Business, Politics & Society

Reasons for Hope

Dr. Jane Goodall

Lesson time 0:12:48 min

Dr. Jane contends that there are four main reasons for hope: the energy of youth, the power of the human brain, the resilience of nature, and the power of social media.

Dr. Jane Goodall
Teaches Conservation
In 29 lessons, Dr. Jane Goodall shares her insights into animal intelligence, conservation, and activism.
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Today, we know the world is in a mess, socially and environmentally and economically. And there's a lot of reason for depression. And people are always asking me, Jane, do you really have hope for the future? You've seen so much suffering. You've seen forests disappear. You've seen chimpanzees tortured in medical research laboratories. You've seen crippling poverty. You've seen people harmed by conflict. Do you really have hope for the future? And I do have my reasons for hope, but I think the most important and meaningful reason for hope, for me, is the young people. Because now, wherever I go around the world, and I am traveling 300 days a year, I always try and get to schools. I always try and encourage young people to come together, the Roots & Shoots groups bringing their different projects, getting together, sharing their projects. And so wherever I go, there are these young people with shining eyes wanting to tell Dr. Jane what they've been doing to make this a better world, being utterly amazed and thrilled by the variety of projects. And because each child is encouraged to think of a project that they care about, they're all passionate. They're passionate about their projects. So the reason I have hope because of Roots & Shoots is it isn't that young people can change the world, they are. They are changing the world even as we speak, and not just environmentally, not just because they care about animal rights, but because they care about improving things for people as well. The same holistic message that's really threaded its way through everything I've done in my life is part of Roots & Shoots. So that's my main reason for hope. [MUSIC PLAYING] I have four other reasons for hope. And one of them is this extraordinary human brain. So as I've said, the biggest difference I see between us chimpanzees and other animals is this explosive development of our intellect, possibly triggered in part by the fact that we created this way of communication with words so that we can teach about things that are not present, discuss the past, plan the future, and bring people from different backgrounds together to try and solve a common problem. So we've used our brain, I'm afraid, for some pretty bad purposes. But because we have this intellect, we now have the hope of using it to solve the problems that are being created in part by our intellect. And the good signs, the good news, the hope, lies in all the ways, all the technologies that already allow us to live in greater harmony with nature. The use of solar power, it's free. The use of wind power, the use of the tides, we still have some way to go. We've still got to learn how using this will not harm bird migrations, not kill bats, and so forth. But nevertheless, we're taking big strides. And interestingly, the leader in solar technology, and probably the country that will be the firs...

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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.

I loved the storytelling. Most of the information that was shared, I already know because of my field of study and occupation. Nevertheless, I learned how to connect to people more to the environment. What I appreciated most is from the classmates' comments on how much they learned and were inspired to make positive changes.

I loved this class! Listening to Dr. Goodall has been so inspiring!

This class was really inspirational! I felt like I had the privilege of sitting down and chatting with someone who has really made a positive impact in the world, and it made me hope I can be as indomitable and fearless as she is.

One of the best things I have ever heard! Jane so humble and unassuming has powerful things to say so please listen - and then act


Maria Lisa P.

The resilience of nature. Yes, I love nature. It renews itself with or without us. What I always notice is that plants are rooted so deeply in the soil, we may trample it, but it comes back again stronger again, even if in the cracks of sidewalks and walls. We need to stop and marvel at it, believe in it, appreciate it.


What an amazing story about the hilltops in Gombe that grew back all those trees when there were none for a long time. It truly gives me hope about more nature thriving for years to come, and hopefully that will be the case in not just Gombe but in other parts of the world, as well. I absolutely love trees, and am always saddened whenever I see one, healthy or not, cut down.

Darya B.

Love the way she explains how people can teach others to help themselves. I have not cried so much during any class yet haha but happy tears so thankful she is doing all this good work. I have been to restaurants before that used Styrofoam and just didn't feel good about it but didn't think to do anything. Jane has showed me that just contacting the manager to let them know of better options and just having them be aware, can really make a difference by taking small steps; not forcing it on people but educating them so they can make better choices. Yeh!

Louanne F.

I shared the Roots and Shoots website with my niece, who teaches first grade in Florida, and with my minister, who spearheads all the mission trips and has an ongoing mission outreach in Africa. That's something we can all do, spread the word that there is a way to get people involved on a local level.


Love Jane's optimism. It is hard to keep on being optimistic sometimes when you are confronted to all these things that just make no sense at all on a everyday basis. In France we have a movie called DEMAIN by Cyril Dion and Mélanie Laurent which follow people around the world to find solutions. Here is a EN version if you want to know more and if you need more help to be hopeful : :)

Mary H.

referenced in this lesson (photo credit: DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images - available complimentary for 30 days from Getty images: See also our assembly at 2014 MLK Day march in ATL

Gretchin D.

I love all of her reasons for hope! Every single one of us truly can make a difference each day with the choices we make.

Mia S.

"This is something only discovered recently: social media. We know that social media can be used for very bad ends. It's very strange to find one of the or perhaps the greatest nations on the planet is now ruled by somebody who tweets. That, I don't think, is a good use of social media. I was in New York, I was part of a UN March for climate change, and the organizers thought maybe there'll be 80,000 people there. Actually, it was almost 400,000, and the police had to intervene and stop more people joining in for fear of people getting crushed in the crowd. What was happening? Everybody around me as I walked had out their little gadgets and they were tweeting and using Facebook and doing all the things that people do today. I don't use them, but I know what they can do. I could hear what they were saying: 'You must come and join, this is a great march, we're having fun and the weather's great... There's a lot of famous people here.' Meeting people coming from all directions, to join in this march - that was happening in major cities all around the world. That's what we can do now. We used to try and raise awareness by sending out letters or going door to door but now we can reach out to people we've never seen, we never will see - but people who share the same passion as we do, and bringing them together in this way means that the voices get louder and louder, and eventually will force politicians and big business to listen. Our voices will be heard more and more, and social media can play a major role in that."

Mia S.

"Then, each one of us has this intellect, so it's not just the technology - it's the way we lead our individual lives. Can we start thinking about the consequences of the little choices we make each day, what we buy, what we eat, what we wear? How will this affect the future generations? Has what we buy come a long way? Could we buy it closer and useless fossil fuel? Has it harmed animals, has it harmed people in the making of it? Do we need it?' All of these things we can think about, learn about, and make better, more ethical choices, every single day that we live on this planet.' My next reason to hope is the resilience of nature. Very clear, around Gombe, where the bare hill that I saw in 1991 are no longer bare. They've covered in trees. I've been to places that were completely destroyed, barren, sometimes it's a landfill - but if people care, and give nature time, then nature can come back. It may not ever be as it was before, but life can return. Nature will reassert itself, the plants will begin to grow, to provide homes for the insects and the birds. Yet today I find so many people can walk past - isn't it amazing that on a piece of paving, it's all concrete, and yet out of a little crack comes a little plant, and it's burst into flower? It's only small, perhaps, and I look at it and I marvel. I think, 'Yes, nature can win if we give her a chance.' There are so many incredible stories, I could spend hours talking about them, and I don't have hours to talk about them. It's really exciting, the resilience of nature, and animals on the brink of extinction can be given another chance. And because of the resilience of these creatures and plants, they can be given a second chance."

Mia S.

"One of the hopeful signs in what's happening now as environmental awareness increases is that, the heads of huge companies are beginning to see the writing on the wall, and those companies that can think far enough ahead and start planning for a time when water shortage will really get to terrible levels - oil and gas, it will run out, it's not going to go on forever. Therefore, the oil and gas companies that are furthest ahead with alternative energies, they will benefit - they will benefit over other companies that have gone clinging on to the old way of doing things. If I ever talk to the heads of the big oil and gas corporations - and some of them in China are actually funding our Roots & Shoots gatherings, because we need money for that (we only choose a couple of the companies that are the most ethical in the way that they explore and exploit the oil and gas. But when I talk to them I say, 'You know I really want to thank you for supporting our program because you know perfectly well that you are helping us to train young people not to buy your products. This, I hope, is going to force you to move further and further ahead in developing alternatives that will allow all of us to be free of fossil fuels, which will help to clean up the atmosphere for the future.' China is the first country to impose a total ban on the sale of ivory by the end of 2017, long before anybody thought they would. China is doing so much to mitigate the harm that they have inflicted on the environment - and it's the use of the intellect working out ways of doing things in a way that will allow us to live in better harmony with nature."