, or teaching skills and that becomes their life.

The motivation of Jane Goodall to follow her life’s passion was an early love of animals. Her parents reported her missing when she was four years old. She was discovered hours later in the hen house, where, she explained she was watching to see how hens laid eggs.

The love of animals is certainly not unusual. I know, thanks to YouTube, that millions of people love, worship and record their cats every damn move.

But, who out there wants to go to Africa and study monkeys?

Jane Goodall, the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees, discovered things we probably would have never known about our closest human relatives. She devoted 45 years studying the family and social interactions of chimps. It took two years before the chimps would allow her to gain trust and acceptance. She discovered chimps were not vegetarians, they made and used tools, and they had over 120 different sounds with specific meanings.

While studying the chimpanzee habitats, she saw the mining and logging industries denude their home. She watched desperately poor people using slash and burn agriculture to survive. She formed the Jane Goodall Institute in 1977, a global non-profit organization, promoting health, education and conservation.

I’m excited about meeting and listening to Dr. Goodall tomorrow. By the way, her doctorate degree is in Ethology (study of animal behavior) and she is one of only eight people to have a doctoral dissertation accepted by Cambridge without first having an undergraduate degree.

Her J.G. Institute has a set of core values they practice. Maybe we should all have these core values.

• We strive to respect, nourish and protect all living things; people, animals and the environment are all interconnected
• We believe that knowledge leads to understanding, and that understanding will encourage us to take action
• We believe that every individual has the ability to make a positive difference
• We believe that flexibility and open-mindedness are essential to enable us to respond to a changing world
• We require integrity and compassion in all that we do and say
jane goodall and chimp

About bakoheat

Writer/Musician
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