tv Talk to Al Jazeera Al Jazeera April 19, 2014 5:00pm-5:31pm EDT
>> keep spinning. the classics never die. >> does it for us on this saturday afternoon. i will back in a more than because "talk toays" starts right now no on al jazeera america. have a great weekend. >> i do get angry when i think of, you know, the unsustainable lifestyle of so many of the materialistic western-based culture. >> jane goodall is famous for her trailblazing o with champ pan zees. the subject of her latest book isler love ofnator chimpanzees. >> she has been called the woman
who redefined man as we think about chim mpanzees. >> i realized like us, they have a dark side. they are capable of violence, brutality and a kind of primitive law. >> i spoke to the steadfast scientist about changing technology? >> gis, gps, satellite imagery, mapping. >> experiments on animals, animal enclose user? >> susan, zoos. a bit about her ally days. >> i fell in love with tarzan and married the wrong jane. >> a new book about plants. can you draw the line for us between plants and chimpanzees? >> without plants, none of us would be here, chimpanzees, people or anything else. everything lives on plant food or lives on creatures that live on plant food. like honestly the plants put
little roots into my brain and said, jane, you spent all your life helping animals: it's our turn now. so the book took its own life. you talk about the love affair between humans and plants. where did your love affair with plants begin? >> it began when i was a little girl growing up in my garden in england. i climbed the trees there. one beach tree was so special to me i made my grandmother sign it over to me. i wrote out a little will for her. it wasn't a good garden for growing things. soil was too acidic, but we tried, and then we were surrounded by wild cliffs over the sea and that's where i used to roam with my dog, rusty. >> you talk about communication between humans and plants. humans and trees. you believe in talking to trees, and you raise the question about whether trees can talk to us.
what is this about communication with plants? >> well, you know, a lot of people find their plants grow better if they speak to them. i have one lovely old friend who sings to his tomatoes. he says they grow much better that way. certainly plants are healing so that torture victims, for example, they may take the first steps towards normal life out in the garden with their therapist. children need plants, need nay tour for their proper psychological development. so, it's really important that we -- that we understand and love the green things around us. >> one of the things you discuss in this book is the challenges facing forests around the world. what do you think are the biggest challenges? >> facing the forest? human agreed and human need. on the one hand, you've got desperately pour people. and they've got to try to feed their family. they don't have money to buy
food. so they are cutting down trees to grow crops or make charcoal and make a bit of money and buy food and you have the big timber companies coming in, some of them still clearcuting and paying lots of money for a forest concession to the government and the people living in the forest suffer as well as everything else. >> in fact, in your book, i just want to read a couple of lines, you write in chapter 18, hope for nature, and you say the truth is that when corporate agreed and public demand for a better and better lifestyle are pitted against the health of the environment and the health of people, for that matter, it is the bottom line that wins. have we totally lost the wisdom of the indigenous people who made decisions based on how they would affect their people in years to come? how many more supermarkets?
how many more luxury apartments do we need? i mean you sound like an environmental activist, an angry environmental activist here? >> i do get angry when i think of, you know, the unsustainable lifestyle of so many of this materialistic, western-based, you know, culture. and how many of us have so much more than we need? i mean, you know, we need money to live, and what goes wrong is when we live for money and that's happening more and more often. and as a result, i think, it's a very empty kind of society. and people, when you live and money is your goal and your god, then i think people lose a lot of sensitivity. you say it's not only averice
but ignorance. what do we not know? >> some people seem to know very little. and some don't want to know very much. let's take one example. meat. more and more people are getting more and more wealthy, increased middle classes so we must all eat meat, more and more meat. so we raise billions of animals for food, and this is destroy ing billions of square miles of forests every year to grow the grain or to graze the cattle. and this is releasing c 02 into the atmosphere from the trees and the forest floor. and so this is adding to climate change. >> you are a vegetarian. >> of course. >> when did that happen? >> 0, in the very late '60s. my reason for being a vegetarian was, you know, the suffering of the animals. even if people couldn't care less about the animals, you know, all of this environmental impact and the antibiotics
needed to keep the poor creatures alive out in the environment. >> you have great hope fornate and hope is a theme through much of your writing. i was touched by the storiat th of the book that talk about a couple of trees, survivor in particular. can you tell that story? >> survivor is very dear to me because i was in new york at 911. and they found the one piece of tree that was still alive out of all of the trees that were around those twin towers and it looked like a dead stump, blackened with fire and everything. but some people took it and nurtured it, and this tree now is back at ground zero, and it's a beautiful pair, and i have seen it in blossom but that tree somehow epitomizes the resilience of nature and the passion of people because, so many people said right away, you will never get this tree to grow. but they didn't give up.
>> it was also damaged by a storm? wasn't it? >> yes. it had just begun to recover, and i think it was hurricane sandy that tore it down. they rushed out and desperately propped it up. it's had a very dramatic life. >> it survives today. what does that tell us about your hope for the future? >> well, my hope for the future is based upon the fact that i think we have a window of time. we can start changing things around if we just think about the concept, the little choices we make. what do we buy? where did it come from? how was it made? did it harm the environment. ? >> it's young people that get this. >> a tree at fukushima, another example of a tree surviving, but, you know, in that example, i really wonder about our world and where we are headed and
whether or not there is hope when you see a disaster like that. >> fukushima? >> fukushima. >> yeah. well, it'sa, as i say, it's a hope based on the fact that we can do it to start levelling it off and eventually coming up, we have to change attitudes. when people lose hope because many biologist point out there isn't any hope. if everybody loses hope, what happens? you fall into apathy. there is not point in doing anything. it doesn't matter. but how can we be bringing our children into a world and telling them there is no hope? >> cruel. you know, i suppose i am lucky in that that i have the opportunity to see some
amazingly beautiful places like the forest where all life is entwined and once you have seen it, you just feel separate to try to save t i want my great grandchildren to have these experiences. >> you say in some ways there is a saying about inheriting the earth from our parents. but you say in some ways, we have stolen. >> we have. >> we have stolen their future. and, you know, i began the youth program because i met so many young peel who had lost hope, who said, you have compromised our future. there is nothing we can do about it. we have, but there is something we can do about it at least i shall die fighting for that. >> we have so much more to talk about, i want to ask you about the chimpanzees and about what you are doing today when we come back right after this. the stream is uniquely interactive television. in fact, we depend on you, your ideas, your concerns.
>> all these folks are making a whole lot of money. >> you are one of the voices of this show. >> i think you've offended everyone with that kathy. >> hold on, there's some room to offend people, i'm here. >> we have a right to know what's in our food and monsanto do not have the right to hide it from us. >> so join the conversation and make it your own. >> watch the stream. >> and join the conversation online @ajamstream.
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we are back with jane goodall. what's most interesting thing you have learned about chimpanzees? >> how alike we are. the most shocking but very fascinating thing is when i realized that like us, they have a dark side. >> made them sadly seem more like us than i had thought before, but they are capable of violence, brutality and the kind of primitive war. >> can you take me back to the beginning in you were secretary for leake. >> that's where you got your start? >> that's how i got my start. >> how did that happen? >> when i was a tiny little girl, i wanted to go and study animal ins africa because i fell in love with tarzan. silly man married the wrong jane. i was very jealous of her. i decided i wanted to go to africa and write books about animals and everybody laughed
except my amazing mother said if you want something, you will have to work hard and you will get there in the end. i got invited by school friends, saved up my money working as a waitress, got out to africa, heard about louis leake, went to see him at the music. i wasn't asking for a job. but he took me all around. he asked me hundreds of questions. and because i got on learning about africa animals and spent hours in the natural history museum in london, i could answer many of his questions. >> he believed you had the temperament to survive isolation. you had no formal scientific education? >> zero. >> when was your first attempt to observe the chimpanzees? >> 1960, he got the money for me to go. the biggest problem was they ran away. they are conservative.
never seen a white ape before. so they ran away. eventually, one who i named david graybeard began to lose his fear. >> opened the door for me. >> how did you gain their trust? >> patience, wearing the same colored clothes all the time, pretending i wasn't interested in them. you said you had a dark side. were you concerned about your safety. >> i didn't know they had a dark side back then although i must say after they lost their fear, they became a bit belligerent and treated me as though i was, you know, a predator and screamed at me. when a male chimp stands up right with his hair brist ling, he is about so big, they are extremely intimidating creatures. >> it seems like a real challenge to have put yourself in their world. did you see it as a challenge?
>> i saw it as just my dreams come true and there was a strong, you know, because everybody laughed at louis leake and told him he was stupid and everything, so i really, really wanted to prove that that he was stupid and i wanted to do it. >> what do you think he saw in you? >> i don't know. i wish i was alives alive. i think he saw somebody who was very determined and who wanted to do exactly what he wanted somebody to do. >> were there sacrifices you made in your life in order to do this work? >> well, it didn't seem like sacrifices to me. people say what about family life? we have very, very close family bonds. i still do, you know. so, i had moon son with me until he was 12, all the time. >> how did your family see the work that you did? what did they have to say about
it when you first started going in to the jungle and hanging out with chimps? >> well, my mother came. i wasn't allowed to be alone by the british authorities. it was tanginika then. they said no, no, no. but she must come with a companion. so, my amazing mother volunteered for four months. i mean how many mothers would? you have this old second-hand army tent, no sewn-in ground sheets, rolling up the side to let in the air, the spiders and the snakes and the scorpions at all. but poor mom. >> did you have friends that said, look. this is great while you are young, but you need to settle do you know and do something that is like normal people do? >> no. no. everybody knew me, too well. they didn't say that. in those days, a lot of young people today can't imagine it, but in those days, you know,
women basically having a career that was something that was a bit fun to do, and it was new, but basically, you thought the man would sweep you off of your feet and you would have a family and he would provide for you so it was much easier to have patience out in the field, i think. >> coming up, jane goodall talks about her favorite animal, and it's not a chimp. >> the new space race is here >> there are people right now who will walk on mars >> it could be a big payday for corporations >> the same companies will be controlling your life in space. >> who will conquer the cosmos? >> these men believe the universe is theirs for the taking >> fault lines... al jazeera america's hard hitting... >> they're locking the doors... >> ground breaking... >> we have to get out of here... >> truth seeking... >> breakthrough investigative documentary series space inc. only on al jazeera america
>> in some ways, you are a timeless figure in the study ofnator and chimpan zeros. >> it's ridiculous going from one continent to another. it's airplanes and hotels and interviews and lectures. >> you said you are on the road some 300 days a year. >> yeah. it's absurd. isn't it? >> and you like it. >> i hate the travel. i hate. oh, who could like going through airports today? i mean it's really horrible. and then, of course, it's a carbon footprint, all of this flying but nobody has given me a magic carpet yet. we have, i would say, millions of young people planting trees now. so, i hope it makes up. >> you start this organization called roots and chutes. tell us about it. >> it began 212 high school students. it was about actually empowering
young people to roll up their sleeves and make a difference. once they understand the problems, they get to choose. we don't tell them what to do. but between them they must choose a project to help people, a project to help animals and the environment. woven in it is: let's learn to live in peace and harmony between religions and cultures. we have so far to go between us and the natural world. but when we bring them together from around the world from, you know, we've had from israel, from palestine, from kenya where they have had all of these horrible massacres. we get the young people together and they form these close bonds, it's growing very fast all the time. there is one 60,000 groups. it's probably sometimes it's a whole school. so we are right across mainland chi , we are growing fast in australia. every old western european
country where every state in the u.s. and across canada, going fast into south america. >> you have spent your life protecting animals but recently, you have been involved in trying to help save elephants. can you talk a little bit about that effort? >> the poaching of elephants and rhinos and other animals has increased so dramatically and it's become such a money earner. you get criminal cartels coming in and the money from slaughtering elephants and selling the ivory is actually supporting some of these terrorist groups. and, of course, it's the demand in asia. and so we are using our roots and chutes groups in china. i wouldn't say we are using them because they want to do it but, you know, the slogan is: if the buying stops, the killing stops. and a lot of the chinese honestly believe that elephants
shed their tusks and they don't understand the horrible slaughter and suffering, suffering of individual animals whether it's elephant did, rhino, tigers, apes being shot for bush meat, you know, the slaughter is going on. it's going on very fast. but once people understand and get a feeling for these animals, then they are more prepared to go out and do something about it. >> you have also fought to protect animals from experimentation for medicine. where does that stand today? >> well, actually, it's very exciting because, you know, i first began talking to nih in 1986, and just last year, the new director, francis collins, had -- well, actually, three years ago, he had a committee put together to investigate what pests were being done -- tests
were being done on the over 300 nihchimpanzees and found nothing was beneficial to humans. he said, fine, they can go into ank sanctuary, into retirement. we have to raise the money now to get them all but a lot of them were already in chism mp haven sanctuary. more and more chimps real in medical reserves. >> what do you think of zoos? zoos. some zoos shouldn't be -- the change in zoos over my life has been incredible and, well, you know, yes, there is an idea that well done, it's the best thing but in so many cases, they are under threat. their habitats is being destroyed. hunters out there and you look at a group in a really good zoo that has the right kind of environment and you think, well, there may be a chimp -- where
would i rather be? so, you know, in the really well protected places, obviously you want wild animals. >> how has technology changed the study of animals and plants over your life? >> at this completely changed. i started with a notebook and a pencil and a pair of second-hand binoculars which was all we could afford, and now, you know, we have gisgps satellite imagery mapping and we have ways of measuring stress levels by, again, collecting fecal samples. we hope to do a lot of conservation with working with google earth, digital globe and getting software to enable us to, you know, get much more accurate pictures of where the trees are. but the most key thing is that we have actually trained the loc local people to use these
android tablets. and so they can -- they're restoring the forest now, helping it regenerate. it's because in early '91, i flew over the whole area around gambi. i was so shocked because i knew there was deforestation. i hadn't realized it was total. it was pretty clear, can't even try to save the chimps if the people are struggling stosurvive. they are going to come into this last lush tiny forest. we began improving their lives. as a result, they are now our partners in protecting the chimp habitat but restoring the has been i at that time around their villages. those bear hills are sprinkled with green and the chimps have three times more forest than they had 10 years ago. >> some people might be surprised to learn that the chimpanzee is not your favorite animal?
is that right? >> i love dogs. i love dogs. you know, when i got to cambridge and was told i shouldn't have given the chimps names, they should have been numbered and i couldn't talk about them having personality, mind or emotion, i knew from the childhood teacher, my dog, rusty that that couldn't be true that animals of course they have personalities and of course they can feel happy and sad and afraid just like us. i have always loved dogs. >> that's my saddest thing now. i can't have my own dog. >> clearly at 80 years old, you have no intention of slowing down? >> i suppose my body will slow me down at some point, but, you know, i am lucky and i've got my father's genes. in fact, all my family lived long. as long as i can, i shall go on doing this. >> are there things that you want to accomplish that you haven't accomplished? >> i have dreams big but you can just work towards them. >> we are happy that you shared your dreams and your story with us. >> thank you, too, jon.
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