Chimps, doves and Jane Goodall
Famed 'Peace Messenger' pays visit to local area
Jane Goodall tends to draw a crowd.
That was remarkably apparent at the famed anthropologist's speech at Marylhurst University on April 23.
This was not an intimate, august gathering of people paying their respects to one of the most honored women in the world. In fact, the university commons area was a sea of humanity, and mostly young humanity, with all of the attendant noise, bustle and excitement.
As Marylhurst President Nancy Wilgenbusch said in her introduction, 'It was all the fire marshal would allow.'
It was quite a powerful scene, but it was only business as usual for Goodall. She had filled her day in West Linn and Wilsonville with many events, mainly meeting with group after group of Portland-area Roots n' Shoots clubs, all filled with children wanting to meet the woman who inspired them.
This is something Goodall encounters very, very often, because she travels 300 days a year. That takes her away from her beloved chimpanzees - Goodall's research on them made her world famous. But this gentle, slender woman of 74, with the long gray hair tied up in back, believes it is her duty to spread peace throughout the world.
'War is not inevitable,' Goodall told the huge crowd. 'And if it is inevitable, humanity has inherent traits of love and compassion that can put a stop to war.'
Goodall's own life is her best reason for hope in the face of all of the calamities facing the world. Growing up in London it seemed she had none of the resources that would let her live her dreams to go to Africa, live with animals and write books.
She wasn't even the right sex.
'I was a girl,' Goodall said.
But step by step her dreams came true. Her life became 'this amazing adventure.' Because of Goodall's work, animals are now viewed in an entirely different way - as creatures of minds, emotions and feelings; so much closer to being like human beings than previously imagined.
In fact, Goodall's life has exceeded her early dreams, and now she makes it her mission to give hope to the thousands of young people who flock to her experiences. World saving is now Goodall's business.
'How could the most intelligent being destroy its own home?' she asked. 'I can only think we've lost something called wisdom. Our main concern is 'How will something affect me now?' We seem to have a disconnect between the brain and human heart.
'In doing this, have we compromised the future of youth? Yes.'
Symbols help Goodall get her message across. She always introduces audiences to the stuffed monkey she carries with her, and she is very big on doves. Forty doves of peace were released during her sojourn at Boones Ferry Primary, and she concluded her presentation at Marylhurst with a giant artificial dove brought out by people with sticks.
'Everywhere I go there are amazing displays like this,' Goodall said. 'Otherwise, how could I do it 300 days a year? Where would I get the energy?'
The huge crowd rewarded her with a standing, waving and cheering ovation. The batteries were recharged for Jane Goodall's roadshow of hope to continue.
Goodalls appearance was a collaboration between the West Linn-Wilsonville School District and Marylhurst University. This was Goodall's fourth visit to West Linn and first since she came soon after the terrorist attacks of 9-11.