To say Dr. Jane Goodall is one of the most popular people in the world, in the company of the Dalai Lama, Barack Obama and the Pope perhaps, is no exaggeration. World famous for her pioneering studies in chimpanzee behavior and beloved for her work on behalf of animals and the environment, her message transcends political or cultural boundaries.
Now 83 and as energetic and devoted to animals and conservation as ever, she’s extended the reach of her knowledge and experience and given it to the world in her first online classes, available on www.masterclass.com.
Dr. Goodall turned up at a reception last week at the Whitby Hotel in midtown Manhattan to launch the series. And after a screening of excerpts from masterclass.com, she came onstage for a Q&A, holding a small stuffed toy chimpanzee. Her acolytes in the audience – including this one – gave her a rock star welcome.
In one of the clips screened, she says the series will cover, among many subjects, “How I got to understand about extinction, about the destruction of the environment, about all the harm we humans have inflicted on Mother Earth. And most importantly I’d like to share with you what we can all do together to right the wrongs, to heal some of the harm.”
Optimism and activism are the driving forces of her message. “This is the most exciting time in my life to study animal behavior,” she noted. “By protecting chimpanzees and inspiring people to conserve the natural world we all share, we improve the lives of people, animals and the environment.”
Dr. Goodall’s enthusiasm and animal love is contagious. And then no one tells a better sexy chimp story. She told the story of Flo, sexy still at 70, who mated with all 11 adult males of her community, who adored and followed her everywhere. She went into such detail that anymore would have been x-rated.
To find out how easy it is to fall under Dr. Goodall’s spell, check out this clip from her appearance the other night on Jimmy Fallon’s show, where she discussed her work, animals and masterclass.com. (By the way, I loved how she called herself “One take Jane” and described how quickly and spontaneously masterclass came together. After all, an 83 year old who travels 300 days of the year doesn’t have all the time in the world to give lectures.)