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Science & Tech


Dr. Jane Goodall

Lesson time 11:39 min

The destruction of forests is especially painful to Dr. Jane because of the emotional connection she has with trees. Learn about these incredible plants and the far-reaching effects of destroying forests.

Dr. Jane Goodall
Teaches Conservation
Dr. Jane Goodall shares her insights into animal intelligence, conservation, and activism.
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I think it was my love of trees as a child, which was amplified when I got to Gombe National Park and spent time in the forest there and began to learn about this amazing interconnectedness of life forms in the forest. That's why, for me, knowing about the destruction of the rain forests in the woodlands around the world, it actually hurts. And I feel trees as living beings. When I used to go out every day at Gombe and I was on my own, I would put my hand on a trunk and feel the sap rising. And I feel this tree as a living being in its own right. So that the destruction of the forests is not only leading to the extinction of the great apes as they lose their habitats, so many other primates, and so many other life forms. But it's also the destruction of these living beings, these trees. And it's fascinating to me that more and more scientists are beginning to talk about countries be intelligent, talking about the communication between trees. And when this was first proposed and a paper was written, the two scientists were pooh-poohed. And they went very quiet for a while until they were able to prove that what they said was true. And a certain kind of tree is attacked by caterpillars. That tree can then put out pheromones. And this will warn other trees of the same species that there is a plague of caterpillars. As a result of that, they were able to put extra toxins into their leaves, which will help them to counteract the caterpillars when they arrive. And in a forest, there's another way of communication, which is through little microfungi on the roots. And this network can stretch right across the forest floor. And there is so much to learn about communication between trees. It's completely amazing. [MUSIC PLAYING] The forests that are being destroyed, it's shocking. It's terrifying. Right across Asia, particularly Indonesia, Malaysia, and now creeping into Latin America, creeping into Africa, forests are being destroyed to grow plantations of oil nut palms, oil nut palms that produce this palm oil that's now crept into so many, many of our food products. It's used in cooking. It's used in cooking oil. It's used in cosmetics. It's used to create biofuel. In fact, a huge amount of palm oil plantations go into biofuel, which is meant to be environmentally friendly. But it's the result of destroying vast areas of primary forests, old growth forests. And so a lot of people, what can they do? Well, they can try and avoid products containing palm oil. Most cookies have palm oil in them. But it's not labeled. And I've been talking to people about sustainable palm oil plantations. And they say, it's very, very difficult for a buyer to be absolutely sure that the palm oil he's buying does indeed come from a sustainable source. And it's not labeled. Some of it is. So it's difficult. But people need to try and learn...

Take action

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.

Inspiration that the planet can heal and people can think and act differently

I am much more conscious of how my choices affect the world around me. I am committed to doing my part to conserve the environment and to learn about ways that I can continue to make improvements to stop wasting what I have access to and to make it easier for nature to rebound.

This class has broadened my knowledge on how we as humans are failing our planet. However, it has also provided ways I can adapt and improve on to help restore and preserve. It has fueled my desire to do better. To be better. Thank you Dr Goodall for paving the way, it's now up to us to continue what you started.

What a wonderful, classy lady. Such wisdom. Really enjoyed this class.


A fellow student

By far one of the best masterclasses here. I'd go so far as to say her message should become part school curricula. You cannot listen to Jane Goodall and remain unaffected. Listening to her reminds you that real knowledge doesn't shout, it is calm and absolutely indisputable. This is knowledge that could go a long way in saving humanity from destroying itself. These are lessons no school teacher could have taught me. Thank you Jane.

A fellow student

I bought masterclass because of Dr. Jane Goodall. Though I really think Master Class need to make it free for all. To let more people hear Dr. Jane Goodall's call for changing the world before it's too late. Humans are too lazy and slow.

Bernardo F.

Not only that, but that some "activists" are reforesting using non-native plants... Here in Mexico, eucalyptus is used in many of those programs, and places where originaly there where pine trees are now full of eucalyptus! For the ones that don't know, this plant leaves small amounts of toxins in the soil that prevent other plants for growing around, similar to what casuarinas do. That also means they're replacing sources of food or shelter for native animals. Not to mention how some programs involve modifying deserts into fields or forests. They think that just because "there are not living things" we must change them.

Antonia T.

Start by NOT owning a car. As simple as that. Transport & Environment: "The real palm oil problem: it’s not just in your food, it’s in YOUR CAR too! Europeans are increasingly eating less and less palm oil and instead are inadvertently burning more and more in cars and trucks. Drivers in Europe are forced (most of the time without their knowledge) to fill up their diesel cars with palm oil biodiesel. In 2018, 65% of all the palm oil imported into the EU was used for energy. More than half of it (53%) of all palm imports was used to make biodiesel for cars and trucks - an all-time high - and 12% to generate electricity and heating - another record".

Antonia T.

Deforestation is not only taken place in Asia, Africa and Latin America, but also in Europe and North America. 6,000 years ago, more than 2/3 of Europe was covered by forests; now, only 1/3. "Rich" countries are guilty too!

A fellow student

Dear Masterclass team, please make Jane's masterclass free for all, without subscription. Her message is so needed to be heared...

Diana H.

I loved hearing her talk about her book on endangered plants and how the plants "spoke" or inspired her work! In the book, Seeds Of Hope talks about a 2000 year old seed of a date palm growing and producing a fertile date palm. This certainly makes one contemplate the rain forest and the many medicinal plants within. We have not even discovered all that we may lose.


Jane is absolutely fascinating. Devoid of ego, and with a beautiful soul that resonates through the medium of the internet. I have always loved trees and plants as well as animals, like many here. I think all children have an innate love of trees. I remember reading' The Faraway Tree' by Enid Blyton as a child, and then Tolkien's 'Lord Of The Rings' - which was very aware of the intelligence of trees, and of man's destruction of trees. And now with Game Of Thrones GRRM sends another message about the destruction of trees. Soon Mankind will be extinct, and slowly the trees will grow back and reclaim the earth, but we will not

Robin F.

What do think of negotiating with companies who destroy rain forests for BIo Fuel, organic plants/indigenous plants and cosmetics and medicine(s) to create manmade rain forests to grow their own in a manmade greenhouse structure. Of course it will cost something however if there is enough experts: scientists, horticulturists, civil engineers putting it together like carvana's mutli level vending machine with cars who could help save the planet and they could be placed all over the world. Sound interesting huh? Please I hope you will take this seriously and help this become a reality everywhere in the world , everywhere.

Debbie L.

Seeds of Hope is a wonderful book! It was what lead me to here and ignited my interest in sustainability. Highly recommend it.