Choosing positivity

Choosing positivity

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Jane Goodall, an expert on chimpanzees, says we should focus on the good news about the environment.
Jane Goodall, an expert on chimpanzees, says we should focus on the good news about the environment.
Photo: AP
Last week I met Jane Goodall, one of the world's bravest and most eloquent environmental campaigners. Goodall reminded me how important it is to think positive, and why we can have hope that humans will solve their environmental problems.

Goodall is an expert on chimpanzees, and she has spent decades studying them in the forests of Africa.

Goodall reminds us that even though we are very close to chimpanzees from an evolutionary standpoint, we are very different because "our hearts and minds are connected".

We know what's right, and we can use our minds to find solutions to do the right thing. Everyone looking at environmental damage feels bad about it. It makes us sad. We're happier seeing a healthier earth. That's our heart speaking.

Then we can use what our heart tells us to think of solutions. It's up to us to choose if we want that to be a positive or a negative impact.

Goodall said we should focus on the good news about the environment. It's easy to look around us and focus on pollution, the lack of laws protecting animals, the sea and our forests. It's easy to get worried about climate change and see all the damage.

But there are also many encouraging stories. Goodall told us about the Gombe Game Reserve in Tanzania. Years ago she was flying over the reserve in a plane and was shocked to see all the trees had been cut down for cooking fires.

She began teaching the village how to live without cutting down trees, and by using more efficient farming methods.

Since then the forests have begun to grow back, and the animals can venture out of their protected area and into surrounding forests.

It was inspirational to meet Goodall and experience her very positive, hopeful outlook on environmentalism. Who inspires you to make a difference?

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