5 perfect things Jane Goodall told Reddit about hope, work, and Bigfoot.

On Sept. 13, Jane Goodall held a Reddit Ask Me Anything, or AMA, session.

The question-and-answer session gave the internet a chance to pick the famous anthropologist's brain. Goodall is a world-famous primatologist and conservationist, and her work with chimpanzees in Tanzania — not to mention her activism and remarkable common sense — has earned her a ton of fans, including bigwigs like John Oliver and Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Goodall hosted the Reddit event in part to promote her new online class about animal intelligence and environmental action.


Goodall at a German zoo in 2004. Photo from Jens Schlueter/AFP/Getty Images.

Between questions about whether she has pets (no, she travels too much) or if she believes in Bigfoot (she's open to the idea), Goodall spoke openly about her life, her work, and humanity's future.

The entire discussion is worth a read, but if you can't set aside enough time to read all 3,684 (and counting!) comments, here are five big points from Goodall's AMA that are worth checking out.

1. Hard work can defy even the most ardent critics.

Ever since she was young, Goodall says, she wanted to go to Africa and study animals. A lot of people laughed at her.

"They told me girl students cannot do that," she said. "But I had a wonderful mother who had supported my love of animals ever since I was born, and she said to me if you really want to do this, then you’re going to have to work very hard and take advantage of opportunity.”

Screenshot via Reddit.

Today, Goodall — a world-renowned scholar, conservationist, and peacemaker — is an example to others of just how far hard work can take you.

2. Animals are more human than we give them credit for.

When asked how she wanted to world to see her work, Goodall said she'd like to be remembered as the person who encouraged humans to consider the animal mind — which we didn't do much before the mid-1960s.

Screenshot via Reddit.

Goodall's time with the chimps at Gombe National Park revealed their great intelligence and emotional range. From watching an older male adopt an orphaned baby to seeing chimps wage bloody war against each other, the scenes Goodall documented changed how we thought about the animal mind.

Goodall says she hopes we continue to explore the field of animal intelligence well into the future. After all, there's still a lot to find out.

3. In case you didn't know, Doctor Dolittle books are pretty awesome.

Screenshot via Reddit.

OK, so maybe this isn't world-shattering, but anyone who's read them knows it's true. Doctor Doolittle was the main character in a series of children's books in the 1920s about an English doctor and naturalist who can speak to animals and spends his days helping and studying them.

In other questions, Goodall  shared other personal facts, like her favorite color (green, although she's fond of blues as well), some of her favorite music (classical and Michael Jackson), and an appreciation for a certain Far Side cartoon.

4. There are plenty of actions we can take to help protect both animals and the planet.

Screenshot via Reddit.

Over the course of several questions, Goodall listed a variety of ways people can help, from spreading awareness and getting involved in local efforts, to raising funds, to even simple things like changing what we buy and what we eat (Goodall is a cheese-eating vegetarian, she says).

Goodall says she's seen firsthand what happens when people change. One of the things she says she's most proud of is helping empower local Africans to save their national park, transforming it from a green island barely holding on into a national treasure.

5. Finally, while the world might seem dark sometimes, she still thinks we'll reach our true human potential together.

"As we look at what is happening in the world today, it is very, very grim," said Goodall. So much seems to be going wrong all at once, people feel helpless. They give up.

But Goodall isn't ready to give up. "I have reasons for hope," she says.

Screenshot via Reddit.

Young people have been empowered and fired up to take action. Clean energy is on the rise. Social media, harnessed for good, can unite billions of people for a cause and change politics. And, finally, there's always the human spirit.

“Only when the head and heart work in harmony can we reach our true human potential," said Goodall. "And this, I believe, is to come.”

True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Vanna White appeared on "The Price Is Right" in 1980.

Vanna White has been a household name in the United States for decades, which is kind of hilarious when you consider how she gained her fame and fortune. Since 1982, the former model and actress has made millions walking back and forth turning letters (and later simply touching them—yay technology) on the game show "Wheel of Fortune."

That's it. Walking back and forth in a pretty evening gown, flipping letters and clapping for contestants. More on that job in a minute…

As a member of Gen X, television game shows like "Wheel of Fortune" and "The Price is Right" send me straight back to my childhood. Watching this clip from 1980 of Vanna White competing on "The Price is Right" two years before she started turning letters on "Wheel of Fortune" is like stepping into a time machine. Bob Barker's voice, the theme music, the sound effects—I swear I'm home from school sick, lying on the ugly flowered couch with my mom checking my forehead and bringing me Tang.

This video has it all: the early '80s hairstyles, a fresh-faced Vanna White and Bob Barker's casual sexism that would never in a million years fly today.

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