Jane Goodall Podcast: Hopecast Episode 1 – You Are Reason For Hope!

11 January 2021

Hope is a word that often gets used in important speeches, in critical moments, in Star Wars films, and in our darkest hours – but what is hope? There are many explanations for the word, including from the late Old English hopa ‘confidence in the future,’ or from c. 1200 as ‘expectation of something desired;’ also ‘trust, confidence; wishful desire.’ So what does hope mean to Jane Goodall? For a woman who defied the odds to change the world, Jane has lived a life propelled by hope. But it is not enough to expect something to happen, or to desire it. You must have confidence in the future, take action and trust – trust of yourself and in others. That is what the Jane Goodall Hopecast is all about. After a truly unimaginable 2020, that is what we aim to make 2021 about.

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So today, we usher in a new age of hope; one that builds on the vision of Dr. Goodall of hope turned into action. A vision that unifies through storytelling, and connects us through a shared will to create a better future for all. In the long awaited premiere episode of the Jane Goodall Hopecast, Jane takes us on a journey through her past to explain her present recording from her childhood home in Bournemouth, England. This is the first time Jane has been in one place for longer than two weeks in nearly three decades, and the urgency to share her message is greater than ever.

In a fireside style chat, Jane shares intimate stories from her childhood, including how growing up during World War II taught her to take nothing for granted, and why she believes hope is essential to fuel positive action, individually and together, for a better world. While Jane doesn’t shy away from the adversity we face – the Sixth Great Extinction and the Climate Crisis in particular – she shares the importance and power of making space for hope, as it spurs the indomitable human spirit to take action, even in the most grim situations.

Now through the Jane Goodall Hopecast, she will share stories of hope and resilience, encouraging listeners to embrace the power of every individual to make a difference for people, other animals, and the rich tapestry of life with whom we share this precious planetary home.

At the End of the Rainbow: Stay to the end of the episode to hear a rare archival clip of Jane speaking at the ‘Understanding Chimpanzees’ conference in Chicago, Illinois, in 1986, which was the catalyst moment that transformed Jane from a scientist to activist.


Feel hopeful and inspired to act with the Jane Goodall Hopecast by subscribing on Apple podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google podcasts, and anywhere podcasts are found. The Jane Goodall Hopecast is produced by the Jane Goodall Institute. Our production partner is FRQNCY Media. Michelle Khouri is our executive producer, Enna Garkusha is our producer, and Matthew Ernest Filler is our editor and sound designer. Our music is composed and performed by Ruth Mendelsohn with additional violin tracks from Angie Shear. Sound design and music composition for the Conservation chorus is by Matthew Ernest Filler.

Follow us at @janegoodallau on social and learn more at janegoodall.org.au.

Join us Hopecasters, you are reason for hope.

SUBMIT TO OUR MAILBAG: Now, you also have the chance to submit for the opportunity to be featured in our minisodes! Share what your greatest reasons for hope are, questions for Jane, or stories of being inspired by Jane for a chance to be featured.

BECOME AN OFFICIAL HOPECASTER: And that’s not all – the Jane Goodall Hopecast is a movement fueled by hope and driven by the action of each and every one of you, our Hopecasters. To keep hope alive and help transform it into real change, you have the opportunity to support the Jane Goodall Hopecast today! By becoming an official Hopecaster, you’ll get access to a special Hopecaster gift, early notice of new episodes, special discounts, and other exclusive podcast opportunities. Join us as a Hopecaster, making this podcast and movement possible as we get curious, grow compassion, and take action to build a brighter tomorrow.

Become (or gift) an Official Hopecaster Today


Jane Goodall 0:02
JANESPLASH: I do believe in the indomitable human spirit, I’ve seen examples of incredible survival through traumatic times, like, I treasure a leaf from a tree in Nagasaki that survived the atom bomb that was dropped, that ended the war in Japan, World War Two. And so the more that these things impinge upon me and made me angry, and I think the anger manages to push aside the depression, because I suppose I was born a fighter, but a fighter in a rather different way from getting out there and being aggressive because I don’t think that works. You’ve just got to be calm, and tell stories and try and get people to change from within.

Conservation Choir 0:54
CONSERVATION CHOIR INTRO: There’s so many ways we can save our planet. What is there without hope? I just want people to find empathy. Can nature bounce back? The earth is special because… Jane Goodall made me believe in my own power. She devoted her life to this. Together, we can. Together, we will. What is your greatest reason for hope? I’m Jane Goodall, and this is the Hopecast.

Jane Goodall 1:28
INTRO: Welcome to the first episode of the Hopecast. This podcast has been some time in the making. And I’m so excited for us to have this space to feel a sense of shared hope for our planet. This season, I’m excited to introduce you to people who inspire me with their work in conservation. I’ll be talking to friends, old and new, getting diverse perspectives on what it’s going to take for us to help heal some of the damage that’s been done. But for this first episode, it’s just you and me. I’ll be sharing some of my own story with you while also setting the stage for episodes to come. So why is this called the Hopecast? Because I believe in the power of hope. I believe hope is what spurs us into action. And I do believe in the indomitable human spirit.

When I first was what I called grounded in the UK at the beginning of lockdown, I was frustrated and angry. And I was used to traveling 300 days a year around the world and talking to people, packed auditoriums, you know, up to 10-15,000 people. And suddenly now I’m stuck here. And then I thought, well, there’s not much point being angry and frustrated. So we decided to build a virtual Jane. And that virtual Jane has managed to reach millions more people in many more countries than if I’d been doing my normal tours. And apparently, I’ve done fairly well, because people say that they are moved, they do get the message loud and clear.

I think the success of the podcast or Hopecast is extending the audience to whom I can try and bring a message of hope. Because we’re living through such dark times. I mean, everywhere you look, the climate, the politics, it’s pretty grim. And if people lose hope, then we may as well give up because if you don’t have hope, what’s the point? Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die? But it’s that hope. I think that’s enabled us humans to emerge from the days when surely laboring over making a stone tool, a lot of work, there must have been hope that this stone tool would help you find your meal for the evening. You’re hunting dangerous, big animals, there must have been hope that you would succeed, or you would give up.

So I think hope has been a part of our human evolution. A force that’s pushed us to where we are today. But because there is so much darkness in the world now, it’s more important than ever to try and keep that flame of hope alive, especially for young people. I’m hoping that podcasts along with the other things I’m doing virtually can give an extra little energy and hope to the people listening.

If one wants to reach people, if one wants to change attitudes, you have to reach the heart. You can reach the heart by telling stories, not by arguing with people’s intellect. Especially if you’re talking to the older old guys who I had CEOs of so many corporations and in government, they’re not going to really want to change the way they feel, if somebody like me is talking to them. But if I can reach the heart, you know, the very best way for people to change is from within and not because they’re pressured from outside. That may happen. But it’s not my way.

People often ask me, where did I get my ability to tell stories, and I think it was my Welsh ancestry because my maternal grandfather, and all that branch of the family came from the north of Wales. And the Welsh are known for their storytelling, their music, their sense of fun. So I’m very grateful for that Welsh branch of my family.

And actually, I’m speaking from the house I grew up in. My mother brought me and my sister here at the start of World War Two, I was five years old, and ever since, this has been home. So the books behind me, many of them are books I read as a child. When I was growing up as a child, an awful lot of that childhood was during World War Two. And I’m actually glad I grew up in those war years, because I learned to take nothing for granted. Food was rationed, clothes were rationed. Petrol was rationed. Everything was rationed. And we got, I think it was one square of chocolate a week. We valued every single thing that we had. And we knew that people could die, people were dying, I lost relatives in the war, and friends in the war, but we got through the war. And I think the reason we got through the war was Winston Churchill. And he made mistakes, but it was his speeches, that gave us hope. And, you know, he was basically saying, what I’m always saying, we can do it, if we get together, we can do it, we mustn’t give in. We must stand up strong, we must believe that we can do it. And so we got through the war.

And then, you know, there’ve been other horrors like the Cold War, the threat of nuclear power, which tragically has come back, I never thought it could. And we’ve been through the terrible wars in different parts of the world. And, you know, I’ve seen so much change. I’ve seen advances in technology, from being with no television, to having some of this incredible new technology that’s enabling me to reach out to people around the world, despite sitting in my old home, my current home, sitting here and reaching people with a message. And actually, I’m able to reach far more people, millions more people, sitting here with a message of hope. So helping people realize that every day they live, they make some impact on the planet. And they can choose what sort of impact that they make. Realizing that we need to alleviate poverty, because if you’re really poor, you’re going to cut down the last tree, you’re going to fish the last fish, because you’ve got to survive. And we do have to bring into the political agenda, the problem of the fact that human populations and their livestock are growing. So if we carry on with business as usual, then what’s going to happen? That’s one silver lining of this awful pandemic, that people are beginning to realize, we need a different relationship with the natural world. The new, more sustainable way of living in harmony with nature instead of attacking nature, as we have been doing for so long.

One of the problems that we face today is that we are bombarded every day by terrible news. If we open a newspaper, if we listen to the radio, grim, grim news. It’s political, it’s social, and it’s environmental. Very easily, people are giving up hope, because they just feel that they’re up against such powerful forces. And I almost would say forces of evil. How do we counteract that? I think the way we can counteract it is during my long life, my 86 years on this planet, I have met the most extraordinary people.

And yes, we’re in the middle of the sixth great extinction, but I’ve actually met the people and the animals who are on the brink of extinction who have been given another chance. I’ve met the botanists, who are passionate about keeping the biodiversity of our plant life alive. I’ve met the people studying insects to realize the importance of keeping the insect biodiversity alive because we depend on it. We depend on the plants and the insects. And so sharing the good news stories, and I’m always saying every time I talk to the press, I say you have to share the bad news but please give more time for the positive to help people understand what they can do, what they’re capable of. What we all are capable of if we care enough. Sharing these stories of people and nature, should fill people with hope because we can do it if we will. We can regenerate nature, in a place where we’ve destroyed it. We can rescue an animal species, if we put enough effort and love and money behind it. We can regenerate forests, we can regenerate woodlands, we can rewild.

In Britain, the beavers are coming back, and they are changing the land so that the flooding that was so terrible and costing so much money, and causing people to lose their houses, now, because the beavers have put the land back to how it used to be, the flooding is completely reduced. We have now destroyed about one half, 50%, of all the forests that once covered the globe. And as we destroy them, all this carbon is released back into the atmosphere. And the forests, particularly the rain forests, are the great reserves for biodiversity, different animal species, plant species. It’s so rich in the rain forests. It’s also where the chimpanzees live. Well, my career began with learning about chimpanzees. And so obviously, we start off, you can’t protect chimpanzees unless you protect their habitat, which happens to be the forest. And fortunately, if you protect the forest, then you’re protecting all the other animals and plants that make up this web of life, this amazing tapestry of life that we find in the rain forest. And when we plant trees in a forest, many things happen. The trees clean the air, they filter out carbon particles. Make it easier to breathe. They encourage nature’s come back, people can hear birdsong again.

And it turns out that people actually need green areas. And when you green an area of high crime, it’s been shown there was a big study done in Chicago, crime levels drop compared to areas that weren’t greened. And the tragedy is that if you look in most cities today, you’ll find the affluent communities have lots of trees. But the deprived areas in America, it’s particularly where people of color live, they don’t have many trees. But once you put the trees there, then mental and physical health improves. The cost of health care drops. Fighting some of the problems that we have created on this planet, like climate change, for example, or discrimination, or prejudice is something every single one of us can do something about.

I think that so many people haven’t had the right education. I think that environmental education and information about who animals really are, should be part of every school curriculum. And I think that it’s the young people now who give me the most hope, because when they understand the problems, when they are listened to, when they’re empowered to take action, that’s why our Roots and Shoots program is spreading so fast. It’s in more than 65 countries now and it’s young people of all ages. And it’s my greatest resource of hope because they are changing the world. Every day. I would like to work to save every animal species and I can’t. The Jane Goodall Institute you know, we have to concentrate on great apes and forests. Through the Roots and Shoots groups, I’ve got groups that care about turtles, groups that care about octopuses, you name an animal species and I bet you somewhere there is a group passionate about saving them. Spreading awareness about them. Raising money for the cause. And this is really inspiring.

I definitely hope that out of this Hopecast, people will realize that they have a role to play. That every individual makes a difference every single day. And we get to choose what sort of difference we make. I often talk about a reason for hope, being the indomitable human spirit, the people who tackle what seems impossible and wouldn’t give up. And that every single one of us has that indomitable spirit. But people don’t always realize it. They don’t let it grow. They don’t let it out. They’re nervous. They’re afraid. They feel helpless and hopeless. So it’s terribly important, and I hope that people listening to these podcasts will realize what they as individuals can do. And though it may not see much, if you have the cumulative effect of millions, maybe billions of people making ethical choices every day, in what they buy and how is it made? Did it harm the environment? Was it cruel to animals? Is it cheap because of child slave labor or sweatshops or inequitable wages? And if the answer is yes, don’t buy it. Because consumer pressure does make a difference. There are many companies that are changing because of consumer pressure. That’s what’s important that people feel empowered, and that their lives do matter. And they can make a difference.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: 1986. I helped to put together a conference to bring together scientists who by then, were studying chimpanzees and six other parts of Africa. We had a session on conservation, and it was shocking. Forests were being destroyed. The human population in Africa was moving further and further into chimpanzee habitat. And there was still the live animal trade, shooting mothers to steal their babies.

I think the animal rights issue is something I’ve been dodging for quite a long time. It’s because it is a hot tricky issue. And because I’m not the sort of person who likes taking the limelight, I really like sitting in the forest in Gombe and getting on and observing the chimps. But it’s become apparent that I have to use this power, if you like, of bending the air very many people to help the creatures who have put me in a position to do just that.

I went to that conference as a scientist, planning to carry on with that wonderful life, and I left as an activist.

CREDITS: Feel hopeful and inspired to act with the Jane Goodall Hopecast by subscribing on Apple podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google podcasts, and anywhere podcasts are found. I’m your host, Jane Goodall. The Jane Goodall Hopecast is produced by the Jane Goodall Institute. Our production partner is FRQNCY Media. Michelle Khouri is our executive producer, Enna Garkusha is our producer, and Matthew Ernest Filler is our editor and sound designer. Our music is composed and performed by Ruth Mendelsohn with additional violin tracks from Angie Shear. Sound design and music composition for the Conservation chorus is by Matthew Ernest Filler.

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