On Her 90th Birthday, Jane Goodall Tells Us Her Wish

Goodall is frank about the climate crisis, and the younger generation’s pervasive sense of doom when it comes to the future. “Of course they’re quite right, too,” she says. “We have really destroyed the planet. And we’re getting to a point of no return, but we still have a window of time. Why do you think I’m rushing around the world? Because if people lose hope, then you take no action. And then we’re doomed.” As for everyone feeling fatalistic? “You need to get out of that mood!” With the specter of the 2024 presidential election looming over the United States, Goodall shares her wish for people in the United States and beyond who feel apathetic about their choices. “A lot of people can’t be bothered to vote. They may not care about either candidates, but your vote counts,” she says. “Vote for the person most likely to care about your future. It will make a difference.”

Goodall also comes baring suggestions for anybody who feels too small to make a difference. “I say, ‘Well, what do you care about?’” she says. “You find you make a difference. That makes you feel good, so you want to do more. And then when you realize there are people all around the world, feeling just like you, starting up the same programs, that builds up hope.”

And what fuels Jane Goodall’s sense of hope? The planet itself, for one. “There’s a resilience of nature. Give her a good chance, and she’ll take over once again,” she says. She’s also just as moved by the people who, in spite of the circumstances, are devoted to the cause. “The indomitable human spirit—the people who tackle the impossible and won’t give up.”

Jane GoodallBrilliant Earth x Miguel McSongwe/

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