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Making Global Change

Dr. Jane Goodall

Lesson time 17:01 min

Dr. Jane discusses the Jane Goodall Institute’s TACARE initiative, which gives local communities in Tanzania the tools they need to manage resources for long-term growth and sustainability.

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Topics include: The Jane Goodall Institute & TACARE • Working with Local Communities • Microcredit • Family Planning & Human Population Growth • Gender & Health • Satellite Tech & Habitat Protection


I flew over Gombe National Park in 1991. It was obvious there were more people living there than the land could support, too poor to buy food from elsewhere. It's very steep, hilly country. They were desperate to grow more food to feed themselves and their families. So even on these steep slopes, they were cutting down the trees to get more land, particularly as the more suitable areas had been over-farmed and the land had become infertile. And cutting down the trees on these steep slopes led to terrible soil erosion. The streams were getting silted up. And it was very clear, the people were struggling to survive. And that's what led to the Jane Goodall Institute starting our TACARE program to improve the lives of the people. And it started in the 12 villages closest to Gombe. It didn't start in the typical arrogant way of sending in a group of white people who know best, who tell the people, this is what's going to happen. They're going to do this, this and this. This will improve their lives. No, we didn't do it that way. There was a very amazing man called George Strunden. And he'd been out in the area 15 years. And he assembled a group of local Tanzanians. There wasn't a PhD among them. But they had all worked with NGOs in agriculture, in health, and education and so forth. So there was no intimidation. This group of local people went into the villages, sat down with the leaders in the village, including the women, and asked them what they thought we could do to make their lives better. And that's where we started. And this program, TACARE, is a leader in community conservation done in the right way. And initially, George and I were criticized for trying to do everything. People said, you can't do it all. You've got to concentrate on education, or reforestation, or agroforestry or agriculture. You can't do all of it. But my time in the forest had taught me that everything is interrelated. It's no good taking one piece if you don't address the rest. It just isn't going to work. And so we were able to put together a proposal and get a small grant from the European Union. It was a three-year grant. And you know, our biggest problem was that the EU said, but you're not asking for enough money. We don't give out small grants like this. And we were saying, but we need to try this to see if it works. We can't ask for huge amounts of money that might be wasted. So in the end, they agreed. And that's how we started. And gradually, we started what they hoped we could do for them, which was growing more food. Well, that meant restoring fertility to the overused farmland but without pesticides, chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. They wanted better health and education facilities. And this really began by working more closely with the local Tanzanian government and working closely...

About the Instructor

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.

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Dr. Jane Goodall

Dr. Jane Goodall shares her insights into animal intelligence, conservation, and activism.

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