Photo © Michael Neugebauer courtesy of Jane Goodall Institute
Today, Jane Goodall turns 80. Her research and activism have changed the way that the world sees chimpanzees and how the world protects them. Greenpeace’s campaign against destructive palm oil in Cameroon, which is threatening the home of the chimpanzee, has been shaped by Goodall’s legacy.
As a field biologist and primatologist, Jane was among the first to discover many things about this chimpanzees, including their vocal language, social hierarchy and, perhaps most famously, that they could make and use tools.
But by the 1980s Jane’s beloved great ape became recognized as an endangered species. And she quickly discovered that Gombe National Park in Tanzania, home of the chimpanzees she studied and thus her research laboratory for years, was being threatened by deforestation. She soon took her forest conservation message around the world.
Decades after she first spoke about the need to protect the chimpanzee and combat deforestation, Greenpeace remains dedicated to this fight. We strive to end deforestation by 2020 and protect the chimpanzee and other endangered wildlife along the way.
In addition to the rainforests of Indonesia (which so many people have taken action to protect by sending a message to Procter & Gamble in recent weeks), the rainforests of the Congo Basin are also threatened by the expansion of palm oil. In the Southwest region of Cameroon in particular, Greenpeace has been working for years to end the highly destructive Herakles Farms palm oil project.
This American company wants to destroy incredible chimpanzee habitat to plant palm oil. And just as Jane Goodall recognized the interconnectedness of humans and the environment, we know it is not just the chimpanzees at risk. Local communities surrounding the Herakles Farms project are losing the land they have relied on for their livelihood for generations.
Luckily, our efforts to stop the Herakles Farms palm oil project has limited forest destruction to just a few hundred acres so far. But Herakles has been given the green light by the Cameroonian government to destroy almost 50,000 acres of rainforest and chimpanzee habitat. So our efforts to stop it and ensure all future palm oil development in the Congo Basin follows strict environmental and social safeguards, continues.
We are standing up to the intimidation of local activists, we are sending messages to investors in this irresponsible project and we are working with local communities to amplify their voices. Together we can carve out a future in Africa that does not include losing the forest and the very species that Jane Goodall spent decades of her life protecting.
On her 80th birthday Greenpeace would like to thank Jane Goodall for her dedication to making the world a better place.
Thank you for discovering and sharing the beauty of the chimpanzee and forging solutions to deforestation. Greenpeace is right here next to you, advancing the fight against today’s threats to this magnificent animal and working tirelessly to protect the forest it and local communities call home.