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Dr. Jane Goodall: Rebuilding Our Collective Future
When Dr. Jane Goodall, world-renowned ethologist and activist, talks about sustainability and how to build a better future, we listen. A global icon and advocate for the natural world, Dr. Goodall shares insights and inspiration into actions we must take in order to revitalize the world for the next generation. With nearly 10 million hectares of forests being lost each year there is still much work to be done. Here are four key points from her session at INBOUND 2022.
We Need to Shift the Narrative on Sustainability
Much of today’s conversation around environmental sustainability is centered around shame and guilt. Moving away from the mind frame of “I should” to one that’s focused on “I want to” is a powerful way to encourage sustainability efforts. “Rather than make people feel guilty, talk about the fact that every single day, every one of us lives, we make some impact,” Dr. Goodall says. We should empower our community, colleagues, family, and friends to choose sustainable actions. “We get to choose what sort of impact we make. And I think then people feel much more inspired because it's up to them,” she adds.
There Are Still Small Pockets of Hope
In a highly divisive world where it’s easy to feel helpless about the future, what gives Dr. Goodall hope?
It’s Not Too Late: There is still a window of time to take action. She champions organizations like Roots & Shoots (which she founded through the Jane Goodall Institute) that educate and encourage young people to understand problems so that they can roll up their sleeves to tackle environmental issues. “It's the young people now that they understand the problems, that we empower them to take action,” she says.
Using our Brains For Good: Humans have the ability to achieve amazing feats — from launching rockets into space to developing innovative technologies. Dr. Goodall is encouraged by the advancements in science and renewable energy and using our human intellect for the greater good.
Nature is Healing: “We can absolutely destroy a place, make it ugly, and yet give nature a chance, and sometimes a helping hand, and nature comes back,” she reflects on nature’s resiliency. Even as large swaths of land are cleared to grow food, water resources are being tapped into at an alarming rate and other natural resources are dwindling, she believes in the steadfastness of nature in the face of adversity. All it needs is a chance.
The Indomitable Human Spirit: Lastly, Dr. Goodall is reassured knowing that the people working to solve environmental problems are creating a path for the next generation to continue driving for change and impact. “ Even if they don't succeed in their lifetimes, they've created a whole group of people around them inspired by their passion who will carry on the work,” she adds.
Burnout, Meet Mother Nature
Regardless of industry, everyone experiences burnout and exhaustion. How does Dr. Goodall recharge and what are her recommendations for others? Unsurprisingly, the answer is nature.
“At any moment I can get to be somewhere in nature, and it's now proven that we need time in nature for our physical and mental health,” she says of the importance of being around nature. She encourages everyone to put down their phones and take time away from their screens to fully appreciate the spiritual force and connectivity that comes with being outdoors.
Hope is an Active Verb
When thinking about communities and how to stay connected on a global scale while also recognizing the vast disparities people experience, Dr. Goodall points to respect. At Roots & Shoots that means bringing people together to understand cultural, religious, and language differences to foster dialogue, understanding, and respect. This plays well into her point of view that change cannot happen in silos — we need to come together and work together with shared respect and understanding.
“Hope is about action, not just wishful thinking,” says Dr. Goodall. As we reflect on our human impact on the world — in business, in our communities, in our personal lives — she leaves us with the challenge to take our hope and put it into action. Instead of sitting and looking at the bright star at the end of the tunnel wondering how to get there, “We've got to roll up our sleeves. We've got to crawl under. Climb over. Work our way around. All the obstacles. The ones I've mentioned and the ones I haven't, that lie between us and hope,” she adds. How do we do that? Research, learn, and choose an area that you’re passionate about — and then take action.
Check out HubSpot’s 2022 Sustainability Report to see what actions have been taken to further the company's commitments to creating a more sustainable future.