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Science & Tech

The Next Generation

Dr. Jane Goodall

Lesson time 7:21 min

We are on a downward path towards creating a planet that will no longer support human life. But Dr. Jane believes there is still hope for saving Earth, especially in young people.

Dr. Jane Goodall
Teaches Conservation
Dr. Jane Goodall shares her insights into animal intelligence, conservation, and activism.
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The most important role for a parent of a young child that I can give is the advice my mother gave to me about following your passion. And all children are different. We can't push them. If a child gets pushed to do something for the environment, they'll probably turn against it. If a child gets pushed to do something, to rescue a certain animal, they'll probably turn against it. The most important thing for a parent is to support the interests of the child. And maybe give them the opportunity to move in the direction that you hope they will, but don't force them, because that can have exactly the opposite effect. And it's the feeling of support that I think is so critical for a young child. And from all my observations of chimpanzees, from all that I've read of the child psychologists-- who, by the way, have taken a lot of lessons from the early information about chimp parenting-- it's become very clear to me that the first couple of years of life are tremendously important. And that it doesn't have to be the natural parents, but what that child needs is support from two, three individuals who are always there for them. Who won't let them down. Who don't disappear. And that's why some of the early childhood programs in poor areas are so terrible, because there's a turnover of staff. They're not really qualified. They don't really know how to handle children. There are too many children. The programs are always being cut in disadvantaged areas, and those children are being denied the chance that they would otherwise have of turning into caring and responsible adults. And I think one of the reasons that the far right is sweeping the world-- not just the United States, the UK, but other parts of the world-- is that in whole areas of society, certain sections have been deprived of proper education so that they're not able to get good jobs. So they're angry. So they want change. They feel the government's let them down-- and it has. [MUSIC PLAYING] When young people want to-- a lot of them say, I want to do something like you do. I want to get involved with studying animal behavior. I want to go into the field. And the first advice I always give them is, you've got to really want it, because competition is tough. Funding is difficult to get hold of. You have to be prepared for disappointments. And so you've got to really, really want to do what you're doing. And you've got to be prepared to work very hard. Probably the best advantage is to try-- in summer break, for example-- to go and volunteer on one of the programs so that you get a feeling for what it's like in the field. And a lot of conservation science these days-- or just science learning about animal behavior-- is quite boring, because you have to learn time sampling. You have to have check sheets. You fill in data every so often, or you go out and you check differe...

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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.

What an inspiration! I need to be out there doing something about the world now.

Very inspiring, amazing class & fantastic journey. We can change the World !

Each Master Class has helped me, at the very least, on a technical and professional level. I have become a better writer because of them. Jane Goodall's is the first I feel has helped put me on the path to become a better human being. I can never thank her enough.

This was an amazing treat - to learn all about Jane's history, what fueled her initial interest in chimpanzees, all the valuable information she learned about them, and then how she then became such an activist for conservation. She is a true gift to humanity.


Bernardo F.

Watching a girl like Greta Thunberg following your steps, working side to side with you, speaking up for those who can't or aren't listened gives me hope. Even though there are people, mostly the olds, who criticize her, that say there are interests that she's covering, I believe there are many people out there that want a change and that feel hope every time she or another person raises the voice. If we have time... I'm not sure, but at least we know that this is the last chance we have to do something, and I would gladly give my best.

Antonia T.

I'm very skeptical about the future of our planet. For a real change we need laws that protect the environment, stop the killing animal machine that produces meat & death, forbid the production of unnecessary plastic and paper, and so on. You can think that you are making a change by not eating meat or fighting for climate change, but I sadly thing that these changes only make you feel good, but the planet & the animals and the trees continue suffering as much. The sad truth is that factories, big companies and small companies too will continue killing forests, animals, and the environment as long as they allow to do it.

A fellow student

Dear Masterclass, please make this masterclass free on your website. Her message is so so important...!

Gabriela L.

Jane, maybe I'm not so young anymore (I'm turning 35 next year), but something has really changed inside me from lesson one till now. I took your masterclass because I was a little bit curious about chimps (although I'm not a biologist or scientist), but as long as I was hearing your speech I began to become aware about the big problems you are talking about (of course I've heard about them before, but I felt like they were just "words" or even "myths"). Then I did a little research on the internet and I watched a video about scientific experiments with monkeys and chimps: I really couldn't stand it. I also watched a 12-minutes documentary called "From Farm to Fridge", about the extrem violence animals we eat suffer, and... I just cried and promess myself no to eat meat anymore, to really try hard to become a vegan. So, tonight I had my dinner and I chose another kind of healthier foodstuff, like soja milk, dried fruits and apples. As you told us, one little person, like me, can make significant changes for the environment and the wellness' other living beings.

Kevin W.

It's so important to be aware of your own politics when teaching children. No matter how fervently you believe what you believe, your opinion is still just an opinion. Teach children facts and guide them, but let them ultimately make up their own mind. My son (5) only recently pieced together that 'chicken' the food is the same thing as 'chicken' the animal. When he asked about it, I explained to him honestly what we were eating and how they get it. I'm not a vegetarian myself, and I've already sorted out how I feel about meat philosophically, but if eating meat is something he doesn't want to participate in, I'll support his choice. Every days kids are given lessons they don't necessarily understand, but they understand when an adult wants them to do something and are generally inclined to agree with their parents. That's a big responsibility on our part to persuade them as little as possible towards things we took years to sort out for ourselves.


How interesting to hear Jane share her thoughts the global movement towards the 'right' side of politics and how this is related to many groups of people having lacked sufficient 'education' in their early years...! I have often wondered about this as a student of Sociology, and as someone who has had experience as a childcare worker. I have witnessed first-hand the ways in which children are not really being given that support they need in the crucial early years of development (as hard as many devoted carers may try). It is like she said - there is a high turnover of staff (not enough support for them most of the time either!), many children, etc... Many parents (particularly those with relatively lower salaries or no salaries at all) feel as though they have no other choice but to work and send their children to daycare centres from the age of 6 months, which is really such a shame.. I put 'education' in quotation marks earlier because I think we tend to think of academic skills only - reading, writing, numeracy - however, education is so much broader than that and a lot of children are missing out on the kind of moral education that Jane speaks of. It all reflects short-sighted thinking, the fact that in our 'advanced' economies we still have so many people struggling to simply make ends meet... Do we need more of a far-sighted perspective, to be able to move towards a more sustainable future?

Hayley S.

Even though I don't want children of my own, my niece is the one who inspires me to keep teaching her. Showing her to love and care for animals and the environment to always keep the planet in mind and she's very excited by it all.

Iris K.

All around me I hear a lot of people talking about: we should, or humanity should. But We or humanity is not a person who I can address this problem to. I try to talk in first-person singular nominative: I. I think it is about making sacrifices. Do I give up daily showers because it is a waste of water; yes I do. Do I want to give up eating meat and fish? Yes, I recently stopped eating animals... Otherwise, I just keep on looking at what other people do not seem to be willing to do and therefore I could think, if you don't do it, I won't either, but that is part of the problem. At first I didn't want to change some of my habits because of big companies and governments do not take enough action.... but in the end it is just me and my descision. I must say it can be really inspirational trying new foods, looking for alternative ways in all sorts of things.

Belinda M.

The human race is now obliged to repair the damage and give back to the planet what our greed has taken. But before we face our obligation we need to educate our next generations. Will that education be a gradual process, as Dr Jane advocates, or will it be a harsh reality and a slow rejuvenation of the human race? I hope its the former, although we really don't deserve it.

Mary H.

Callaway Garden report of unusual variety of squirrel in SW Georgia. Conservationist Mary Hollowell witnessed, today.