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Jane Goodall on the Future, Aging and Conservation

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MS: Many women fear getting older and you seem more active and vibrant than ever. What are your feelings about aging?

JG: Well, it’s an unfortunate thing that happens. I mean, yes, you can have millions of face lifts and all these different things that women have done to their bodies – whatever they’re called, bum tucks and boob enhancements [laughs] – but personally, well: A) I haven’t the money for that, and B) I haven’t got the time for it and C) I mean, there are more important things to me than how you look. I think the most important thing is to keep active, and to hope that your mind stays active. I mean some people can’t help minds going, but that’s a disease. But if you’re lucky and your mind is working … And I have to say that I attribute vast amounts of my energy to the fact that I stopped eating meat. I really, really believe that it helped me.

MS: In what way?

JG: Because the moment I stopped eating meat I felt lighter. I did this book Harvest for Hope and I learned so much about food. And one thing I learned is that we have the guts not of a carnivore, but of an herbivore. Herbivore guts are very long because they have to get the last bit of nutrition out of leaves and things. The carnivore guts are very short, because they want to get rid of the meat quickly before it starts putrefying and doing bad things inside them. And so we have this meat going round and round inside us. And I don’t think that can be terribly good. And I think that meat has created lots of problems. In addition, the animals to be kept alive are fed all these hormones and antibiotics and we are imbibing them as well. So anyway, all I know is that when I stopped eating meat, I just felt lighter and had more energy. My body wasn’t wasting time trying to cope with the toxins that the animals were trying to get rid of when you eat them.

MS: Well, that’s good to hear because I have been considering going vegan.

JG: Well, I can’t go vegan because travelling like I do, I really, really don’t think I could. You know, it’s really difficult. And I stay with people – we had a vegan staying us one time, and it’s very difficult. Three hundred days on the road – you go to North Korea – it’s jolly hard to be vegetarian much less a vegan [laughs]. But I do my best. And if people would think about intensive farming – if they would think of the damage to the environment of growing all this corn or raising all these cattle. If they would think about the torture of the animals on the intensive farms. And then if they would realize about the antibiotics getting out into the environment, the bacteria building up resistance and the superbugs that we are breeding, more people would become vegetarians.


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Marianne Schnall

Marianne Schnall is the founder of, a leading women’s website and nonprofit organization, and the cofounder of, a website promoting earth-friendly living. She is the author of Daring to Be Ourselves: Influential Women Share Insights on Courage, Happiness and Finding Your Own Voice.Through her writings, interviews, and websites, Marianne strives to raise awareness and inspire activism. For more information, visit and


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2:20PM PDT on May 27, 2013

Great interview!!

12:46PM PDT on Sep 25, 2011

You are such a wonderful inspiration, thank you for all that you have done!! Much Love

4:47AM PDT on Sep 18, 2011

Thank you!:))

12:55PM PDT on Sep 16, 2011

What a wonderful person Jane Goodall is.

6:15AM PDT on Sep 13, 2011

I love what she said about what the voice of the natural world would be! It's so true, I have always thought exactly that and I'm so glad that she's saying it :) What an amazing woman - someone whose values we must emulate!

9:07PM PDT on Sep 12, 2011

She is right, there is so much we can do. I hope that one day like she said, for the sake of our future we clean up our acts! Yes I am only one person, you are only one person but together we are many and can make a big difference! About 4 years ago I decided to be vegan and ever since I have learned more / experienced more of life then I ever imagined I could or would! It truly is an amazing feeling and its a small step towards a better future!

5:31AM PDT on Sep 12, 2011

"you get the white coated scientist who has a dog at home who’s part of the family who understands ever word I say – but then he goes and puts on his white coat and does unspeakable things to dogs in the name of science. There’s a real schizophrenia..." So true!

4:03AM PDT on Sep 12, 2011

Thank you for a very interesting article.

11:05PM PDT on Sep 11, 2011

good lessons from jane, thanks!

11:05PM PDT on Sep 11, 2011

good lessons from jane, thanks!

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