Jane Goodall puts out call to action after receiving honorary degree from Western University

Jane Goodall puts out call to action after receiving honorary degree from Western University
Goodall was presented with a Doctor of Science honoris causa at a special convocation ceremony, on Wednesday.

Speaking in the Paul Davenport Theatre, Goodall addressed the crowd after receiving her honorary degree.

She began by explaining that she loved animals from a very young age and how her mother supported her curiosity. She went on to talk about how she travelled to Africa and was eventually offered the opportunity to study human’s closest descendants, chimpanzees.

“I was taught the difference between us and other animals was one of kind. Partly thanks to the chimpanzees, we’ve made a breakthrough in scientific thinking,” said Goodall.

“We know now that we are truly part of the animal kingdom,” she said.

"We’re learning more and more about how arrogant we’ve been, and we learn new respect for these other creatures.

The chimpanzees were so helpful in breaking down this antiquated thinking, because we’ve learned how very like us biologically they are." – #JaneGoodall

“How tragic,” she says, “that we are so fast destroying this planet.”

Goodall also took the opportunity to call on all people to do their part in stopping the destruction of Earth.

“It seems to me there’s been some kind of divide between this clever, clever brain and the human heart, love and compassion,” she said.

“Only when head and heart work in harmony can we attain our true human potential.”

Each and every one of us makes some kind of difference each and every day. Only when head and heart work in harmony can we attain our true human potential. – Jane Goodall #purpleandproud

“I do believe there’s a window of hope for us, but only if each and every one of us does our part,” said Goodall.

The special convocation also presented some unique opportunities. Following her speech, Goodall fielded a few questions.

One of them asked what she would like to do next in her life, and Goodall answered that she would like to figure out what happens when we die.

“There’s either nothing or there’s something and if there’s something, then that would be such an exciting thing to discover,” she said.

At the ceremony, which was the university’s 311th convocation, Western also announced the creation of the Jane Goodall Research Award.

The $5,000 award will provide financial support to Western graduate students investigating great ape populations in Africa or Asia. The award targets early career female researchers from Canada, Africa or Asia, who are investigating how community conservation efforts undertaken by the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada are impacting great ape populations, officials said.

Goodall began her field study of chimpanzees in 1960. She was made a United Nations Messenger of Peace in 2002 and became a Dame of the British Empire in 2003.
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