After months of anticipation from students and faculty alike, world-renowned anthropologist and primatologist Jane Goodall made an appearance in front of an audience of approximately 2,500 in attendance at Bakersfield College on April 1 to spread her message of unity and hope.
Goodall, who claims that her passion for animals and nature has been present since birth, says that one of her goals in life is to inspire people, including Bakersfield College students, to follow their dreams.
“My message [to BC students] is to remind them that every single day we make an impact in the world, and we have a choice as to what kind of impact we make, but also to follow your dreams, that’s what my mother said to me,” Goodall said. “If you really want something you have to work hard and take every opportunity.”
Goodall gives her mother a great amount of credit for her success and calls her one of her biggest inspirations.
“I don’t think for a moment that we can choose our mother or our fathers,” she said. “We are just born into whatever family we happen to be born into, but gosh, I really hit it lucky. My mother, right from the beginning, was really supportive.”
In addition to her message about working hard for one’s dreams, Goodall aims to spread awareness about the animal kingdom.
“I want to help people understand that animals, like us, have feelings and are capable of mental as well as physical suffering,” she said. Goodall then went on to explain that even farm animals that are clearly bred for human consumption are just as important as every creature in the animal kingdom.
Goodall, who tours all around the world about 300 days out of the year, explained that these tours are crucial to keep her messages alive.
“I see young children every day and I know that they haven’t heard it before, they haven’t heard the message, so it’s a first to them,” she said. “There’s no way I can retire, as long as my body continues to function, I have to do what I do.”
Krista Moreland, an anthropology professor at Bakersfield College who pursued her goal to bring Goodall to campus, explained the influence that the primatologist has had in the world throughout her career.
“Her work has shown that the animal kingdom does not revolve around us, we are part of the animal kingdom, we exist within it,” she said. “Her work has really changed how we define ourselves, how we view ourselves, and how we see our world.”
Following the lecture, Goodall offered attendees a question-and-answer session, followed by a book-signing session. The book was released on the same day as the lecture.