Reason for hope

This past Thursday evening, I was blessed and privileged to accompany my daughter and attend a lecture by world renowned chimpanzee research expert, environmentalist, and inspirational speaker, Dr. Jane Goodall at the Jubilee Auditorium in Edmonton. This was a wonderful learning opportunity and occasion to spend quality time together. Here are a few of the insights that inspired me:

    The blood type of certain chimpanzees is similar to human beings so that we could actually receive blood transfusions from them.

    Environmental conservation and protection of endangered species can be holistic and serve the needs and interests of both humans and animals as well as the attendant natural habitats. Indeed this factor is necessary for the future sustainability of this planet.

    Dr. Jane Goodall grew up in a poor family in England at a time when women had few educational or career choices. However, thanks to the love, encouragement and support of her mother and the good will of a few other influential people, she was able to pursue her chimpanzee research in Africa and eventually earn her Ph.D. from Cambridge University. Thus, as a role model, Dr. Goodall is a powerful source of inspiration and leadership for countless youth around the globe today.

    Dr. Goodall’s mother allowed and encouraged Jane to explore the human trait of curiosity as a child and this was most instrumental in preparing Jane for her work as a research scientist.

    Dr. Goodall stated that there is so much focus on the negative and destructive events among humans in the mass media. Yet, she stressed that there is hope and we need to focus more on those positive, constructive events like, for example, the forgiveness of Nelson Mandela towards his enemy, the apartheid regime, who imprisoned him for over two decades. Each one of us can make a difference even in small ways. We are all in this together.

    Dr. Goodall’s emphasis on the interconnectedness of humankind and creation reminded me of the apostle Paul’s vision of the Church as the Body of Christ and his reference to the suffering—the moanings and groanings—of all creation as it longs for God’s redemption.