One of the most rare and beautiful human beings the world has ever known is Jane Goodall. The primatologist and anthropologist has been an important figure to me since I was young. I can recall dressing up as her for career day in third grade wearing a safari hat and donning a hanging pink Velcro monkey around my neck. To me she was and still is the greatest. But she’s so much more than the woman with the chimps. Jane Goodall has devoted her life to activism, science, primates, and making the world a place where everyone and everything can coexist. She wanted us to try our best and then go further.
This week Koko the gorilla, who is known for having mastered a modified version of American Sign Language, passed away at the ripe age of forty-six. Heartfelt messages came pouring out for Koko and reminded many that these are not “just animals”. Since Koko could only sign, we don’t have many direct quotes from her, so instead here are ten quotes from Jane Goodall, who gives a voice to primates.
1. “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
2. “In what terms should we think of these beings, nonhuman yet possessing so very many human-like characteristics? How should we treat them? Surely we should treat them with the same consideration and kindness as we show to other humans; and as we recognize human rights, so too should we recognize the rights of the great apes? Yes.”
3. “We have the choice to use the gift of our life to make the world a better place–or not to bother”
4. “Only if we understand, can we care. Only if we care, we will help. Only if we help, we shall be saved.”
5. “The least I can do is speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves.”
6. “Change happens by listening and then starting a dialogue with the people who are doing something you don’t believe is right. ”
7. “A sense of calm came over me. More and more often I found myself thinking, “This is where I belong. This is what I came into this world to do.”
8. “Every individual matters. Every individual has a role to play. Every individual makes a difference.”
9. “I think the best evenings are when we have messages, things that make us think, but we can also laugh and enjoy each other’s company. ”
10. “It is these undeniable qualities of human love and compassion and self-sacrifice that give me hope for the future. We are, indeed, often cruel and evil. Nobody can deny this. We gang up on each one another, we torture each other, with words as well as deeds, we fight, we kill. But we are also capable of the most noble, generous, and heroic behavior.”
Featured Image Via G Adventures