60 Inspiring Jane Goodall Quotes About the Environment

These Jane Goodall quotes will help you understand the connection between humans and the natural world.

Jane Goodall is a legendary primatologist who has dedicated her life to studying chimpanzees and the environment.

Her words will give you a fresh perspective on animals, humans, and the state of the earth.

These Jane Goodall quotes highlight her groundbreaking research and her love for all animals.

Thanks to her efforts, we now have a better understanding of how mankind is connected to nature. 

How did Jane Goodall change the world?

As an environmental activist and conservation leader, Jane Goodall has changed the world.

These inspiring quotes from the famed primatologist will intrigue and delight you.

Over the years, Jane Goodall has brought humans and animals closer to together with her thought-provoking research.

Read her advice and words of wisdom to better understand your place in the natural world.

Share these Jane Goodall quotes with everyone you know who loves animals and the environment.

For more inspiration, don’t forget to also check out our collection of climate change quotes..

Check out our most popular quote article, a list of short inspirational quotes for daily inspiration. 

If you enjoy this collection, check out our inspirational quotes category page.

Jane Goodall quotes on the connection between humans and the natural world

1. “Here we are, the most clever species ever to have lived. So how is it we can destroy the only planet we have?” – Jane Goodall

Everyday Application: We are a clever and innovative species. Yet, sometimes we do things that don’t make sense. Recognize the power that each of us to make small differences each day. They add up the more people that also make adjustments. We really can make the world a better place, one person at a time.

2. “I think empathy is really important, and I think only when our clever brain and our human heart work together in harmony can we achieve our full potential.” – Jane Goodall

Everyday Application: Jane gives us so much credit for being what we are: clever and warm hearted. That should give us the ability to use empathy a little better. Empathy is one of the most important things we can express, but so often fall short of. Check out this article to learn why.

3. “To me, cruelty is the worst of human sins. Once we accept that a living creature has feelings and suffers pain, then by knowingly and deliberately inflicting suffering on that creature, we are guilty, whether it be human or animal.” – Jane Goodall

Everyday Application: While we are clever and capable of great things, we can also be cruel. Cruelty and empathy are both things humans are capable of demonstrating. So, why do we choose one over the other?

4. “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you.” – Jane Goodall

Everyday Application: Everything we do and every choice we make impacts those around us. This then has an impact on our day, their day, and the people they encounter. Your sphere of influence is bigger than you think!

5. “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” – Jane Goodall

Everyday Application: Life is full of choices. Choices about you react to something, choices about how behave, and choices about the actions we take. These choices have consequences, and those consequences decide what kind of difference we make in the world.

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6. “Let us develop respect for all living things. Let us try to replace violence and intolerance with understanding and compassion. And love.” – Jane Goodall

Everyday Application: Understanding and compassion for others has the power to open your mind up to new beliefs. Maybe all we need to make the world a better place is to make a conscious effort to understand those who are different than ourselves. Love and respect probably wouldn’t hurt either!

7. “If we kill off the wild, then we are killing a part of our souls.” – Jane Goodall

Everyday Application: We are creatures of the Earth. There is a certain wildness in all of us. Killing off other creatures of the Earth, is indeed like killing a part of ourselves that yearns to be wild and free.

8. “Chimpanzees, more than any other living creature, have helped us to understand that there is no sharp line between humans and the rest of the animal kingdom. It’s a very blurry line, and it’s getting more blurry all the time.” – Jane Goodall

Everyday Application: We do have things in common with chimps and other primates. However, we have even more in common with other people who live in different places, believe in different faiths, or act differently than we do. Let’s blur the lines a little bit and find something that connects us all.

9. “To reconnect with nature is key if we want to save the planet.” – Jane Goodall

Everyday Application: Connecting with nature reduces stress and resets the mind and body. It also helps us remember what matters, and how important the planet is to our survival.

10. “The greatest danger to our future is apathy.” – Jane Goodall

Everyday Application: Apathy means that you have a lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern. Being apathetic about anything is a danger to the future. You can combat apathy by reconnecting with friends, nature, or your spirituality.

Jane Goodall quotes to give you a fresh perspective on the state of the earth

11. “I do have reasons for hope: our clever brains, the resilience of nature, the indomitable human spirit, and above all, the commitment of young people when they’re empowered to take action.” – Jane Goodall

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Everyday Application: Hope is one of the most beautiful things that humans possess. It is defined as “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.” When we despair it is hope (and our indomitable human spirit) that get us through. Check out this article if you are feeling a little hopeless.

12. “We have the choice to use the gift of our life to make the world a better place ― or not to bother.” – Jane Goodall

Everyday Application: Each of us a unique gift. There is no one else exactly like you! Wake up everyday and be grateful that you have another chance to impact the world around you. Even if you don’t think you are making “the world” a better place, I can guarantee that you make someone’s life a little better. The ripple of your deeds and purpose might be bigger than you think!

13. “In what terms should we think of these beings, nonhuman yet possessing so very many human-like characteristics? How should we treat them? Surely we should treat them with the same consideration and kindness as we show to other humans; and as we recognize human rights, so too should we recognize the rights of the great apes? Yes.” – Jane Goodall

Everyday Application: Jane Goodall spent decades studying chimpanzees and other primates. Those years of research led her to conclude that several behaviors once believed to be entirely human may have been inherited from common ancestors that we shared with chimpanzees millions of years ago. Animals, whether they share human characteristics or not should be valued and respected as part of the planet we live on.

14. “Only if we understand, can we care. Only if we care, we will help. Only if we help, we shall be saved.” – Jane Goodall

Everyday Application: Jane is expressing the foundation for empathy in this quote. You do not have to agree with someone to understand their position. You merely have to listen and attempt to understand. When you understand, then you can care about your fellow human being. When you care, then hopefully you are moved to offer assistance.

15. “Chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans have been living for hundreds of thousands of years in their forest, living fantastic lives, never overpopulating, never destroying the forest. I would say that they have been in a way more successful than us as far as being in harmony with the environment.” – Jane Goodall

Everyday Application: There is a lot that humans can learn from animal behavior, especially primates. According to this article from Forbes, there are four leadership principles that we can take away from primates. Essentially, it comes down to how primates are empathetic, firm, and able to resolve conflict.

16. “Change happens by listening and then starting a dialogue with the people who are doing something you don’t believe is right.” – Jane Goodall

17. “If the factory farm does indeed unravel – and it must – then there is hope that we can, gradually, reverse the environmental damage it has caused. Once the animal feed operations have gone and livestock are once again able to graze, there will be a massive reduction in the agricultural chemicals currently used to grow grain for animals. And eventually, the horrendous contamination caused by animal waste can be cleaned up. None of this will be easy.” – Jane Goodall

18. “We have so far to go to realize our human potential for compassion, altruism, and love.” – Jane Goodall

19. “What makes us human, I think, is an ability to ask questions, a consequence of our sophisticated spoken language.” – Jane Goodall

20. “Farm animals are far more aware and intelligent than we ever imagined and, despite having been bred as domestic slaves, they are individual beings in their own right. As such, they deserve our respect. And our help. Who will plead for them if we are silent? Thousands of people who say they ‘love’ animals sit down once or twice a day to enjoy the flesh of creatures who have been treated so with little respect and kindness just to make more meat.” – Jane Goodall

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Jane Goodall quotes that will inspire you to make a difference

21. “Every individual matters. Every individual has a role to play. Every individual makes a difference.” – Jane Goodall

Everyday Application: It might feel like there is nothing that we can do about certain things. However, one individual’s choices and decisions can inspire more people to band together and make a difference. It all starts with one person embracing their role, purpose, or true self. We may not know that a moment will lead us to our destiny until later, but we each can make a difference!

22. “One thing I had learned from watching chimpanzees with their infants is that having a child should be fun.” – Jane Goodall

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23. “I’m always pushing for human responsibility. Given that chimpanzees and many other animals are sentient and sapient, then we should treat them with respect.” – Jane Goodall

24. “And if we dare to look into those eyes, then we shall feel their suffering in our hearts. More and more people have seen that appeal and felt it in their hearts. All around the world there is an awakening of understanding and compassion, and understanding that reaches out to help the suffering animals in their vanishing homelands. That embraces hungry, sick, and desperate human beings, people who are starving while the fortunate among us have so much more than we need. And if, one by one, we help them, the hurting animals, the desperate humans, then together we shall alleviate so much of the hunger, fear, and pain in the world. Together we can bring change to the world, gradually replacing fear and hatred with compassion and love. Love for all living beings.” – Jane Goodall

25. “I think the most important thing is to keep active and to hope that your mind stays active.” – Jane Goodall

26. “When you meet chimps you meet individual personalities. When a baby chimp looks at you it’s just like a human baby. We have a responsibility to them.” – Jane Goodall

27. “From my perspective, I absolutely believe in a greater spiritual power, far greater than I am, from which I have derived strength in moments of sadness or fear. That’s what I believe, and it was very, very strong in the forest.” – Jane Goodall

28. “People say maybe we have a soul and chimpanzees don’t. I feel that it’s quite possible that if we have souls, chimpanzees have souls as well.” – Jane Goodall

29. “If we do not do something to help these creatures, we make a mockery of the whole concept of justice.” – Jane Goodall

30. “Someday we shall look back on this dark era of agriculture and shake our heads. How could we have ever believed that it was a good idea to grow our food with poisons?” – Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall quotes to help bring humans and animals closer

31. “Each one of us matters, has a role to play, and makes a difference. Each one of us must take responsibility for our own lives, and above all, show respect and love for living things around us, especially each other.” – Jane Goodall

32. “All the time I was getting closer to animals and nature, and as a result, closer to myself and more and more in tune with the spiritual power that I felt all around. For those who have experienced the joy of being alone with nature there is really little need for me to say much more; for those who have not, no words of mine can even describe the powerful, almost mystical knowledge of beauty and eternity that come, suddenly, and all unexpected. The beauty was always there, but moments of true awareness were rare. They would come, unannounced; perhaps when I was watching the pale flush preceding dawn; or looking up through the rustling leaves of some giant forest tree into the greens and browns and the black shadows and the occasionally ensured bright fleck of blue sky; or when I stood, as darkness fell, with one hand on the still warm trunk of a tree and looked at the sparkling of an early moon on the never still, softly sighing water of Lake Tanganyika.” – Jane Goodall

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33. “I like some animals more than some people, some people more than some animals.” – Jane Goodall

34. “Lasting change is a series of compromises. And compromise is all right, as long your values don’t change.” – Jane Goodall

35. “We are, indeed, often cruel and evil. Nobody can deny this. We gang up on each one another, we torture each other, with words as well as deeds, we fight, we kill. But we are also capable of the most noble, generous, and heroic behavior.” – Jane Goodall

36. “I don’t think that faith, whatever you’re being faithful about, really can be scientifically explained. And I don’t want to explain this whole life business through truth, science. There’s so much mystery. There’s so much awe.” – Jane Goodall

37. “Words can be said in bitterness and anger, and often there seems to be an element of truth in the nastiness. And words don’t go away, they just echo around.” – Jane Goodall

38. “You cannot share your life with a dog, as I had done in Bournemouth, or a cat, and not know perfectly well that animals have personalities and minds and feelings.” – Jane Goodall

39. “We have a responsibility toward the other life-forms of our planet whose continued existence is threatened by the thoughtless behavior of our own human species … Environmental responsibility ― for if there is no God, then, obviously, it is up to us to put things right.” – Jane Goodall

40. “And always I have this feeling ― which may not be true at all ― that I am being used as a messenger.” – Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall quotes to inspire you

41. “Cultural speciation had been crippling to human moral and spiritual growth. It had hindered freedom of thought, limited our thinking, imprisoned us in the cultures into which we had been born.” – Jane Goodall

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42. “We find animals doing things that we, in our arrogance, used to think was ‘just human.’” – Jane Goodall

43. “And I thought how sad it was that, for all our sophisticated intellect, for all our noble aspirations, our aggressive behavior was not just similar in many ways to that of the chimpanzees – it was even worse. Worse because human beings have the potential to rise above their baser instincts, whereas chimpanzees probably do not.” – Jane Goodall

44. “There is a powerful force unleashed when young people resolve to make a change.” – Jane Goodall

Everyday Application: Young people are excited to live their lives and create change. They have ideals and a unique sense of optimism and hope. That unbridled hope which has not yet been beaten down with cynicism is a powerful force. What is important to remember is that we can all tap back into our sense of hope and optimism and make change!

45. “Most of us don’t realize the difference we could make. We love to shrug off our own responsibilities, to point fingers at others. ‘Surely,’ we say, ‘the pollution, waste, and other ills are not our fault. They are the fault of the industry, business, science. They are the fault of the politicians,’ This leads to a destructive and potentially deadly apathy.” – Jane Goodall

46. “But let us not forget that human love and compassion are equally deeply rooted in our primate heritage, and in this sphere too our sensibilities are of a higher order of magnitude than those of chimpanzees.” – Jane Goodall

47. “We still have a long way to go. But we are moving in the right direction. If only we can overcome cruelty, to human and animal, with love and compassion we shall stand at the threshold of a new era in human moral and spiritual evolution ― and realize, at last, our most unique quality: humanity.” – Jane Goodall

48. “I became totally absorbed into this forest existence. It was an unparalleled period when aloneness was a way of life; a perfect opportunity, it might seem, for meditating on the meaning of existence and my role in it all.” – Jane Goodall

49. “The hardest part of returning to a truly healthy environment may be changing the current totally unsustainable heavy-meat-eating culture of increasing numbers of people around the world. But we must try. We must make a start, one by one.” – Jane Goodall

50. “The least I can do is speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves.” – Jane Goodall

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More Jane Goodall quotes

51. We can’t leave people in abject poverty, so we need to raise the standard of living for 80% of the world’s people, while bringing it down considerably for the 20% who are destroying our natural resources.” – Jane Goodall

52. “I think the best evenings are when we have messages, things that make us think, but we can also laugh and enjoy each other’s company.” – Jane Goodall

53. “Without patience I could never have succeeded.” – Jane Goodall

54. “Some people say… that violence and war are inevitable. I say rubbish: Our brains are fully capable of controlling instinctive behavior. We’re not very good at it though, are we?” – Jane Goodall

55. “It actually doesn’t take much to be considered a difficult woman. That’s why there are so many of us.” – Jane Goodall

56. “As thy days, so shall thy strength be.” – Jane Goodall

57. “That is our hope. Because if we all start listening and helping, then surely, together, we can make the world a better place for all living things. Can’t we?” – Jane Goodall

58. “You may not believe in evolution, and that’s all right. How we humans came to be the way we are is far less important than how we should act now to get out of the mess we have made for ourselves.” – Jane Goodall

59. “Any little thing that brings us back into communion with the natural world and the spiritual power that permeates all life will help us to move a little further along the path of human moral and spiritual evolution.” – Jane Goodall

60. “Nature can win if we give her a chance” – Jane Goodall

Which of these inspirational Jane Goodall quotes opens up your heart and mind the most?

If you’re an animal lover or environmental activist, you’ll be thrilled by the incredible insights of Jane Goodall.

The famous primatologist is known for her research regarding chimpanzees and the impact of humans on the natural world.

Hopefully, this collection of Jane Goodall quotes has inspired you to do your part and save the earth.

If we try our hardest and follow our hearts, anything is possible.

Our planet is being impacted by climate change, pollution, and poaching.

The quotes from Jane Goodall above should open your eyes to the connection between mankind and the environment.

Share these thought-provoking quotes with your friends and family to give them a new perspective on the state of the earth.

What are your favorite Jane Goodall quotes about nature, life, and love?

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