Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall seems too good to be true. A beautiful, English scientist, she found her calling without much training – she went to Tanzania in 1960 when she was 26 to study wild chimpanzees with a notebook. The thing that made her different was she excelled at listening and observing. Through that talent, she discovered chimpanzees were quite similar to humans (points for evolution theorist) – they make tools, eat and hunt and hunt for meet, and have humanistic social behaviors (taking care of each other, forming families, fighting wars.)

Anyway, that’s all the stuff you can find out online. I think it’d make a great feel-good movie that probably already exists. She’s a global conservationist and a lot of people look to her for inspiration. She did a Reddit conversation a few years ago, and she says a lot of encouraging things. Here’s a quick summary: how to fight despair and apathy over how cruddy the world is? She says we have a few things going for us: 1) The energy and commitment of young people; 2) our awesome human brain; and 3) the human spirit.

Here’s what she said that trips me out:

“I think there’s a growing tendency to explore the intellectual ability of all kinds of different animals, and now we even know trees and plants can communicate through pheromones spreading messages in the wind or through micro fungus in the roots sending messages through the ground. And because science has now opened its mind to the possibility of intelligence in creatures, we are learning so much more and it’s a very exciting time.”

I have heard this concept once before on a podcast interview with Ann Harris who says she has observed that there is behavior in trees that indicate they are COMMUNICATING. Are you actually telling me that trees and plants are sentient beings? That blows me away. What the heck.

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