Pioneer Conservationist Jane Goodall Awarded 2020 Tang Prize in Sustainable Development


TAIPEI, TAIWAN – Media OutReach – 18 June 2020 – Dr.
Jane Goodall, DBE, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute, UN Messenger of Peace
and one of the most influential primatologists today, was announced winner of
the 2020 Tang Prize in Sustainable Development today (June 18), “for her
ground-breaking discovery in primatology that redefines human-animal
relationship and for her lifelong unparalleled dedication to the conservation
of Earth environment.” Her work laid a strong foundation for the world’s march
towards a sustainable future. 

 

Redefining
human-animal relationship

Dr. Goodall’s passion for animals prompted
her to accept the proposal from the celebrated anthropologist Louis Leakey to
collect data on chimpanzees in Tanzania. She started her research in 1960 when
she was only 26. Her time in Africa’s jungles led to a series of remarkable
discoveries of their behaviors, including making and using tools for probing
into termite tunnels, killing and eating monkeys, begging with outstretched
hands, patting, embracing, and many more. Each chimp has its unique character,
a mind of its own and its own emotional inclination. They can develop a lasting
relationship between family members and engage in brutal warfare with one
another. These findings injected brand new information into the field of
primatology, rocked the scientific world and redefined the relationship between
humans and animals. Dr. Leakey therefore proclaimed: “Now we must redefine
‘tool,’ redefine ‘man,’ or accept chimpanzees as humans.” And Harvard’s Stephen
Jay Gould would call Dr. Goodall’s observation “one of the great achievements
of twentieth-century scholarship.”   

 

Not only did she uncover many mysteries
surrounding chimpanzee communities and correct many longstanding misconceptions
prevailing in academic until then. Through her unparalleled knowledge, she also
helped to guide the U.S. National Institutes of Health through a pivotal change
in the U.S. biomedical research: ending invasive research on chimpanzees,
preventing them from being abused, giving them adequate living space, and
strategically relocating them to federal sanctuaries for retirement.

 

From
science to action, advocating nature and wildlife conservation

Her fieldwork on chimpanzees, originally
scheduled to take only 5 years, has been going on for more than 60 years, the
longest running wildlife study on the planet at the moment. In 1977, she
established the Jane Goodall Institute to promote wildlife conservation and
educate people on environmental protection. It has more than 30 offices around
the world now, including one in Taiwan, which was set up in 1998.  

 

After
attending the first “Understanding Chimpanzees” conference in Chicago in 1986,
Dr. Goodall became alert to the global scale of the destruction of chimpanzees’
habitats and realized that no matter how shy and reserved she was innately, it
was time to come forward. When in a conference venue, she can just be a
scientist. Outside of it, she has to assume the persona of an activist for
wildlife conservation and environmental education. From then on, she became
more vocal about the rights chimpanzees should be given.

 

Now 86 years
old and claiming that she doesn’t believe in jet lag, Dr. Goodall still travels
an average of 300 days a year to speak to audience around the world about the
threats posed to chimpanzees and the environment and urge them to take
necessary action. Even the Covid-19 pandemic cannot stop her from working. On
the contrary, she became even busier with projects aiming to enhance
sustainable development and safeguard our environment.

 

Devoted
to education to give people hope

In 1991, Dr.
Goodall established the Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots Program, further
committing herself to environmental education and charity work. So far, more
than 65 countries have taken up this worthy cause, helping form more than
10,000 Roots & Shoots groups around the world to teach young people how to
think outside the box, and to adopt a more sustainable way of life. The goal is
to foster a new generation of eco-conscious citizens to take care of our earth. 

 

The Jane Goodall Institute launched the
“TACARE Program” in 1994 for the region around the Gombe National Park. This
community-centered conservation and development project, through close
collaboration with local inhabitants, aims to protect the forests and halt
biodiversity loss by alleviating poverty with strategies such as introducing
sustainable farming methods, maintaining tree nurseries, starting a
micro-credit program, and providing health facilities as well as scholarships
for girls. 

 

Over the years, Dr. Goodall has attracted a
growing number of young followers, to whom she in turn gave most of her time by
delivering talks all over the world to call for more emphasis on environmental
protection. She once said: “My job is to give people hope.” People may wonder
whether she really has hope for the future, but she noted that “I maintain hope
partly because everywhere you go, there are young people who are dedicated,
passionate and begging to make a change. You can’t help but be inspired by
them.” 

 

The invaluable contributions Dr. Goodall made in areas such as
chimpanzee research and environmental education have seen her recognized by
numerous prestigious awards and honors, including her appointment as the United
Nations’ Messenger of Peace in 2002 and Dame of the British Empire in 2004,
which was presented to her by HRH Prince Charles. Therefore, the Tang Prize
Selection Committee decided to name her the 2020 Tang Prize Laureate in
Sustainable Development, in order to commend the crucial role she has been
performing throughout her life, in promoting sustainable development in the
international arena.    

 

Established by Taiwanese entrepreneur Dr. Samuel Yin, the biannual
Tang Prize consists of four categories, namely Sustainable Development,
Biopharmaceutical Science, Sinology and Rule of Law, with NT$ 40 million
(approx. US$1.3 million) in cash prize and a research grant of NT$ 10 million
(approx.US$0.33 million) allocated to each category. It aims to promote the
interaction and cooperation between culture and technology so as to find a 21st
century path to the sustainable development of the world. For more information,
please visit the prize’s official website at https://www.tang-prize.org/en/first.php

About Tang Prize

Dr. Samuel Yin, chairman of Ruentex Group,
founded the Tang Prize in December of 2012 as an extension of the supreme value
his family placed on education. Harkening back to the golden age of the Tang
Dynasty in Chinese history, the Tang Prize seeks to be an inspiring force for
people working in all corners of the world. For more information on the Tang
Prize and its laureates, please visit www.tang-prize.org

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