Happy 90th Birthday to Dr. Jane Goodall!

Por: Lilly Briggs
abril 3, 2024

Happy 90th birthday to one of the most inspirational women of our times! I have looked up to Dr. Jane Goodall since I was a little girl, and although there is a saying that goes “never meet your heroes,” I feel incredibly lucky that I had the opportunity to meet one of mine. 

The summer before starting my second year of high school, I participated in a weeklong environmental education program called the LIFEBoat Flotilla, that took me and two hundred other teenagers on a trip around the Gulf Islands of British Columbia, stopping at different sites to learn about sustainable forestry, ocean conservation, First Nations culture, and more. We were transported on a flotilla of boats that donated their time to the event.

I felt like I won the lottery the day they told us that Dr. Goodall would be having lunch on OUR boat, and then I even managed to score a seat beside her. What do you ask Jane Goodall when you are given the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sit next to her at lunch?

I’ll never forget what I asked:

“How do you think I can motivate a friend of mine to stop bringing her lunch in disposable saran wrap, and use reusable Tupperware instead?”

What? What kind of a question is that? I’ll admit that I’ve looked back on that moment many times over the years and wished I had asked a better question.

Nonetheless, her response was as sincere and motivating as you would expect from seeing her give a talk or an interview. She suggested I give my friend small steps—reducing waste for one aspect of her lunch at a time, rather than all at once. And she encouraged me to keep gently insisting, to never give up in trying to inspire others to take environmental action, no matter how big or small. 

Nearly 30 years later, I’m still applying Dr. Goodall’s advice. Especially the part to keep gently insisting, to never stop pushing for positive environmental change, even when it makes me “difficult.”

As Dr. Goodall has said, “It actually doesn’t take much to be considered a difficult woman, that’s why there are so many of us.”

Thank you so much, Dr. Jane Goodall, for all you have done as a champion of conservation, for your constant messages of hope, and for being one of the most inspiring “difficult” women. 

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