Jane Goodall: Rewind The Future
Sunday, May 19
It was such a thrill to see and hear Dr Jane Goodall speak. The 85-year-old living legend of science, a primatologist, conservationist, activist, mentor who, Sir David Attenborough aside, is truly without peer, has been in our lives as a voice of compassion and knowledge. Through multiple film and TV appearances, her books and studies we have grown up with her – and know the story of how, at just age 26, she moved to Gombe Stream National Park, Tanzania to begin her ground-breaking research. Thanks to Dr. Jane Goodall we have learned so much about the relationships between humans and animals, learning about our own species through the studies of apes and other animals.
For her Rewind The Future talk we heard Goodall tell the important time-marks of her life, from four hours spent hiding in a hen-house to see how eggs were delivered when she was just four years old through to a first trip to Africa at 23 and then to her years of formal and field study.
The message of her deep concern of the destruction of the environment was delivered via the ray of hope she holds in the next generation and it was heartening to look around the full venue and see plenty of families in attendance, engaged young people listening and learning and aware of the magnitude of not only the task we have shrugged off to them but of the enormity of mana around the evening’s speaker.
Goodall then introduced local 16-year-old Maha Fier, a member of the Jane Goodall Institute NZ’s Roots & Shoots program.
Following a slightly long intermission we heard a few songs from TrinityRoots – they played well and fit the tone of the evening with their songs that reference ecology and environment – but it merely added to the length and a better option might have been for them to play during the intermission – allowing some entertainment for those keen to remain in their seats rather than making a further donation to the Goodall cause via the purchasing of merchandise.
The second half of the event featured a fireside chat between Goodall and the evening’s MC Jesse Mulligan. He had introduced Goodall at the start of the evening walking a nice line between gentle humour and the urgency of the call to arms. This vibe continued through his Q&A which included Twitter-sourced audience questions and allowed Goodall to fill in some gaps from her earlier presentation – including animal facts, further biographical details and some reflection on the recent documentary portrait, Jane.
Her energy, style and approach made it easy to forget that the whole show was a giant advertisement for her institute – not that there’s anything wrong with such an ad, our ticket price and merch purchases going to assist the very good awareness-raising, research and education that the institute promotes and provides.
Simple take-homes included moving towards a more plant-based diet for humans, compassion, warmth and Goodall’s profound understanding that the heart and head must be connected for true human potential to be unlocked. She said with a weary resignation that the concept has been lost along the way. There was a class to the way she spoke though – not merely Capitalism Bad, Jane Good. The message was clear. The advice sound. The hope…wavering…but ultimately still there. Still and always hopeful.
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