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

Thank you to these #Tokyo2020 hopefuls who have shown that they are more than just good at their sport, but also good to their communities. Let's follow their lead.

Join P&G Good Everyday to do more good together.

Throughout his basketball career Michael Jordan has been criticized for not letting his voice be heard when it came to political change. That does not appear to be the case anymore. In the month of June alone, Michael Jordan and the Jordan Brand have donated $100 million dollars to organizations committed to race equality. A portion of the funds will be allocated to organizations helping to protect black voting rights.

In the latest announcement, Jordan himself and his Jordan Brand are investing $2.5 in organizations to help combat Black voter suppression. In a statement from the Jordan Brand, it was announced: $1 million dollars is being donated to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc. and $1 million to the Formerly Incarcerated and Convicted People and Families Movement. The Black Voters Matter organization will receive $500,000 in the statement which was first reported by CNN.


Keep Reading Show less
True

The United Nations is marking its 75th anniversary at a time of great challenge, including the worst global health crisis in its history. Will it bring the world closer together? Or will it lead to greater divides and mistrust?

Share your vision for shaping the future: take this 1-minute survey. Your responses to this survey will inform global priorities now and going forward.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is a badass in the movies, but he's increasingly building a reputation as a heroic "action star" in real life. Only, instead of dropping ungodly amounts of fake bullets into his enemies, Schwarzenegger has been dropping rhetorical bombs against his political opponents while building intellectual and emotional bridges to those who disagree with him but still have open hearts and minds.

The most recent example found Arnold responding to a comment someone made on Facebook. On the surface, that may sound like just about the least unique or original jumping off point for a story.




Keep Reading Show less

Those of us who grew up in the Alanis Morissette angst era and followed her through her transformation into a more enlightened version of herself may be thrilled to know she has a new album out. Such Pretty Forks in the Road is her first album in eight years—and the first since two of her three children were born.

Anyone who's been working from home with kids knows that we're all in the same frequently interrupted boat. Such is the pandemic life. But we've also seen how those very human moments when kids insert themselves into life are some of the most real and precious. And that reality comes shining through in Morissette's Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon performance of her new song, "Ablaze," which is, not so ironically, a song about her children. As she sings, it's clear that she's still got the chops that made her famous. It's also clear that her 4-year-old daughter, Onyx, just sees her mommy as mommy and not as the iconic pop star that she is. The performance is lovely and sweet, and hearing Onyx's little voice and seeing her put her hand over her mom's mouth as she sings is just too adorably real.

Keep Reading Show less