Editor’s Note: This story incorrectly identifies Jane Goodall as National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence. Goodall is no longer affiliated with National Geographic. The Daily Nexus regrets this error.
World-renowned scientist and humanitarian Jane Goodall visited downtown Santa Barbara’s Arlington Theater last night to give a lecture on issues ranging from the environment to the effects of 9/11 and, of course, chimps.
Goodall spoke for nearly an hour and a half to a sold-out, 2,018-member audience. She is best known for her research with the chimpanzees of Gombe National Park in Tanzania. Goodall received the third Ghandi/King Award for nonviolence in 2001. Queen Elizabeth II made her a British dame last year, and she is a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence.
A noted environmentalist as well as animal rights activist, Goodall expressed her concern for a world with rapidly diminishing natural resources.
“Water is going to be the great problem of the century. We’re losing our water; water tables are dropping. Millions of people do not have access to clean running water,” Goodall said.
She said every person can help save the environment by making small but important contributions such as saving water, electricity and energy, and making smart decisions as consumers.
“If we all do our little bit all around the world, can you imagine the difference? Make ethical choices in what we buy and what we don’t buy,” Goodall said. “We simply don’t have to buy products by companies that aren’t ethical whether it’s environmental or social. We don’t have to buy anything that’s made with child labor. We don’t have to buy cosmetics tested on animals; it’s not necessary,” she said.
Goodall said environmentalists experienced a minor setback following the events of 9/11 because many U.S. citizens felt uneasy bringing up environmental issues at a time of intense nationalism and patriotic fervor.
“As I traveled around after [9/11], there were so many Americans who were afraid to talk about caring for the environment in case they were considered to be nonpatriotic,” Goodall said. “You mustn’t complain about drilling for oil in Alaska because that’s good for the war effort, and you’re not patriotic if you don’t want to do everything you can for the war effort. And I was saying to people that this is wrong, we’re destroying the environment already.”
Kate Symonds, a biologist for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said she was impressed Goodall was able to keep a lecture about environmental issues interesting and positive.
“I was prepared for a lecture that might be sobering and maybe depressing when she’s talking about world and environmental matters, but I think she did a good job on keeping it on the upbeat side,” Symonds said.
Cori Paul, a senior zoology major at UCSB, said she considers Goodall’s work as a scientist influential to her own plans to pursue a career in science.
“She’s definitely a positive role model. She started out about the same age I am now; nobody thought that she was going to make it alone and in the jungle,” Paul said. “Her discoveries just by sitting and watching the animals proved that humans were not the only ones to use tools, and my whole thing is that humans aren’t the only ones who use language.”