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Arts & Culture

Conservationist, Activist Jane Goodall Speaks at Hollins University

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Jane Goodall is known around the world for her work with chimpanzees, redefining the relationship between humans and the natural world. The conservationist and animal rights advocate spoke at Hollins University this week to a large, inspiration-seeking audience. 

Hours before Jane Goodall prepared to speak at Hollins University, hordes of people lined up to hear her lecture.

The conservationist and animal rights activist embarked on her passion-fueled quest to understand and protect our non-human counterparts more 50 years ago, and her message may resonate with audiences more now than ever.

“Every one of us makes a difference every day. And we may feel helpless and hopeless because – what can one individual do? But the accumulation of millions and then billions of small, ethical choices is going to move us towards the kind of world we can be a little bit more complacent about leaving to our grandchildren.”

Wherever she speaks, Goodall encourages her audience to act on passion---and although her empathetic approach to research has been criticized in the past, she maintains that with objectivity alone, humans aren’t able to reach their full potential.

“Science has the reputation of being a cold sort of discipline. And you’re meant to be objective and you shouldn’t show empathy for your subjects. And that, I believe, is totally wrong. And I think when science no longer listens to the heart, it becomes a very dangerous sort of discipline.”

Though she just turned 81, Goodall is staying as busy as ever. She speaks 300 days a year, and after her stop in Roanoke, she was off to Seattle, Salt Lake City, DC, London…

“And then Africa to open the biggest chimpanzee sanctuary for orphans in Africa at Tchimpounga. We’ve been working on it for the last three years – it’s three big islands and we’re moving chimpanzees from our sanctuary onto these three islands.”

Goodall’s appearance at Hollins was sponsored by their Distinguished Speakers Fund, bringing national and global leaders in a variety of fields to speak on campus twice a year.   

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