Book of Hope
By Janet Kahn
At this time many of us are reeling from the effects of climate change, more of us are finding it difficult to be anything but pessimistic about the future of the planet.
To the rescue comes a familiar, if unlikely Superheroine, Jane Goodall and Douglas Abrams, with Gail Hudson have written The Book of Hope, a Survival Guide for Trying Times. I think many of you have had a chance to hear Jane Goodall during one of her recent interviews about the book. It’s inspiring to see her urge to encourage everyone to act on behalf of the Earth and the busy schedule she keeps at 87 to continue to advocate for conservation and biodiversity. The idea behind the book is that people find themselves feeling overwhelmed and helpless in the face of the damage already done to the planet.
Goodall thinks they need to hear the stories of “the people who succeed because they won’t give up.” She bases her feeling for hope on four reasons: the first is the human intellect which has the ability to come up with new innovations like “renewable energy, regenerative farming and permaculture and moving toward a plant-based diet.” The second is the resilience of nature, and she illustrates this with stories of animals brought back from the edge of extinction. The third is the power of young people, from elementary school through college. In 1991 a group of students in Tanzania approached her with their concerns about animal treatment—the discussion led to the Jane Goodall Institute founding Roots and Shoots, a youth organization active today in 68 countries. The last reason is what Goodall calls the indomitable human spirit. The ability to work as individuals and collectively to solve complex and seemingly impossible problems. This last can have tremendous results.