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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  July 28, 2020 4:30am-5:01am BST

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the latest headlines for you from bbc news: the head of the world health organization has said covid—19 is easily the most severe global health emergency the organisation has ever declared. doctor tedros ghebreyesus is to convene an emergency committee this week to review its assessment of the pandemic. spain's prime minister has strongly criticised the uk's decision to impose a quarantine on everybody arriving from his country. pedro sanchez said british tourists were safer from the virus in most regions of spain than they are at home. there was particular anger at the decision to include the balearic and canary islands. in brazil, one of the worst affected countries have urged the international criminal court to investigate president bolsonaro's government. they accuse it of crimes against humanity over its handling of the virus. almost 2.5 million cases have been recorded in brazil. it is ii:30am. you are
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up brazil. it is ii:30am. you are up to date on headlines. time the hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk. i'm stephen sackur. my guest today has made a unique contribution to our understanding of humankind's closest relatives — the primates. in particular, the chimpanzee. jane goodall was in her 20s when she began her meticulous observation of chimpanzee behaviour in africa. now, she's in her mid—80s, a world —famous conservation activist. so what hope is there for saving the primates and so many other species from mass extinction? so what hope is there for saving the primates and so many other species from mass extinction?
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jane goodall, welcome to hardtalk. well, thank you. thank you for inviting me to hardtalk. it is a pleasure having you on the programme, and it strikes me this year is a rather remarkable anniversary for you. it is 60 years from the beginning of your work in what we now call tanzania, your observation of the chimpanzees in the forest. when you consider the 60—year span of time, what is your overriding feeling when you reflect on what has happened in those six decades? well, the world has changed, there is no question. it has changed rather dramatically. when i first arrived at the gombe — now the gombe national park, it was part of the great equatorial forest belt that stretched from the western parts of east africa right across to the west african coast, and when i flew over gombe national park, which is very small, in 1990, i was shocked to see a tiny
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island of forest and it was surrounded by completely bare hills, more people living there than the land could support, too poor to buy food from elsewhere, chimpanzees now isolated from other remnant chimpanzee groups in the area, and right across africa, chimpanzee numbers have dropped, forests have disappeared, there is the live animal trade, mothers shot to sell babies. the bush meat trade, because in some african countries, people think chimp meat is a delicacy. so that is also adding to the depletion of chimpanzee numbers right across africa. even in that answer, you have given us such a sense of the enormous environmental
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pressures that the chimpanzees have been under over those 60 years. i want to go through this from the beginning — i want to start by having you take us back to 1960, to the young jane goodall in her 20s with no real scientific academic training, but certainly, amazing gifts for natural observation. how unusual was it for you to be given the role, the responsibility of going out into the forest and undertaking this scientific observation? well, it was absolutely unique. you are right, i had no scientific training at all. ijust did biology in school. i left school at 18, we didn't have money for a university or a college. and so when i arrived in africa, it was simply because from the age of ten, i had dreamed of going to live with wild animals in africa and write books about them. and i was fortunate to meet with dr louis leakey, the famous palaeontologist, and i think he was really impressed by how much i knew about african animals from the reading i had done. you know, when i grew up, there was no tv,
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so it was reading. and so he offered me a job as his assistant, really, and then he became, i suppose, more impressed because he saw that i really, really had this thing about being with animals and watching them and could cope with the bush. and so he gave me this extraordinary opportunity. i mean, iwould have studied any animal, and it was chimpanzees. and, interestingly, louis leakey, i think, encouraged you to run with this idea that meticulous observation of the chimpanzees might reveal new sort of connections between their behaviours and human behaviours. is that something that, when you went out into the forest, you were actively looking for? well, i wasn't looking for it, but that's the —
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he sent me because he believed, as everybody does now, but he was ahead of his time — he believed there was a common ancestor, chimp—like, human—like — ape—like, human—like, rather — about 6 million years ago, and because he was searching for the fossilised remains of our earliest human ancestors, he felt that if jane sees behaviour in chimpanzees today that is similar or maybe the same as behaviour in humans today, maybe that behaviour was also present in the common ancestor, brought with us on our two separate evolutionary pathways, and he felt that would give him, for the first time, some way of imagining how those early ancestors might have behaved. you adopted techniques, which i think we can now say were groundbreaking. you immersed yourself in the life of the chimp troupe — i don't know that is actually the right word, but the group of chimpanzees. you were with them every day, you encouraged them to get very confident in your presence and you didn't observe them with sort of scientific detachment and give them numbers as so many scientists
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have done in the past. you engaged with them and related to them in a much more intimate way. i certainly did. i observed them. it took a long time before they trusted me enough for me to really get close, but, you know, that is how i had studied the animals around my home in bournemouth all my life. so i knew, given time, that they would come to accept me. did i have time? we only had money for six months, and they kept running away every time they saw me. but then finally, one of them — i named him david greybeard — and he accepted me better than the others, and i saw him using and making tools forfish for termites. that was the turning point. that was when leakey was able to bring in the national geographic and send a photographer and filmmaker. and so gradually i was able to get to know the chimpanzees as individuals, each with their own personality. i could see their minds working to solve simple problems.
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and i could witness their emotions, like happiness, sadness, fear, grief. and all of this, when i was sent by leakey to cambridge university to do a phd in ethology — this is when the professors told me i had done everything wrong. yes, naming the chimps isn't scientific and i shouldn't talk about them having personalities, minds or emotions, because those, they said, were unique to humans. but even though i was nervous, never having been to college, i had been taught by a wonderful teacher as a child that this wasn't true, that in this respect, these erudite professors were wrong. and that teacher is right here behind me — i hope you can see him — it is my dog rusty. and you cannot spend meaningful time with any animal — a dog, a rat, a pig, a chimpanzee — and not know
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that we are not the only meanings on the planet with personalities, minds and emotions. and i was also told you mustn't have empathy with your subject. scientific observation should be sort of remote and cold and objective. but this is absolute rubbish, because only when you have empathy, you see something you don't understand, and you just have this feeling as to why it is happening. and so then you can stand back as a scientist, which is what cambridge taught me, and check whether your intuition is right or wrong. jane, as you say, national geographic were very eager to send, first, a photographer, then a full camera crew to record what you were doing in the forest, and many films have been made over the years using material from that period, but there was some archive footage that wasn't seen for very many years, and it has all been pulled together now in an extraordinary film. we just want to play a little clip from the archive, showing you increasingly
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winning the confidence of the chimpanzees in the forest. let's have a look right now.
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and gradually, they allowed me to get closer and closer. it was absolutely thrilling... to have the chimpanzees so close. what strikes me from that clip, jane goodall, is that there was a degree of real intervention in what you were doing. you were sort of laying bananas out increasingly close to yourself so you could get closer and closer to these creatures. some may look at that and say that you were, therefore, interfering in a way that made their behaviour is not entirely spontaneous and natural. some have talked about the degree of aggression that you encouraged as they ended up fighting for bananas. did you, at the time, worry about that degree of interference? no, because, you know, there was no protocols. there were one or two field studies of primates, they all had feeding stations — or almost all of them did —
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and i wasn't. .. what i was interested in right from the beginning was the behaviour of the individual. that was also discouraged by the science. . .scientists. but all the chimpanzees i was learning about had the same kind of situation, so i wasn't so interested in what they actually might have done if i wasn't there. admittedly, it did increase the aggression, and when i realised that, we stopped that feeding. the key finding — and there were many, and we will talk about several of them — but the key finding that still resonates through the world of primatology and animal behavioural science today was your observation, and it comes back to, i think, david greybeard, the name you gave to one of the chimps, his use of a stick as a tool to capture termites and of course then to eat them, and it wasn'tjust the use of this tool,
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it was the shaping and modelling of the tool to make it as effective as possible as a collector of termites. when you observed this tool behaviour, did it immediately strike you that this was something of a breakthrough? well, i knew it was a breakthrough. i knew that we were supposed to be the only tool—using, tool—making animal on the planet, and it was professor osman hill who defined us as ‘man, the toolmaker‘. so i knew it was a breakthrough as far as science was concerned. i knew that this was a breakthrough, and it really did change the whole course of the events, because david was carefully selecting grass stones, pushing them down into the termite hole, pulling them out slowly, eating off the termites, but he was also reaching out and picking a leafy twig, and to use that, he had to carefully strip the leaves — that was the toolmaking. and of course now we know they make tools in other ways as well.
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but it was very exciting. however, if the scientists had bothered to go into the field and talk to, for example, the indigenous people living in the forest in congo, they would have told them, "well, of course chimpanzees use tools. "we have seen it." well, i sincerely... well, i actually believe, because chimpanzees are so like us biologically — we share 98.6% of the composition of dna and many other similarities and composition of blood, immune system, anatomy of the brain and so on — along with hugo's film of chimpanzee behaviour, the similarity and non—verbal communication, kissing, embracing, holding hands, patting one another on the back, then it sort of forced science out of that very reductionist way of thinking about our relationship with animals. i want to talk for a moment, not about chimpanzee behaviour,
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but human behaviour. as a young woman, you were a pioneer in working in this field in the early 1960s. i'm just looking back at some of the reporting of the time, the associated press, for example, began a report on what you were doing in tanganyika with these words: "a willowy blonde with more time for monkeys than men "told today how she spent 15 months "in the jungle to study the habits of apes." there is no way they would have written about a male scientist like that. well, no, but it didn't offend me back then. quite honestly, ijust wanted to get on and study the chimpanzees. and when there were reports that jane's only famous because of her legs, it was a different world
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and women did not feel as threatened then as they do today, because feminism, you know, had not begun. this was just after world war ii. and my feeling was at the time — at the time — was that if my legs have helped me get onto the cover of the geographic, thank you, legs, because that's given me the opportunity to go on studying chimpanzees, which is what i want to do. so...oh, today, it would not be acceptable. let's reflect on where we are today. you referred to it early in the interview about the degree of pressure that there is on communities of chimpanzees and so many other wild animals, particularly in africa right now. i think the figures suggest are that there are around 170,000 chimpanzees in the wild today. at the turn of the 20th century, it is believed there were more than a million. do you think we humans have completely failed chimpanzees and so many other species? well, we're certainly failing them, but in the same way, we are failing our own future generations of human beings. we've been, for a long time,
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stealing the future of our children, grandchildren, we are still stealing it today. we have terribly harmed this planet. this has led to the climate crisis, which, if we do not get together around the world and do something about it soon, will lead to the end of life on this planet as we know it, and that includes us. it's our disrespect to nature, of the natural world and of animals that's led to this pandemic, this covid—19 pandemic and it has led to climate change. and so this is why i left gombe, which the best days of my life were there, out in the rainforest, learning about the interconnection of all living things, how each species has a role to play in this wonderful web of life which we call biodiversity. learning as i travelled around the world raising awareness about what was going on in africa, about what we're doing to the planet,
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and we won't go into that now, but i think probably everybody listening knows what we're doing to the planet. but i think, if i may, i think it is important to ask you this simple question. thinking of gombe in tanzania, where you did so much work, and so many other places in africa, what would you say to those — perhaps local people who would say, "well, jane goodall, her work is amazing, "but let us not forget, "jane goodall is a white woman with a lot of privilege, "coming into our communities "and now telling us that we must not deforest, "we must not seek out bush meat," which we can sell in the marketplace to feed our families and keep our families alive. "she's lecturing us in a way which doesn't reflect "the hardships and reality of our daily lives "and, therefore, her message about conservation is not one that we can easily accept"? well, what i would say to that is that's never what i did. and when i realised in 1986
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that the forests across africa were going and that chimpanzees were decreasing in number, along with other animals, the first thing i felt was important was to find out more about it. so i scraped together a bit of money and managed to visit, i think it was six range countries where chimpanzees lived, where they were being studied by then. and what i learned about was, yes, the plight of the chimps, but also, the plight of so many of the african people living in and around chimpanzee habitats, and it came to a head when i flew over the tiny gombe national park, which is, as i've said, by 1990, it was just a small island of forest surrounded by completely bare hills. people struggling to survive, too poor to buy food from elsewhere. and that's when it hit me. if we don't do something to help these people find ways
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of making a living without destroying the environment, we can't even try to save the chimpanzees. and so, the jane goodall institute began our community—based conservation programme, which we called tacare, and it was very holistic and it was not a group of arrogant white people marching into the villages and telling people, "you've messed things up, "this is what we're going to do to make things betterfor you." no. it was a small group, seven i think, local tanzanians, they did not even have a degree so they were not threatening, and they were hand—picked, and they went into the villages and sat down with the people and asked them, "what do you think we could do to help you?" and that's where we began. better education for the children, restoring fertility for the overused land to grow more food, and better health care. so we started in that way
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with just the 12 villages and a tiny grant from the european union. and i have looked at the amount of work that your institute has done along with other organisations you've set up like the roots & shoots organisation, particularly focused on young people in communities. you've done extraordinary work. but it seems to me the more you have turned from research to activism, and you travel all over the world with this message, the more uphill the struggle seems to be. are you feeling, in your ninth decade, very bleak about where we are? well, first of all, this expression, "think globally, act locally" — don't. because if you think globally, you are so depressed. you cannot help it today. but if you think, "what can i do as an individual, "right here in my own community?" this is the premise behind our roots & shoots programme that i began in ‘91 with 12 high school students in tanzania. and it basically was telling
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them that what they did each day would make a difference. and so it started with these 12 high school students, it's now in 65 countries, we have kindergarten members, university members, everything in between. and that's my hope for the future. because everywhere where i was going when i could travel — i haven't been able to travel because of this silly pandemic — but i was...there were young... there were children and students coming up, "drjane, we want to tell you what we've been doing "to make this a better world." so enthusiastic. jane, a last question. over your left shoulder, i see beautiful pictures of some of the chimpanzees who were part of your studies. do you think chimpanzees have a future? there are people who talk about the real possibility of the extinction of wild chimpanzees. well, it's what i am
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going to fight for for the rest of my life. i don't know how long that is. but we have got some quite large areas, and because of this tacare programme that i told you about, i talked about the bare hills around gombe. fly over it today, you won't see bare hills. the forests have been allowed to come back, the villagers have become our partners in conservation and they understand that protecting the environment isn't just for wildlife, it's their own future. they need the forest for clean air, clean water, to regulate rainfall and climate. and that programme is now in six other african countries wherejgi is studying chimpanzees. so there are large areas of forest and the villagers are beginning to leave corridors where the chimps can move from one community to another, which they must do to avoid inbreeding. so, i have great hope,
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but we don't have long to do it, and seeking funding... you know, gombe's 60 this year, 60th anniversary, we were going to use the 60th anniversary for galas and to raise lots of money, but of course that is all now put on hold because of covid—19. but nevertheless, i do have hope that the young people, because of this brain that's coming up now, finally, with ways of living in greater harmony with nature, because of the resilience of nature — give it a chance, it comes back — and because of what i call the indomitable human spirit, the people who tackle what seems impossible and won't give up and very often succeed. i have to say, that is a wonderful and uplifting note upon which to end. jane goodall, i thank you very much indeed for being with me on hardtalk. well, thank you too. it was a stimulating conversation. thank you.
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hello. after such a wet and windy start to the week, you'd be forgiven for thinking that autumn had arrived early. so here's a sight for sore eyes. at the end of the week, summer fighting back. temperatures widely in the mid to upper 20s, some into the low 30s, if you like that sort of thing. but one day doesn't make a heatwave. the heat will be outjust as soon as it arrives. but it will arrive, as high pressures builds in. turning wind from a northerly to a south—south—easterly at the end of the week, a flow of the air, some heat from the south, but very briefly indeed. and we're not there yet. in fact, for tuesday it will be another rather cool day for the time of year.
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it'll be a blustery one, as well. there'll be some sunshine occasionally. that's an improvement on what many of us had on monday, but there will be some showers, too. and a few from the word go and some single figures. with low pressure close to north—east scotland, it's here into the far north—east of the mainland, more into the northern isles, it will be wet at times and there will be some strong north—westerly winds. a few showers and scotland running through north—west england — may affect the cricket at times — into parts of wales and the midlands, but many parts of england and wales and northern ireland bar the odd shower will stay largely dry. some sunny spells with this gusty wind. it does mean, though, if you get a shower, it will move through quite quickly on the wind. some up to 20 orjust above. most of us will fall several degrees short of that. the wind eases a touch on tuesday night. we will continue with at least showers into the north—east of scotland. some rain still into the northern isles. and as for temperatures, well, a little bit lower as we start the day on wednesday. a day that sees high
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pressure building in. the low pressure moving off towards scandinavia. still quite windy, though, in the northern isles. these weather fronts get closer to western areas with a bit more cloud around. so a mixture of cloud and sunshine on wednesday. some showers towards the northern isles, northern scotland, the odd one elsewhere is possible. increasing cloud to the west will bring a bit of patchy rain to parts of wales, maybe northern ireland later in the day. and temperatures, though, are a little bit higher on wednesday. and of course, that is a sign of things to come. a bit of rain for parts of northern ireland and scotland. abundant sunshine on friday, with the heat. but again, as i mentioned earlier, it's very short—lived as temperatures come down for all at the weekend.
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this is bbc news with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. spain ‘s prime minister strongly criticises the uk's decision to impose a quarantine and everyone arriving in the country. we are talking with ritchie ‘s authority is to try and get them to reconsider a measure that in our opinion is not well—adjusted —— british. the former relation prime minister is found guilty of abusing his powers by a judge in the kuala lumpurand high court. honouring a civil rights icon —john court. honouring a civil rights icon — john lewis court. honouring a civil rights icon —john lewis lies in state in the us capital rotunda, the first black lawmaker ever to do
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