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50 Inspiring Jane Goodall Quotes About the Environment

Published on March 1, 2020 7:00 AM EST
50 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. 

50 Inspiring Jane Goodall Quotes About the Environment

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 or these animal quotes celebrating their role in our lives.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t forget these Steve Irwin quotes that will activate your inner planet activist.

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

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

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

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

More 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

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

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

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? Let us know in the comment section below.

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