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Jane Goodall Shares Parenting Tips She Learned From Chimpanzees & the ‘Small Steps’ We Can Take for a Better Tomorrow

Since 1960, Dr. Jane Goodall has become one the world’s most recognized ethologists through her research and activism on chimpanzees and sustainability. But even with decades of tireless work under her belt, she doesn’t plan to stop spreading her message anytime soon. Talking to SheKnows at LA3C on behalf of the Jane Goodall Institute, Goodall shared her expert advice – from parenthood to eco-consciousness.

“I think that I learned the same sort of thing from watching chimpanzees and learning about my own mother and they way she raised me,” Goodall said, noting the similarity between her studies and her family. “The most important thing is support. You need to support your child in what they want to do, they might change their mind but don’t try and impose what you want your child to do on them, just support them.”

She added, “In chimpanzee society, the offspring of supportive mothers do better, they rise higher in the hierarchy, females have more offspring and look after more successfully so I think it’s the same for humans.” So well-put!

Dr. Jane Goodall arrives at LA3C held at Los Angeles State Historic Park on December 10, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.
Dr. Jane Goodall arrives at LA3C held at Los Angeles State Historic Park on December 10, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Michael Buckner for Penske Media) Michael Buckner for Penske Media

As for the environment, her other passion in addition to chimpanzees, Goodall shared what we can all do make the world a better place in the future. “There is absolutely, definitely small steps,” she said emphatically, reiterating that being more eco-friendly doesn’t have to mean completely changing your lifestyle.

“Everyday, everyone of us lives on the this planet we make some impact and we can choose what sort of impact we make,” she explained. “What do we buy? Where did it come from? Did it harm the environment? Is it cruel to animals? Is it cheaper than the unfair wages paid to people in the world? If so, don’t buy it!” We love the message, Jane!

She also added, “We need to alleviate poverty so that the poor people can make those same decisions.”

Also in our talk, Goodall discussed her biggest fear: apathy. “If people lose hope, they do nothing, they become apathetic,” she said, “If our young people become apathetic, we’re doomed.”

In fact, what she hopes for is quite the opposite: action. “We’re destroying the environment and we are stealing the future of our children so it’s desperately important that we get together and we each do our part to make the world a better place,” she said. “We have to face up to the fact that we are losing species very fast, face up to the fact that the climate is changing around the planet – it’s not just that it’s warming up, the weather patterns have changed. We now know that even in the developed world, the affects of climate change are with us and so it’s amazingly important to give people hope.”

May we all join Goodall’s message of hope and action in our everyday lives. After all, we all want the best for future generations (be it human or chimpanzee!).

Before you go, click here to see more movies that are honest about motherhood.

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