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Science & Tech

Advocacy Strategies

Dr. Jane Goodall

Lesson time 13:32 min

It's easy to feel hopeless in the face of problems. But Dr. Jane teaches you the many ways you can help, and how we should think—and act—locally.

Dr. Jane Goodall
Teaches Conservation
Dr. Jane Goodall shares her insights into animal intelligence, conservation, and activism.
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I think gradually I find that more and more people are aware of what we're doing to harm the planet. They know. I mean, you can't live in China and not know about pollution. Because half the time you're wearing a mask. And so, why aren't people doing more about it? Often they just don't know. It's ignorance. They don't understand what they can do. And I think one of the main problems is that if we're thoughtful, we think about all that we're doing to harm the environment-- everything I've said and more-- we feel helpless. We feel hopeless. What can I do? What can I possibly do? And I think the thing is, and sometimes young people get this better. That if we start making decisions, little choices each day, and think about the consequences of those little choices. What do we buy? Where did it come from? How was it made? Did it come from very far away, using a lot of fossil fuel? Could we buy the same thing that's made locally? Did it involve harm to animals? Did the making of it involve child slave labor? Is that why it's cheap? Should I perhaps spend a little more, and therefore waste a little less? Because the waste is terrible. And if we start thinking in those terms of the consequences of the small choices we make. First of all we learn a little more. Because we can't make a good choice if we don't understand. And children are learning, and teaching their parents. But secondly, we realize that it's not just me. If it's just me making these little ethical choices, well so what? But as more and more people are becoming more and more aware. More and more educated. And more and more countries. It's hundreds of people. Thousands of people. Millions of people. Eventually, hopefully billions of people all making the right ethical choices in how they lead their lives each day. That is going to move us towards the kind of planet that we would like, or not be ashamed to leave behind to our children. And of course, there are people out there who can, with one decision, make huge change. Like the CEOs of major companies. I sometimes wonder how some of these CEOs can live with themselves. I sometimes wonder how people can be good parents. Care about their children and their grandchildren. And yet, with one sweeping decision do something that will harm the future for those very people that they love. And it's as though they shut off a part of it from their family life. It's the same with people doing animal experimentation. I've met people who work in a lab with dogs. Doing experiments on the dogs. They hang up their white coat, they go home. And there's the family pet. Oh, she understands everything I say. She's part of the family. What a dissociation between these dogs that you're tormenting, and this dog who's part of your family. We seem really a...

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There is still a window of time. Nature can win if we give her a chance. In her first ever online class, Dr. Jane Goodall teaches how you can conserve the environment. She also shares her research on the behavioral patterns of chimpanzees and what they taught her about conservation. You'll learn how to act locally and protect the planet.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Never give up....Be positive ....and at least change "your" world for the better and set an example.....perhaps it will inspire others and positive good will will spread over the world.

It thought me that even small things, can help put the environment. There so much to do and small courts a lot. I learned Of the behavior of chimpanzees, and how all the animals and plants need to recover their natural space.

Jane has changed the way I look at my everyday. I will pass on as much as I can.

Inspirational, and passes on the knowledge of intertwining of ecosystems; and a love for the study of animals.


Bernardo F.

That's it! Thinking and acting localy. Many people belive that they can't do nothing in front of big companies or politicians, but we can do it, maybe not at the same level, but if we join forces we can surely do it. The problem is that people is apathic or feels helpless, I've heard so many people saying "what's the problem that I waste water/drop garbage in the street/cut a tree/etc.? There are companies doing it a thousand times bigger!" How do you deal with these people? I'm sure that the grain of sand that I'm putting may not be that much, but at least is in the correct action.

Antonia T.

Unfortunately, individual people can do very little to safe the planet. Politicians have to make laws against pollution, meat industry, factories, and pesticides. Otherwise it makes no difference if I chose not to eat meat or to buy local fruits. Believing otherwise is very naïve. In another hand, we are in the 6th mass extinction we like it or not. Species normally last 2 million years, no more, and humans will be no exception. There have been 5 mass extinctions so far (440 M y ago, 375 M y ago, 250 M y ago, 200 M y ago, and 65 M y ago) without the help of the destruction of humans. That said, the planet and the animals and the plants (and the people!) are suffering today, so big laws and changes in a great scale need to be done urgently to lessen the destruction and death. But big companies, factories and politicians care very little about the planet, so they write a catchy slogan to tell you to recycle and then they produce and eat a hamburger, produce and drink a Coca-Cola, produce and drive a car, and feel OK with that.

Diana H.

This is so sweet from a person who is from my mothers generation. Many of these points are things I know or have put into practice but it is true how just one person can make a huge impact. So much is spread by word of mouth and asking for the products we need and refusing the ones we don't. We have a food forest in our city and the impact of urban farming on the community is incredible. I think it is similar to taking young people or adults out into the wilderness to experience the healing power of nature.

Maria Lisa P.

And he gave the little crumb to his "beloved" - so beautiful. I agree with Jane, people are so busy they forget to notice nature all around us. We need to take the time to see the living world in front of our eyes, sprouting out of crevices in our concrete jungles, it is alive and it reminds us how silently persistent and resilience it is. We can learn a lot from nature.

Svanfridur M.

I love this lesson in how it encourages people to act, but I disagree with her statement that we must stop thinking globally. It is vital that we change our point of view to a more holistic representation of the world and ecosystems as a whole. Thinking globally, thinking about preserving us as a species and natural life in general is the only way we will beat climate change and other large scale problems. Yes, we must act locally, but if we spend all our time trying to get this one species saved or this one town to start composting then we will miss the bigger picture, and all that will fly past us until it is too late. Yes, thinking globally is scary, but we should be scared! Just as fear moved our ancestors to run from lions and go make a spear for next time, fear will make us change the way we live out of self-preservation.

Darya B.

So happy for this awareness! I didn't even know about palm oil or even things like recycling batteries. People just need awareness to make better choices. I always thought there should be commercials on daily that make people aware of recycling, animal cruelty, environment; because the ignorance is not exactly everyone's fault, it is the false advertising by large companies for example pretending that PETA is just a bunch of crazy people who throw paint on celebs wearing PETA does amazing amazing work. Those videos they show are heartbreaking how some people can just do that to animals. Even for myself, so many mistakes I was making while thinking I was making the right choices, simply not understanding the full story. THANK YOU!

Louanne F.

This is my favorite lesson so far - love the idea of disassociation when it comes to animal cruelty vs. pets, the idea of "think globally, act locally" being backwards, and especially the idea that we can all make small decisions every day that will ultimately have a great impact.

Brandon B.

One person can make a difference, one decision can change the world, one action sets it all in motion.

Gretchin D.

It's so important to remember that each one of us can make a difference every day!

Kalia D.

We just need to open our eyes. And see some of the wonderful things going on around us. Because they are everywhere! - Did you notice how at the end of the session she describes the two birds? It is a test. "The bird was desperate to find food for his beloved..." What blasphemic words out of the mouth of a scientist! :) I noticed it's the same way I wrote about nature in my biology essays as a child, and got seriously reprimanded. I am a bit disappointed though about her disappointment of adults. We cannot give the responsibility for our actions to young children. The amount they excel in purity and innocence we should equal in ripeness and wisdom. Children are easily overwhelmed, and when turned into activists, they can get seriously, seriously hurt and traumatized once they meet the real opponents. I think it's enough for them to grow up in that much love and world that we can create from our adult fights for them, and they will carry these deeply felt seeds into their future. 'Reasons for Hope' must also mean trust in our elders. Jane would have never become the activist she is without her life experience, her cultivated wisdom, her adult accomplishments. The young Jane, the one that took the worms with her in her bed to sleep out of love and interest, wouldn't be a better activist by rule. She needed a loving mother to tell her: Jane, they need the earth! It is only natural that we teach our children what we are convinced of. That's not activism, it's the natural way of life. But we can't hide behind them, or behind our belief that our innocence has become contaminated. We will very much need the strength of the elders of this world to make improvements. We will need everybody's strength. And especially the worst culprits in the field, if so convinced, can make a few small basic changes, and the elaborate systems they created will show to run on compassion just as effectively, as they did on cruelty...