MS: People think of you as the voice of the animal world. What does the animal world, what do chimpanzees, what would they say if they could speak? What is the voice of the natural world?
JG: The voice of the natural world would be, “Could you please give us space and leave us alone to get along with our own lives and our own ways, because we actually know much better how to do it then when you start interfering. ” You know, give nature space – it is resilient. Unfortunately we’ve messed it up so much we have to go in and manage very often. We have to, otherwise they would all disappear. Which I don’t think they want to be managed – they might want to be helped from time to time.
MS: Many people think of you as a living legend. What do you think is your legacy and what would you like to be remembered most for?
JG: Well, partly for helping people understand the true nature of animals and to better understand their relationship to the rest of the natural world. And I think my job has become nowadays bringing hope to people. Because I think that’s my job.
MS: What’s your wish for the children of the future, or just in general for the future?
JG: Well, without the children there’s no future. That basically we come to our senses! That we really, truly do start regaining wisdom. If we just regain wisdom, and join our hearts to our heads, then I think in the future we would not be making the decisions that some of these big multinationals are making. We wouldn’t decide to throw pesticides over huge areas of the land knowing it’s actually going to harm not only the pests, but the biodiversity and eventually us. We wouldn’t be building nuclear plants not knowing what to do with the nuclear wastes. If we stopped doing all these things, if we just thought about the future. All these decision affect the future. So my hope for the future is that we learn wisdom again.
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Photo of Jane Goodall (c) Michael Neugebauer