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Science & Tech


Dr. Jane Goodall

Lesson time 14:16 min

Water is one of our most precious resources. And yet, Dr. Jane says we take it for granted. Here’s how we should think about water before it's too late.

Dr. Jane Goodall
Teaches Conservation
Dr. Jane Goodall shares her insights into animal intelligence, conservation, and activism.
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One of the real big threats that we face in the future is shortage of fresh water supplies. And people are always saying, we'll eventually run out of oil and gas. We can live without oil and gas. We know the alternatives. We cannot live without water. Life cannot exist without water. It's what people search for when they find a new planet circling around another sun, might it sustain life, is there water there. And unfortunately, we are so many people are just taking water for granted. They-- a major problem is because of human population growth, and because of this idea that we can play around with nature, huge amounts of water being diverted from the underground aquifers to irrigate areas to grow crops which should not be growing crops because the water supply isn't sufficient. So bringing this water up from deep down below, draining the aquifers, at the same time the runoff from the agriculture polluting that groundwater and then down into the deep aquifers. You know, this is causing huge, huge problems. And I've actually spoken with people who said, well, on this farm there used to be little pools and little springs. And everything was green and .. But now, in order to get water, we have to drill down. And each year we have to drill a little bit deeper. So where will this end? Some people foresaw a future where water shortage was going to lead to war. And I'm told that certain companies sent people around to actually buy up the rights to aquifers in different countries. And it's tragic that there is so much waste of water. And it makes me really upset that you can go into a shop and you can buy water from Fiji, and it boasts that it's come 2,000 miles over the sea, and it's fresh water from Fiji. And to bring water from Fiji, what's it doing to the ecosystem in Fiji? And what about the fossil fuel used to bring it. And yet, people will buy a bottle. They'll have a glass full. And the rest will get thrown away. We waste water. People are not thinking because-- and I think it's especially true in the United States. You go to every gas station, and you press a button, and you get free ice coming out. And that ice is just to keep some drink cool in your freezer so that you can enjoy a cool drink. And then the ice is all thrown out. And water is being wasted, wasted, wasted. Fortunately, some restaurants are beginning to offer you water. And would you like your glass refilled? But most restaurants, they just fill you up automatically. And then what happens to the water? It's wasted. [MUSIC PLAYING] Thinking about the importance of water leads us to think about the ocean, because it's into the ocean that the streams and the rivers drain. And what's happening to the streams and the rivers in so many places is that the runoff from industrial and agricultural and household waste is draining down...

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.

I loved this class. It was like an opportunity to sit and have a cup of tea and a conversation with Jane Goodall herself. She is so wise, graceful and compassionate. I am still processing what the ideas imparted mean to me and what I will do with them. I can say that it is about continuing Jane’s message of hope. I am so grateful for this class.

Eye Opener! Her compassion and care lives in my heart...

Dr. Goodall's MasterClass has had an immediate impact in my life. From taking a shorter shower, to furthering my interest in a plant-based diet, and feeling I've yet to unleash my indomitable spirit, I can't speak well enough about this class. Thank you Dr. Goodall, and thank you MasterClass!!

This was a fantastic class taught by a truly saintly woman who represents the actions of hope of which she so eloquently speaks!!!


Bernardo F.

We haven't been taught the real value of water, that's why we waste so much (same as with other resourses). I began to see how much water I wasted on my toilet when I had a field trip and the place where we stayed had this dry toilets you mention, sadly I can not have one in my house, and most people that live in urban zones can't, but we've taken action saving the most water we can. Small actions such as closing the shower or the tap when not really using it, using rinse water to water the plants or washing the floor. Here in Mexico City tap water is really cheap, and sometimes I see people using hoses to wash their cars, the street or the front of their houses. A really clever argument that my father uses is saying: would you use brand-water to do the same? Sometimes the people understand, others just answer "I pay for this water". As I said earlier, lack of education.

Antonia T.

Take out the huge animal killing machine for food (that kills more than 200 million of land animals a day!) and the water problem will be solved. Long showers, flushing the toilet, and using ice cubs have very little to do with the huge water problem. Big factories, big companies, "garbage" (non-organic) agriculture & the killing meat machine are to blame! Plastic is horrible, I agree. It should not be produced or at least be regulated by law.

Catherine T.

To be fair the vast majority of water waste is coming from corporations, excessive agriculture and manufacturing, not people taking kinda long showers. It's good to be conscious of water usage but we should also be careful not to deflect blame from where the blame belongs. If we wag our fingers at long-shower-takers we're being distracted from the people doing the most harm.

Diana H.

I have been trying to cut back on water in my use of bath for pain. I luckily live in a place where I can use rainwater outside. Cutting back on eating foods that waste water was a challenge in the beginning as it is very much like an addiction when you are raised eating in a way that is not sustainable. The more we learn about the impact the better we can bring our community along the path of ethical choice with us. I appreciate that Jane speaks to what it is like for people with less money to make these changes that can in the initial phase be more expensive and how that is a block many people contend with here and abroad.

René P.

There is a very straightforward way to cut your own personal water consumption. It's the adoption of some form of a Whole Foods Plant-Based Diet (WFPBD) By sidestepping the production process of transforming vegetable and plant protein into flesh protein. The benefits of a dietary choice such as a WFPBD are realized in many other areas of human physiological health and stewardship of the larger environment, but the amount of water that can be left alone and safeguarded is a convincing reality. Estimates vary, but practitioners of a WFPBD stand to cut their own personal water consumption levels in half. And as a bonus your carbon footprint is also reduced by about half of a conventional Western Diet....and the majority of adopters experience and report better and improved health, energy levels, disease remediation, and so on.


It really is terrifying to know how much water is being wasted on a day-to-day basis. Hopefully humanity can better understand this fact in the near future and find at least some new solutions for this massive problem. I loved how Dr. Jane incorporated many important facts in this lesson about water, and about the whole plastic issue (it has to be said more often so people can realize why they NEED to always recycle), and a lot of what she mentioned was so informative yet so shocking, that you just have to sit back and shake your head at how many things us humans can be better at when it comes to conserving something so simple as fresh water.

Mary H.

The film Chasing Coral, recommended to me by a student, is interesting.

Mary H.

legal action to stop water pollution


As a creative copywriter I used to imagine and put words on big companies campaings which were shockingly greenwashing their wrongdoings, making their consummers focusing about "fake solutions", buying themselves a brand new clean consciousness. CoCa Cola is one of them. Advertising agencies are paid to do so everyday for clients from all sectors. Now imaging using that same energy and all these people toward clever solutions, best practices and better reusable products. Companies with strong ethics. Admen and women promoting a better way of living for all (fish included). We all are consummers therefore we are all powerful. We should feel responsible for what we buy how we buy and why. Get to know the companies you are buying products from and question their products and actions. It is causing more harm than it is doing good? Are you ok with this? Would your children be ok too?

Louanne F.

Wow, lots to think about with this one! I loved her comments about cruise ships and golf courses - we are so spoiled in this world to take pleasure at the expense of the environment, I'm sure that if you thought about everything you do from day to day you would be appalled by the amount of waste we all do without even a second's thought.