Here there is much goodness—one very good and strong lady who is leading such good community action to save our planet and all the species that exist upon it accompanied by my good chance to have the opportunity to photograph her in action.
The Jane Goodall Institute of New Zealand asked me to photograph its launch event at Te Papa. I said yes on the spot! It sure feels good to photograph events that mean a lot to me. Putting my Visual Communication skills to use in the arena of Effecting-Positive-Change. Jane Goodall was touring New Zealand, to do what she is driven to do—connecting with other humans on this planet, reminding us that each and every one of us makes a difference every day.
What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of a difference you want to make.—Jane Goodall
And the positive choices we choose to make needn't be high and mighty. Let's start small and local, as Jane advises. The big picture is overwhelming, but if we all did our part, that all adds up to a very large total! Simple actions—plastic bags, just don't use them, say no to plastic drinking straws, educate yourself about the production of the food you choose to buy, be kind to a neighbour, care for an animal....
If my memory serves me well, Dr Jane's description of individual and local contribution is that each consciously positive action is like a fine gold thread which is being woven into a black tapestry. Our fine gold threads are increasing in number, let's keep the gold threads a-coming! It all adds up. It all matters. Let's all do our part to eliminate the black.
Jane Goodall is 83 years of age and travels an average of 300 days per year. Connecting in person with as many people as she can. She knows that being in the same room with other humans is much more powerful than digital sharing (which still has its place). I was certainly very moved to be in Jane Goodall's presence. Not because of any ideas of fame, but because of her way of being, her sharp (and intelligible) intelligence, her humble wisdom, her passionate hope, her drive to empower us all to make a much-needed difference.
Dr Jane states that she entered the jungle as a 'scientist' to study human's closest relative—the chimpanzee, but left the jungle as an 'activist' (through non-violent means) to save, not only her family of chimpanzees but also the planet and all who live upon it. This makes me think of Parker J. Palmer—referred to me by a friend—and I'll write more in detail about him in a future post all about my next photographic documentary project! In Parker's book 'Let Your Life Speak', he talks of vocation not coming from wilfulness but instead coming from listening:
Before you tell your life what you intend to do with it, listen for what it intends to do with you. Before you tell your life what truths and values you have decided to live up to, let your life tell you what truths you embody, what values you represent.—Parker J. Palmer
Dr Jane certainly has the presence of a woman who is 'letting her life speak', 'living from the inside out, not the outside in'. And so many people all around the world have been so deeply affected by this inner drive.
There is a wealth of information on the Jane Goodall Institute of New Zealand website. Some great videos here that I binge-watched in one hit! And if you are wanting to financially donate to a very important cause (no amount is too little) you can do that here. Take the time to have a good look around. Check out the Roots & Shoots programme—a global community conservation programme that empowers young people of all ages to design and implement sustainability action projects with positive impacts on animals, people and the environment.
I think my message to the politicians who have within their power the ability to make change is, 'Do you really, really not care about the future of your great-grandchildren? Because if we let the world continue to be destroyed the way we are now, what's the world going to be like for your great-grandchildren?'—Jane Goodall
Thank you, Melanie Vivian, for inviting me and my camera to the launch. Thank you, Dr Jane Goodall for gracing us with your presence, wisdom, knowledge and hope. You certainly made an impact on me.
And thank you for adding the words 'One, two, three, chimpanzee!' to my photographic verbal repertoire! I shall treasure them and share them widely.