Dr Jane Goodall-messenger of hope

Prior to the onset of the pandemic, Dr. Goodall averaged travelling 300 days per year on behalf of the Jane Goodall Institute teaching, lecturing, and advocating for care of our environment. COVID-19 stopped the travel, but not her work.

Dr. Goodall’s pandemic warning

Knowing of her concern for animals, humans, and the planet, I suspected Dr. Goodall has opinions about the COVID-19 pandemic. In this July 3, 2020 interview with CBS News she said this,

we brought this on ourselves… the scientists that have been studying these .. zoonotic diseases ( jump from an animal to a human) have been predicting …this . As we chop down at stake tropical rainforest, We’re driving deeper and deeper, making roads throughout the habitat, which … brings people and animals in contact with each other.

People are hunting the animals and selling the meat, or trafficking the infants, and all of this is creating environments which are perfect for a virus or a bacteria to cross that species barrier and sometimes, like COVID-19, it becomes very contagious and we’re suffering from it. 

In the Shadow of Man-and chimpanzees

In 1960,26 year old Jane Goodall went to Tanzania to study chimpanzees. No one had studied chimps before, so little was known about their behavior in the wild. Biologically and genetically, chimps are closer to humans than any other animal, so scientists believed understanding their behavior could shed light on some aspects of human behavior.

Jane roamed the forests of the Gombe Stream Chimpanze Reserve in Tanzania watching the chimps first with binoculars then with direct observation at close range, even occasionally close enough to touch them. Her mother Vanne lived with her and a photographer Hugo van Lawick joined them. Working together with nature and animals as their common interest, they fell in love and married. Eventually she had a staff of research assistants and students involved in observation and reporting about the chimps and other animals.

Title page of the book I bought at a used book sale.

In this book, written 10 years later (and periodically updated; my copy was revised in 1988.) Dr. Goodall details her years of living among the chimps and her detailed observations and conclusions about their behavior. (For which she earned her doctorate degree.)

One of her observations was that “like humans, chimpanzees are omnivores, feeding on vegetables, insects, and meat.”

Harvest for Hope-A Guide to Mindful Eating

Jane Goodall is just as interested in people as she is chimpanzees. Despite the title, though, this book is not about dining while listening to soothing music by candlelight in order to relax and de-stress.

Jane Goodall wants us to manage stress , not so much our own, but the stress of our planet, by producing, transporting, preparing, and eating our food in ways less harmful and wasteful to us and our planet. She wants us to

Change one purchase,

one meal, one bite at a time

Jane Goodall

Goodall reflected back on her life as a child in England , when her family’s food supply was limited by the shortages of a world war. Even in peacetime, they ate what was grown locally and seasonally, rather than food flown in from distant lands. Her nutrition ideas are not new or unique, but she helps us realize our food choices effect the environment as much as the environment effects our diet.

Dr. Goodall recommends buying locally grown, organic foods exclusively, and avoid GMO foods, imports, bottled water, and fast food. She advocates a meat free diet. She urges us to waste less. She believes we need to “take back food productions from large corporations.”  We will be healthier and so will our planet she believes.

Dr. Jane recommends humans avoid

  • GMO (genetically modified organism) foods
  • meat
  • imported food
  • bottled water
  • fast food
  • refined processed carbs
  • concentrated and synthetic sweeteners
  • commercial oils

Dr. Jane encourages us to

  • Take back food production from large corporations
  • Waste less.
  • Use a filter for drinking water
  • Eat organic locally grown food.
  • Eat fruits, vegetables, legumes
  • Use olive oil, herbs, seasonings
Dr. Goodall’s advocacy in a pandemic

Prior to the onset of the pandemic, Dr. Goodall averaged travelling 300 days per year on behalf of the Jane Goodall Institute teaching, lecturing, and advocating for care of our environment. COVID-19 stopped the travel, but not her work.

From March 2020, instead of traversing the globe, she brings the world to her family home in Bournemouth England . From her small attic bedroom filled with momentos of her travels, books, old photos, and the single bed she sleeps on, she gives interviews and lectures by video on her laptop.

She will begin travelling again in 2022 but not the intense schedule pre-pandemic; she can reach more people online. According to an interview in TIME, she will “spread hope and inspire people for as long as she can, for the sake of future generations.”

At 87, one never knows quite what the future holds. I’m about to leave the world, and leave it behind me with all the mess. Young people have to grow up into it. They need everybit of help they can”

Dr. Goodall, TIME, October 11/18, 2021

a final thought about pandemics

But we know if we don’t stop destroying the environment and disrespecting animals — we’re hunting them, killing them, eating them; there will be another one. It’s inevitable.

Dr. Jane Goodall
Dr. Goodall’s latest book is

The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times (Global Icons Series) 

In The Book of Hope, Jane focuses on her “Four Reasons for Hope”:

  • The Amazing Human Intellect,
  • The Resilience of Nature,
  • The Power of Young People, and
  • The Indomitable Human Spirit.

Looking at the headlines―the worsening climate crisis, a global pandemic, loss of biodiversity, political upheaval―it can be hard to feel optimistic. And yet hope has never been more desperately needed.

In this urgent book, Jane Goodall, the world’s most famous living naturalist, and Douglas Abrams, the internationally bestselling co-author of The Book of Joy, explore through intimate and thought-provoking dialogue one of the most sought after and least understood elements of human nature: hope.

The Book of Hope touches on vital questions, including: How do we stay hopeful when everything seems hopeless? How do we cultivate hope in our children? What is the relationship between hope and action?

Filled with moving and inspirational stories and photographs from Jane’s remarkable career, The Book of Hope is a deeply personal conversation with one of the most beloved figures in the world today.

While discussing the experiences that shaped her discoveries and beliefs, Jane tells the story of how she became a messenger of hope, from living through World War II to her years in Gombe to realizing she had to leave the forest to travel the world in her role as an advocate for environmental justice. And for the first time, she shares her profound revelations about her next, and perhaps final, adventure. (an Amazon affiliate link)

exploring the HEART of health

I appreciate all of you who are following Watercress Words, and if you aren’t I invite you to join the wonderful people who are. You can meet some of them in the sidebar, where you can click on their image and visit their blogs. Use the form to get an email notification of new posts. Don’t worry, you won’t get anything else from me.

Dr. Aletha

Sidney Poitier-exploring the heart of justice through film and stage

Sidney Poitier had one of the most successful acting careers in history, winning numerous more awards, but more importantly appearing in productions that explored issues of race, discrimination, human rights, and justice.

This is one of those post updates I would rather not need to write. On January 6, 2022, acclaimed actor Sidney Poitier died at age 94 in his parents’ native country the Bahamas.

Although movie historians insist on recognizing him as the first Black Man to win the Best Actor Academy Award, I believe he is best remembered as a person who overcame incredible personal challenges to achieve a successful career that not only entertained but challenged the status quo and taught difficult lessons about human relationships, especially the scourge of racism.

Mr. Poitier twice portrayed physicians in movies. The first, in 1950, which was also his film debut, was in No Way Out, where as a black physician he treated a bigoted white patient. Even now, it is not unusual for a black physician to encounter rascism in white patients; in 1950 it was essentially the norm.

The next film is better known, possibly because he acted opposite two of the most successful actors of that time. In 1967 Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy played a married couple whose white daughter was engaged to a young black physician, played by Sidney Poitier. The movie, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, was nominated for the Best Movie Academy Award and won for Best Story and Screenplay.

The film was one of the few films of the time to depict an interracial marriage in a positive light, as interracial marriage historically had been illegal in most states of the United States. It was still illegal in 17 states—mostly Southern states—until June 12, 1967, six months before the film was released. Roughly two weeks after Tracy filmed his final scene (and two days after his death), anti-miscegenation laws were struck down by the Supreme Court in Loving v. Virginia. (Wikipedia)

The following is taken from my original post about Mr. Poitier.

Lilies of the Field

Although his acting ability had already won critical acclaim, a young actor made movie history in 1963 in a film based on this Bible text. In Lilies of the Field , he portrayed an itinerant handyman who meets a group of German-speaking nuns living in rural Arizona. After performing a small repair on a roof for them, he naturally asks to be paid. To which the Mother Superior replies,

“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin. And yet I say unto you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”

Matthew 6:28,29 ESV

In case you’re not familiar with the reference, it’s from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount; here is the full context.

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. (In the Old Testament, Solomon was a King, who was the richest man in the world at that time.)

 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 

 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Matthew 6, ESV

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

That actor went on to have one of the most successful acting careers in history, winning numerous more awards, but more importantly appearing in productions that explored issues of race, discrimination, human rights, and justice.

Sidney Poitier, now 93 years old, won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in Lilies of the Field. He was the first black man to win the best actor award, and the second black person to win any Academy award. ( Hattie McDaniel won Best Supporting Actress for her role in 1939’s Gone with the Wind, making her the first black person to be nominated for and receive an Oscar. In June 2020 HBO planned to add “historical context” to the streaming version of the movie.)

He went on to win the Golden Globe award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama, the first Black person to win in that in that award program. He later won the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award in 1982.

In a post on the website The New Lyceum, Joey Barretta wrote this about the actor.

Sidney Poitier was the first black actor to win the Best Actor Oscar in 1964, the same year that the Civil Rights Act was passed and a year prior to the Voting Rights Act. He rose to be a star at a time in which racism was common and his career began before segregation was abolished. This man is a true hero, albeit one who played some compelling fictional characters setting an example for the fallacy that is racism. By portraying decent men, he set an example of excellence in character that even the prejudiced whites of his day could not ignore.

J. Baretta, March 5, 2018
Some of Mr. Poitier’s other works which delved into social issues include
  • Cry, the Beloved Country-based on the novel about apartheid in South Africa
  • To Sir, With Love-social and racial tensions in an inner city school
  • Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner – interracial marriage
  • A Patch of Blue and The Defiant Ones -interracial friendships
  • In the Heat of the Night and They Call Me Mister Tibbs!– racial bias among law enforcement professionals
  • Separate but Equal– portrayal of Thurgood Marshall, future Supreme Court Justice
  • Mandela and deKlerk-portrayal of Nelson Mandela, future President of South Africa
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I’d love for you to read the original post so just follow this link.

How Lilies of the Field challenged the fallacy of racism

That actor went on to have one of the most successful acting careers in history, winning numerous more awards, but more importantly appearing in productions that explored issues of race, discrimination, human rights, and justice.

exploring the HEART of life through literature and media

I’ll hope you’ll watch Lilies of the Field if you’ve never seen it before. And also watch some of Mr. Poitier’s other films, which add revealing context to the social justice issues our country is confronting and correcting in the 21st century. Check out this article for some suggestions .

I appreciate all of you who are following Watercress Words, and if you aren’t I invite you to join the wonderful people who are. You can meet some of them in the sidebar, where you can click on their image and visit their blogs. Use the form to get an email notification of new posts. Don’t worry, you won’t get anything else from me.

Dr Aletha

I also referenced the Loving vs Virginia Supreme Court case in a post I’d like for you to read also.

black and white person's' hands raised

Say Goodbye for Now- a book review

Dr. Lucy lives alone except for the menagerie of injured animals she has doctored back to life. She likes her life the way it is, until she opens her home to three unexpected and unlikely guests.

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