On Monday, the city of Buenos Aires hosted an event to welcome world-renowned conservationist and anthropologist Jane Goodall to Argentina, where she is filming a new documentary alongside distinguished whale researcher Roger Payne.
Goodall, known best for her groundbreaking studies of chimpanzee social life in Tanzania in the 1960s and later for her work in conservation and animal welfare, was presented with an honorary award by legislator Adrián Camps.
Kicking off her fourth visit to Argentina, the 79-year-old Goodall spoke to a crowded room of over 200 admirers, including many students and young people. The author of 14 books and recipient of numerous honorary doctorates discussed the state of the environment and what needs to be done to address the issues that threaten both people and animals.
Goodall also highlighted her current collaboration in Argentina with fellow ecologist Roger Payne. In 1967, Payne first documented that humpback whales used song to communicate with each other, around the same time that Goodall was researching chimp behaviour in the forests of Tanzania.
After Monday’s event, the two iconic conservationists travelled together to Puerto Madryn to film a project, which will document them meeting for the first time after five decades admiring the each other’s work.
The film, entitled ‘Jane and Payne: The Sea and the Jungle, Water and Earth, Man and Woman’, will shoot on location on Peninsula Valdes, in the very camp where Payne studied the southern right whale for several decades over forty years ago.
Argentine director Boy Olmi says the project “sees the wisdom of the sea joined with that of the forest, embodied by these two wise researchers, who, as they both near 80, bring 50 years of experience in diverse settings to a renewed, unique discourse about our planet.”
On Sunday, the two legends of conservation will sit down in Buenos Aires in front of a live audience and before thousands around the world watching via a live stream online. The conference will highlight the pair’s trip to Patagonia and connect viewers and attendees to ways they can become involved in the conservation of both whales and chimpanzees.
Jane Goodall’s work and that of her namesake organisation extends, however, far beyond simply conservation. In her speech Monday, Goodall discussed Roots and Shoots, the Jane Goodall Institute’s youth-centred environmental organisation, which has a branch here in Argentina.
“Roots and Shoots is involving young people of all ages in projects that they choose to make the world a better place for people, for animals, and for the environment that we share,” expressed Goodall, who cited the program as the reason she was named a UN Messenger of Peace in 2002. Goodall also expressed her gratitude that Argentina has taken the lead in Latin America in developing the Jane Goodall Institute and the Roots and Shoots program.
In addition to mentioning some of the ways her institute has worked to combat habitat loss and animal and human suffering around the world, Goodall stressed the importance of targeting and involving children and youth, who she said were her “biggest hope”.
“I think many of the young people today are really getting it,” Goodall told the audience. “They truly are living in a different sort of way. They are rising to the challenge in a way I never saw when I was younger.”
Sunday’s event with Jane Goodall and Roger Payne is free and open to the public. The conference will be held at 3.30pm at the Hilton Hotel, located at Av. Macacha Güemes 351 in Puerto Madero. It can also be streamed live at www.janegoodall.org/livestream