Jane Goodall Shares Pointed Message on Her 90th Birthday: ‘What You Do Makes a Difference’

For her 90th birthday on Wednesday, animal rights champion Dr. Jane Goodall has made a video in which she and many famous friends plead for compassion for animals. “I’m sure all of you will agree you can’t spend time with an animal and not know that we are not the only beings with personalities, minds, and emotions,” she says at the beginning of the video.

The rest of the four-minute clip finds her and others reciting a statement from her about the importance of recognizing every part of the world’s ecology. Speakers include Ellen Burstyn, Alicia Silverstone, Mýa, Dr. Deepak Chopra, James Cromwell, Persia White, Sen. Cory Booker, and others. Each reads a line or part of a line from Goodall’s speech.

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“Farm animals feel pleasure and sadness, excitement and resentment, depression, fear, and pain,” the readers say. “They are far more aware and intelligent than we ever imagined. They are individuals in their own right. And if we dare to look into those eyes, then we shall feel their suffering in our hearts. Only if we understand can we care. Only if we care will we help. Only if we help, we shall be saved. To reconnect with nature is key if we want to save the planet.”

Goodall’s message continues by chastising people who are poisoning the environment, saying that if we poison animals, we poison humanity. “We are arguably the most intelligent being that’s ever walked planet Earth with this extraordinary brain,” the message continues. “Yet we’re destroying the only home we have. Let’s replace violence and intolerance with understanding, compassion, and love.” The biggest danger to the future, Goodall conveys, is apathy. “What you do makes a difference,” she says at the end.


Goodall released the video, titled Voices of Hope — Words of Wisdom by Dr. Jane Goodall, via the Mercy for Animals organization and her own Jane Goodall Institute (JGI). Leah Garcés, Mercy For Animals’ CEO and president, praised Goodall’s efforts in her lifetime in a statement. “Dr. Goodall has made the world a better place for all its inhabitants and has educated and empowered several generations to take action to create a more just, sustainable, and beautiful future,” she told People.

“As I celebrate my 90th birthday and reflect on my journey, the gift I want to give to the world is a message about the connection between animals, people, and the planet we share, and this film by Mercy for Animals and JGI inspires that universal understanding,” Goodall told People.