Happy Birthday, Jane.

Today is Jane Goodall’s 78th birthday, and as a huge role model in my recent life, it’s a perfect opportunity to reflect on her beautiful life. For me, the one of the most special things about Dr. Goodall is her way of communicating – it is truly a gift of hers. She has an eloquent way with words in speaking and writing that she is able to transform a person. I have read most of Dr. Goodall’s books and her writing takes you on a journey through her thoughts and you can’t help but feel empowered and inspired. She makes you care. She makes you believe you can make a difference. She makes you feel the urgency of the environmental and humanitarian issues that she has literally dedicated her life to.  She is the reason (or a big part) why I made the decision to eat a vegetarian diet. She is a big reason why I even care about this earth and what will be left for my daughter to inherit.

Dr. Goodall’s work with the Gombe Stream chimpanzees forever changed the way we view animals and humans. At just 26 years old, her break-through discoveries changed the face of science. I will be the first to admit I am not a huge animal person. I was raised in a home with no pets growing up, where my father taught us to approach every animal as a wild creature. I don’t possess a single ounce of natural instincts with animals and I honestly believe they can sense that about me. Mix that with a very bad experience once with a horse and you could say that animals kind of freak me out.

That does not, however, mean I am unable to appreciate them, to look at a chimpanzee and see their remarkable strength and intelligence, to watch a mother elephant care lovingly for her baby and not relate.  My husband and I are regular viewers of the Animal Planet and NatGeo (I love Frozen Planet!) and we probably know more about arctic animals, elephants and chimps than most should. So while working with animals will never be a dream or career path for me, I can respect those with the courage and patient to do what Dr. Goodall has done.

I admire so many things about Dr. Goodall and I strive to take her good qualities and incorporate them into my life.  Looking at her accomplishments, I know that I am not doing enough. Dr. Goodall is not a person who gives up. At 78, she still spends the majority of her year on the road, attending conferences and speaking engagements dedicated to her works, and educating and rallying young adults behind the cause. She is wise and kind and has a beautiful soul.  Most importantly, she has lived her whole life with an enormous amount of passion for what she does. I feel like I am constantly looking for that place in life for me, where I know it’s exactly what I am suppose to be doing with the talents God has graced me with. We should all strive to be more like Dr. Goodall – the world would be a much better place for it.

Happy Birthday, Jane.

Live green, love green.
Katherine

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