Jane Goodall is one of the world's leading conservationists. She has written many books including the New York Times bestseller Reason for Hope. People around the world are familiar with her work with the chimpanzees of Gombe National Park in Tanzania. Marc Bekoff is professor of biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He is regional coordinator for Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots program, which promotes environmental awareness and community involvement of young people, senior citizens, and prisoners in 70 countries through education and hands-on activities. Here they present ten steps we can take to draw closer to the animal kingdom and deepen our relationship with our multi-footed, winged, and finned brothers and sisters.
Jane Goodall reminds us that she was invited to participate in the Millennium Peace Summit of religious and spiritual leaders at the United Nations as a voice for the animal nations. She had only eight minutes to share her convictions that "many animals have personalities, minds, and feelings that their individual lives matter in the scheme of things." Here along with animal behaviorist Marc Bekoff, she is able to leisurely share her vision of an ideal interspecies community.
Much of the book charts the dangerous consequences of the human need to subjugate and control animals. Goodall notes: "Our domination of other animals is all but absolute. Not only can we kill them in the wild and destroy their homes, but also we can exert control over even the greatest of them. We know how to use pain to subdue and control. There are bulls, pigs, and camels with rings through their noses. There are cattle prods to send cruel stabs of pain through rebellious captive bodies. There are capture guns to anesthetize. There are whips and spurs to strike and goad. And, as a last resort, guns that kill."
Goodal and Bekoff are outraged by the cruel treatment of animals in zoos, game farms that rent out animals for photography and filming, factory farming, the fur industry, animal experimentation, the slaughter of animals for body parts, the bushmeat trade, ecotourism, the extermination of so-called predators, and genetically modified food and drugs. And, of course, as a consequence of human population growth, the destruction of animal habitat and the global rate of species extinction are the highest they have been for the past 65 million years.
What can be done to care for the animals we love? Goodall and Bekoff have come up with ten trusts:
1. Rejoice that we are part of the Animal Kingdom.
2. Respect all life.
3. Open our minds, in humility, to animals and learn from them.
4. Teach our children to respect and love nature.
5. Be wise stewards of life on earth.
6. Value and help preserve the sounds of nature.
7. Refrain from harming life in order to learn about it.
8. Have the courage of our convictions.
9. Praise and help those who work for animals and the natural world.
10. Act knowing we are not alone and live with hope.
We can live in peace and harmony with all the earth's creatures once we give up the shibboleth of human superiority over animals. Sadly, we still have a long way to go on that score. Goodall and Bekoff convincingly make a case for interspecies cooperation and love. Be sure to check out their wonderful lists of books and articles, videos and websites.