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Jane Goodall: ‘If humans are the most intelligent beings on Earth, why are we destroying it?’



Dame Jane Goodall is a world-renowned pioneer in the study of chimpanzee behaviour, a UN messenger of peace, an ethologist and an anthropologist – one who has made fascinating advances in our perception of the connection between primates and humans. Today, on Goodall’s 79th birthday, Emma Websdale looks back on her career.

Born on April 3 1934, Jane Goodall began her lifetime passion for nature at an early age. Reading everything she could find about Africa, she became lost in titles including Tarzan and Dr Dolittle, and dreamed about venturing into the exotic plains of Africa – a goal that she never gave up pursuing and would eventually achieve.

When asked at the Wildscreen Festival in Bristol last year where her fascination for nature had come from, she replied, “Well apparently I was born that way – from the time I could first crawl around I was watching insects and whatever I could find.”

And when asked later on whether she was concerned that Africa would be a difficult place to live and visit, she said, “No, it was home.”

In the summer of 1960, Goodall arrived in East Africa where she met Louis Leakey – a British archaeologist and naturalist who focused on human evolution. Leakey decided to send her to Gombe to study the behaviour of chimpanzees, in the hope of gaining better insight into our ancestors.

There, Goodall became one of the first humans to become accepted by a chimpanzee troop, which she described as one of the “proudest and most exciting moments” in her whole life.

Not long after, she experienced another exceptional moment – when a wild chimpanzee mother allowed her baby to reach out and touch her.

Goodall’s extensive research in the field brought up two major discoveries of never before documented chimpanzee behaviour.

She firstly provided evidence that chimpanzees were tool users, after observing troops using sticks to access termites in order to withdraw them from their mounds to eat. The second discovery was that chimpanzees were not the peaceful herbivores we once thought.

Goodall told Wildscreen delegates, “I was sitting on the peak as I did for hours every day; I looked across and a chimpanzee climbed up a tree with something in its mouth. It looked as though he was licking this pink thing and my binoculars just weren’t powerful enough, and I really couldn’t see.

“But there were a couple of bush pigs down below and when a juvenile would climb down the tree, one of the pigs would charge at the child, and I put two and two together and thought that this must have been a little pig.

“I wasn’t positive the first time. The next thing I saw was a chimpanzee hunting a red colobus.”

Goodall’s long-term research of chimpanzees has shaped the scientific thinking about the relationship between humans and other primates. She has always felt passionate about the fact that animals have their own minds and feelings, after growing up with her dog Rusty, and feels that observing the behaviours of chimps has helped her gradually persuade more and more people that we are all part of the animal kingdom.

These chimpanzees living their complex lives in the wild have helped more than anything else to make us realise we are part of and not separated from the amazing animals with whom we share the planet” , she told a TED conference in 2007.

From watching chimpanzees bully both other chimps and humans, and observing chimps being jealous of newborns, she gently opposed the disciplined scientific theory that said animals didn’t have emotions.

Over the past 45 years, Goodall herself has evolved – starting out as a committed scientist who had written books and papers to a passionate conservationist and humanitarian.

The start of her transition began during the publication of her first book. She went as a scientist to a conference called Understanding Chimpanzees which incorporated a session on conservation. It was during this session that she learnt about the shocking practices occurring in Africa. She left the conference as an activist.

“From that day in October 1986, I haven’t been more than three weeks consecutively in one place”, she says.

Travelling around Europe, Asia and North America, she educated people on the destruction of the chimpanzee’s habitat, learning along the way that not only was Africa’s biodiversity suffering, but also its people. The focus of her education shifted from chimpanzees, to African community development and wildlife conservation.

“The next step was in 1994 when I was flying over the whole Gombe area and the land surrounding it, and being so shocked that the deforestation outside the park was virtually total”, she said at Wildscreen.

“If we are arguably the most intelligent beings to have ever walked the planet, then how come we are destroying it? It doesn’t make sense; we have seemed to have lost wisdom.”

During a TED Talk, Goodall added, “I have got three little grandchildren and every time I look at them and I think how we’ve harmed this beautiful planet since I was their age, I feel this desperation and that lead to this programme called Roots and Shoots.”

Roots and Shoots originated with just 12 high school Tanzanian students who were angry at the government  for not punishing poachers.

Today, it works across hundreds of schools, inspiring young people to take action for people, animals and the environment. The organisation also raises awareness for the need of chimpanzee conservation and community development. Its projects in Africa have helped local people take charge of the conservation and development of their own communities, whilst helping the chimpanzees who they live alongside.

Goodall has also set up the Jane Goodall Institute, which provides great conservation efforts to the protection the chimpanzees of Gombe National Park in Tanzania.

Over Goodall’s fascinating career she has become an internationally recognised author, the president of Advocates for Animals and serves as a United Nations peace messenger.

She is a brilliant role model who has received justified honours and praise from international governments, non-profits and universities. We thank Jane Goodall – for being an inspiration to Blue & Green Tomorrow, but also for helping to change the way society perceives animals.

Further reading:

TED talks: Jane Goodall helps humans and animals live together

Why we can’t afford to lose ecosystem services

Pope Francis: assuming responsibility for nature?

Rio+50: the long view

Are capitalism and conservation incompatible?


How Going Green Can Save A Company Money



going green can save company money
Shutterstock Licensed Photot - By GOLFX

What is going green?

Going green means to live life in a way that is environmentally friendly for an entire population. It is the conservation of energy, water, and air. Going green means using products and resources that will not contaminate or pollute the air. It means being educated and well informed about the surroundings, and how to best protect them. It means recycling products that may not be biodegradable. Companies, as well as people, that adhere to going green can help to ensure a safer life for humanity.

The first step in going green

There are actually no step by step instructions for going green. The only requirement needed is making the decision to become environmentally conscious. It takes a caring attitude, and a willingness to make the change. It has been found that companies have improved their profit margins by going green. They have saved money on many of the frivolous things they they thought were a necessity. Besides saving money, companies are operating more efficiently than before going green. Companies have become aware of their ecological responsibility by pursuing the knowledge needed to make decisions that would change lifestyles and help sustain the earth’s natural resources for present and future generations.

Making needed changes within the company

After making the decision to go green, there are several things that can be changed in the workplace. A good place to start would be conserving energy used by electrical appliances. First, turning off the computer will save over the long run. Just letting it sleep still uses energy overnight. Turn off all other appliances like coffee maker, or anything that plugs in. Pull the socket from the outlet to stop unnecessary energy loss. Appliances continue to use electricity although they are switched off, and not unplugged. Get in the habit of turning off the lights whenever you leave a room. Change to fluorescent light bulbs, and lighting throughout the building. Have any leaks sealed on the premises to avoid the escape of heat or air.

Reducing the common paper waste

paper waste

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By Yury Zap

Modern technologies and state of the art equipment, and tools have almost eliminated the use of paper in the office. Instead of sending out newsletters, brochures, written memos and reminders, you can now do all of these and more by technology while saving on the use of paper. Send out digital documents and emails to communicate with staff and other employees. By using this virtual bookkeeping technique, you will save a bundle on paper. When it is necessary to use paper for printing purposes or other services, choose the already recycled paper. It is smartly labeled and easy to find in any office supply store. It is called the Post Consumer Waste paper, or PCW paper. This will show that your company is dedicated to the preservation of natural resources. By using PCW paper, everyone helps to save the trees which provides and emits many important nutrients into the atmosphere.

Make money by spreading the word

Companies realize that consumers like to buy, or invest in whatever the latest trend may be. They also cater to companies that are doing great things for the quality of life of all people. People want to know that the companies that they cater to are doing their part for the environment and ecology. By going green, you can tell consumers of your experiences with helping them and communities be eco-friendly. This is a sound public relations technique to bring revenue to your brand. Boost the impact that your company makes on the environment. Go green, save and make money while essentially preserving what is normally taken for granted. The benefits of having a green company are enormous for consumers as well as the companies that engage in the process.

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5 Easy Things You Can Do to Make Your Home More Sustainable




sustainable homes
Shutterstock Licensed Photot - By Diyana Dimitrova

Increasing your home’s energy efficiency is one of the smartest moves you can make as a homeowner. It will lower your bills, increase the resale value of your property, and help minimize our planet’s fast-approaching climate crisis. While major home retrofits can seem daunting, there are plenty of quick and cost-effective ways to start reducing your carbon footprint today. Here are five easy projects to make your home more sustainable.

1. Weather stripping

If you’re looking to make your home more energy efficient, an energy audit is a highly recommended first step. This will reveal where your home is lacking in regards to sustainability suggests the best plan of attack.

Some form of weather stripping is nearly always advised because it is so easy and inexpensive yet can yield such transformative results. The audit will provide information about air leaks which you can couple with your own knowledge of your home’s ventilation needs to develop a strategic plan.

Make sure you choose the appropriate type of weather stripping for each location in your home. Areas that receive a lot of wear and tear, like popular doorways, are best served by slightly more expensive vinyl or metal options. Immobile cracks or infrequently opened windows can be treated with inexpensive foams or caulking. Depending on the age and quality of your home, the resulting energy savings can be as much as 20 percent.

2. Programmable thermostats

Programmable thermostats

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By Olivier Le Moal

Programmable thermostats have tremendous potential to save money and minimize unnecessary energy usage. About 45 percent of a home’s energy is earmarked for heating and cooling needs with a large fraction of that wasted on unoccupied spaces. Programmable thermostats can automatically lower the heat overnight or shut off the air conditioning when you go to work.

Every degree Fahrenheit you lower the thermostat equates to 1 percent less energy use, which amounts to considerable savings over the course of a year. When used correctly, programmable thermostats reduce heating and cooling bills by 10 to 30 percent. Of course, the same result can be achieved by manually adjusting your thermostats to coincide with your activities, just make sure you remember to do it!

3. Low-flow water hardware

With the current focus on carbon emissions and climate change, we typically equate environmental stability to lower energy use, but fresh water shortage is an equal threat. Installing low-flow hardware for toilets and showers, particularly in drought prone areas, is an inexpensive and easy way to cut water consumption by 50 percent and save as much as $145 per year.

Older toilets use up to 6 gallons of water per flush, the equivalent of an astounding 20.1 gallons per person each day. This makes them the biggest consumer of indoor water. New low-flow toilets are standardized at 1.6 gallons per flush and can save more than 20,000 gallons a year in a 4-member household.

Similarly, low-flow shower heads can decrease water consumption by 40 percent or more while also lowering water heating bills and reducing CO2 emissions. Unlike early versions, new low-flow models are equipped with excellent pressure technology so your shower will be no less satisfying.

4. Energy efficient light bulbs

An average household dedicates about 5 percent of its energy use to lighting, but this value is dropping thanks to new lighting technology. Incandescent bulbs are quickly becoming a thing of the past. These inefficient light sources give off 90 percent of their energy as heat which is not only impractical from a lighting standpoint, but also raises energy bills even further during hot weather.

New LED and compact fluorescent options are far more efficient and longer lasting. Though the upfront costs are higher, the long term environmental and financial benefits are well worth it. Energy efficient light bulbs use as much as 80 percent less energy than traditional incandescent and last 3 to 25 times longer producing savings of about $6 per year per bulb.

5. Installing solar panels

Adding solar panels may not be the easiest, or least expensive, sustainability upgrade for your home, but it will certainly have the greatest impact on both your energy bills and your environmental footprint. Installing solar panels can run about $15,000 – $20,000 upfront, though a number of government incentives are bringing these numbers down. Alternatively, panels can also be leased for a much lower initial investment.

Once operational, a solar system saves about $600 per year over the course of its 25 to 30-year lifespan, and this figure will grow as energy prices rise. Solar installations require little to no maintenance and increase the value of your home.

From an environmental standpoint, the average five-kilowatt residential system can reduce household CO2 emissions by 15,000 pounds every year. Using your solar system to power an electric vehicle is the ultimate sustainable solution serving to reduce total CO2 emissions by as much as 70%!

These days, being environmentally responsible is the hallmark of a good global citizen and it need not require major sacrifices in regards to your lifestyle or your wallet. In fact, increasing your home’s sustainability is apt to make your residence more livable and save you money in the long run. The five projects listed here are just a few of the easy ways to reduce both your environmental footprint and your energy bills. So, give one or more of them a try; with a small budget and a little know-how, there is no reason you can’t start today.

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