Book of Hope. Hard Times Survival Guide: awesome summary by ebookhike

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Douglas Carlton Abrams, Jane Goodall

Book of Hope
the Book of Hope

The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times Douglas Carlton Abrams, Jane Goodall 2021

Authors: Jane Goodall, Douglas Abrams 

What is hope? (Book of Hope)

Judging by the news, animals and plants are going through hard times right now. Their populations are rapidly declining. Forests and grasslands are being turned into concrete sites for cities or factories for growing the right crops, to the detriment of ecosystems. Water in rivers and lakes is getting dirtier. A garbage island the size of two Frances is drifting in the Pacific Ocean. Oil spills have become common…

There is indeed a lot of evil in the world, but how much stronger are the voices of those who oppose evil! These voices give us hope. Journalist Douglas Abrams, who travels the world and talks to the wisest people, suggests turning to the experience of Jane Goodall, a world-famous anthropologist who has been studying animals and saving them for many decades.

Goodall devoted a lot of time to think about the survival of the planet. She is sure: there is hope – and this is something more than just a feeling, an emotion. This is not passive wishful thinking. Hope is the most powerful factor in the survival of man as a species. 

And not only a person. Think about your pet: a cat that rubs against the owner’s legs, demanding food, or a dog that is waiting for you, sitting by the window. Jane Goodall has often seen chimpanzees go on a rampage when they don’t get what they want. And that, too, is hope.

The Book of Hope

Most importantly, there is no hope without action. We will not act if we do not harbor hope for a favorable outcome. Hope gives us strength. The mutual bond of hope and action moves us forward.

The whole life of Jane Goodall is an example of this.


Scientist or naturalist?

Jane Goodall calls herself not a scientist, but a naturalist. What is the difference? Scientist is focused on facts and their quantification. The naturalist listens to the voice of nature and learns from it. It seems that both are doing the same thing, but the naturalist is always ready to meet with a miracle.

Jane Goodall’s lifelong occupation was defined by childhood fantasies. Once her father gave her a toy chimpanzee – that toy is still with her, it was she who aroused the girl’s interest in monkeys. Burroughs’ book on Tarzan and The History of Doctor Dolittle had a huge impact: reading them over and over again, Jane was strengthened in her determination to finally understand the language of animals.

But after graduating from school, Jane could not go to university – there was no money (when Jane turned 12, her parents divorced, and the girl stayed with her mother). I had to learn to be a secretary – a boring job, not at all suitable for an enterprising girl. Who would have thought that the fulfillment of a dream is not far off?

In 1957, a school friend invited Jane to visit her family’s farm in Kenya. There she learned about the anthropologist Louis Leakey and made an appointment with him. Leakey was impressed by the girl’s knowledge of African animals. Surprisingly, two days before this meeting, Leakey’s secretary quit. That’s where the boring specialty came in handy! Jane became Leakey’s secretary, who was then director of the Kenya National Museum. 

And soon he invited Jane to accompany him on excavations in East Africa. Besides, why shouldn’t she study her beloved chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania? Leakey hoped that Jane’s observations would complete his concept of primitive people. First, he sent her to study the anatomy and behavior of primates with famous biologists of the day. And in 1960, Jane and her mother arrived in Tanzania.

Jane’s mother always told her, “If you’re going to do something, do it right.” This phrase became the motto of the whole life of Jane Goodall and was especially inspired in the first months of work in the field. Studying chimpanzees in their natural habitat has been insanely difficult. It was necessary to keep a distance from them (chimpanzees are four times stronger than humans) and at the same time make observations. Jane’s perseverance, however, paid off. Her descriptions of the habits of chimpanzees forced scientists to reconsider the usual concepts. 

Goodall discovered that chimpanzees not only use primitive tools (such as pulling honey out of a hollow with a branch) but also modify them to suit the situation. She described in detail their social relations: how chimpanzees go hunting, how they fight. 

Goodall was the first to give her research animals names rather than numbers—she didn’t go to university and didn’t know about this rule. However, as Goodall admitted, even if she knew, she would still give names.

The Book of Hope

The first chimpanzee to trust her, a powerful male with white hair on his chin, she christened David Greybeard. His calmness with Jane convinced the rest of the chimpanzees that the girl was not dangerous to them. It was David who demonstrated the ability to learn from Jane how to use grass stalks to catch termites. David would later make the cover of Time, becoming one of the “15 Most Influential Animals”.

In 1965, Jane Goodall successfully completed her Ph.D. thesis on “Chimpanzee Behavior in the Wild”. The scientific world has recognized it. By that time, she had learned another, timeless, lesson – the lesson of the Forest. It was to find a deep sense of peace, which she always experienced when she was in the wilderness of Africa. Peace, which always reminded her of the eternal cycle of life and death.

Four Reasons to Hope

Since the 1960s, when Jane’s career began, man has been invading deeper and deeper into the once reserved nature, destroying it more and more. Goodall has repeatedly observed the eerie signs of this intervention: charred trees after fires, dead fish in poisoned rivers, helpless baby chimpanzees, which are sold by poachers in African markets. What nourished her hope for a change for the better? Goodall names four main reasons.


Reason one. The miracle of human intelligence

Today, scientists have indisputable evidence that animals are much smarter than we used to think. Chimpanzees can learn dozens of words in sign language 2 . Crows and rats are able to solve complex problems associated with planning and finding cause-and-effect relationships. And yet even the smartest chimpanzees are unable to fly to the moon or describe the theory of relativity. The human intellect is amazing. Its key competitive ability is language. Having learned to communicate with the help of words, we got the opportunity to share experiences with each other and act together much more effectively.

We are smart, but not always wise. No animal will destroy its own home, and this is exactly what we are doing, and on a global scale. But at the same time, we are creating new sources of renewable energy, switching to a plant-based diet — that is, we are thinking for the benefit of nature. 

Hence the conclusion: human intelligence in itself is neither good nor bad. How we intend to use it is always a matter of our choice.

Those who cherish plans to create a harmonious peaceful society should remember that aggressive behavior is part of our genetic structure, it is inherited from hominin ancestors. Our propensity for aggression cannot be discounted. But at the same time, we demonstrate the wonders of altruism, which are not entirely explicable from the point of view of dry science 3 . We help others even in the most critical conditions: think of the Germans who helped Jews escape from Nazi Germany. The 20th century contained two monstrous world wars, and the 21st began with a horrific attack on the twin towers. But it cannot be denied that from a historical perspective, violence in the world is becoming less. Having affirmed the rights of women and children, we are thinking about the rights of animals.

Wisdom differs from reason in the ability to evaluate events in the long term. When making a decision, most people ask themselves the question: “Will this help me, my family, the company in the near future?” Wisdom asks a different question: “How will this decision affect the future of my children, my planet?”

Wisdom is the mind in harmony with the heart. In order to avert a climate catastrophe, we must, with all our wisdom, address four key challenges.

1. Reduce poverty. People whose standard of living is high are more generous, they have time to think about something else besides meeting basic needs. And vice versa: a starving person cannot be seduced by a vegetarian diet, convinced that it is for the benefit of nature.

2. Moderate your appetites. We buy and produce far more things than we need.

3. Root out corruption. Without honest responsible leadership, it is impossible to solve any, especially global, problems.

4. Moderate the growth of the population and the livestock that provides it with food. Today there are more than seven billion of us, and we are already taking more from nature than it can replenish. By 2050, there will be ten billion of us, and if all these people do not change their habits, the Earth will end.

These tasks are difficult but doable. And it is worth starting with the idea that the human intellect is only one of the manifestations of the mighty flow of life. We are truly wise when we do not separate ourselves from the rest of nature 4 . By killing her, we are gradually killing ourselves.


The second reason. The resilience of nature

In October 2001, a month after the collapse of the Twin Towers in New York, a stump of a pear with two stunted twigs was found sandwiched between concrete slabs while clearing the rubble. He was almost sent to the back of a garbage truck, but Rebecca Clough, who found the tree, decided to give him a chance. The Bronx Parklands nursery removed the dead tissue, and soon the tree came to life. Since then, it has bloomed every spring. The rescued pear has become a symbol of New York.

Here’s a story from the other side of the world. Date palm seeds dated to the 1st century BC have been found in the Dead Sea area. n. e. Thanks to the efforts of scientists, the seeds came to life and sprouted palm trees, which, in turn, gave fruit. Now we have a chance to feel the same taste of fruits that the contemporaries of Jesus Christ felt. The very first of the revived palms was named, of course, Methuselah.

Nature is incredibly tenacious – it lives even under millennial sands, under blocks of dead concrete. The most important of its properties is adaptability. Species that do not adapt to new environmental conditions die. This property eventually turned against a person: remember the superbugs that have developed resistance to antibiotics and threaten humanity with new diseases for which there is no cure.

Give nature time and it will regenerate itself. It’s great when a person helps her with this. The Kenyan quarries, owned by Bamburi Cement, produced millions of tons of cement – and quickly turned the mining site into a lifeless wasteland. In 1959, the company hired gardeners to improve the area. The restoration took years, but now Heller Park (named after the curator of the project) thrives on this site. On its territory, 200 species of exotic plants, 180 representatives of the fauna, including elephants, giraffes, lions, have been collected. 

The Book of Hope

It is important to remember that no plant or animal exists in nature on its own. Once upon a time, wolves lived in most of North America, including in Yellowstone National Park. In the 1920s, the park decided that the wolves were too much of a threat to the deer and wiped out the predators. As a result, the deer that have been bred have changed the nature of the park beyond recognition, and for the worse. In place of the bushes they ate, wastelands formed, bare riverbanks began to crumble, and river beds began to change their direction. The undergrowth necessary for rodents has disappeared, and the bees have fewer flowers for pollination. Even the Grizzlies have become less likely to enter these places because their favorite berries have disappeared. The return of wolves to the park has become an urgent need.

The well-being of people and nature are inextricably linked. In 1977, Goodall founded the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) to support the Gombe Game Reserve. But the more she studied the living conditions of chimpanzees, the more she became convinced that if you don’t help people, you can’t help animals either. The situation in African villages was appalling: no electricity, no medicine, no children going to school. The ignorance and need of the people led to the mistreatment of monkeys and their extermination. Thus, within the framework of JGI, a new Tacare project was created, the purpose of which was the social support of the people of Tanzania. Improving the operation of hospitals with the support of local officials, planting trees, cleaning and protecting water sources, as well as a micro-credit system for the population, the creator of which Muhammad Yunus received the Nobel Prize in 2006 – all this is Taare. Today, the program operates in 104 villages across Tanzania’s 2,000 chimpanzee range.


Reason three. Youth Enthusiasm

Jane loves the old saying: We didn’t inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrowed it from our children. How often do we think about debt repayment?

In 1991, Goodall founded the international children’s organization Roots & Shoots. It is based on the initiative of the children themselves. One day, 12 high school students came to the Tanzanian home of Goodall. Some were concerned about the scale of poaching. Others are the destruction of coral reefs. Still others – cruel treatment of homeless animals in their city. And everyone wanted to do something to change the situation for the better. Each of the dozen conservationists won over several school friends. The movement has grown…

The key idea of ​​Roots&Shoots is that each of us affects the life of the planet every day, and each of us chooses what this impact will be. The first group, Roots & Shoots, who cleaned the beach, was laughed at. And today this program operates in 100 countries of the world. Every child who joined her did it absolutely voluntarily. 

Goodall is convinced that as soon as children realize the seriousness of the problem and are given the opportunity to act, they immediately have a burning desire to help.

This also applies to children from low-income families who have enough problems besides protecting nature. It was the troubled teenagers in the Bronx who started the campaign against the image of a laughing chimpanzee on cereal boxes. They were impressed by the story of Goodall, who explained that the “smile” of a chimpanzee, which we see in the circus arena or in films, is actually a grin of fear. What was the joy of the children when the company changed the pattern on the boxes!

The Book of Hope

This story confirms psychologists’ findings that four interrelated conditions strengthen hope :

1) clear and inspiring goals;
2) realistic ways to implement them;
3) belief that the goals are achievable;
4) social support.

The current generation of children is much better prepared for the cause of environmental protection than their parents. They are better informed. They are more responsible. 61% of Americans aged 18 to 29 (a fifth of the electorate) voted in the last election for Biden, who advocated the return of the United States to the obligations of the Paris climate agreement.

Let’s remember Greta Thunberg and her speech at the UN conference in 2019. Goodall dated her and was impressed by the young Swede’s enthusiasm. She recalls her furious words at the summit: “The adults keep saying, ‘ We have a responsibility to give young people hope ‘ But I don’t need your hope. I want you to feel the fear that I feel every day. I want you to act like our house is on fire.” Does Goodall agree with this critique of hope? Of course, both fear and anger are feelings that we experience about what is happening to the planet. But if we do not have hope that the fire will be extinguished, nothing will come of it.

The Book of Hope

In order for children to be able to nurture hope, education plays a huge role. 

Children who feel the support of their parents grow up psychologically stable and socially successful – this is an axiom that is true for both the world of people and the world of chimpanzees. By the way, the latter never beat the naughty cubs – they distract them from undesirable behavior by tickling or other fun. And studies by child psychologists have shown that it is fundamentally important that during the first two years children receive care and love from at least one person, and this does not have to be a family member. Hope is a social gift and should be given with care.


Reason four. Strength of mind

We are capable of more than we can imagine. History knows many examples of a vivid manifestations of the human spirit: Martin Luther King, who fought to end discrimination, Nelson Mandela, imprisoned for 27 years for protesting against African apartheid, Mahatma Gandhi, who led the Indian non-resistance movement. And of course, Winston Churchill, especially close to the heart of the British Jane Goodall, whose childhood fell during the Second World War.

This time taught Jane a lot: she understood the value of food and clothing, which at that time was always in short supply, she witnessed both the compassion of her compatriots and the atrocities of the Nazis. The defeat of fascist Germany was for her the best proof that victory is possible even when death seems inevitable.

The Book of Hope

Remembering the heroes of history, we should also think about the millions of unknown people who inspire each other to strive for a better life. Such are the inhabitants of the poorest regions of Africa and Asia, refugees, and people with disabilities.

Canadian Chris Koch was born without arms and legs, but thanks to the support of his family, he never felt inferior. He now works on the family farm, grows apricots, drives a tractor, and travels extensively as a motivational speaker. Goodall draws a conclusion from this story: you can treat difficulties as a debilitating burden, or you can say to yourself: “This is part of my curriculum, I will treat this as another lesson that will make me stronger, smarter, better.”

The Book of Hope

Do animals experience something similar? Undoubtedly, they are familiar with the will to live, but at the same time, different individuals in the same situation behave differently: some chimpanzee cubs, once in a poacher’s cage, despair and die, while others survive and are then able to return to normal life. Our species has one undoubted advantage: we know how not to give up, even when we know that the situation is critical.

American Rick Swope once came to the Detroit Zoo with his wife and children to look at the monkeys. As they approached the enclosure, the family saw two chimpanzees fighting. The fight ended with a smaller monkey, a male named Jo-Jo, falling into the water. Chimpanzees can’t swim, so Jo-Jo is in mortal danger. No one, neither the zoo staff nor his relatives, rushed to help him. Rick jumped into the water, grabbed the chimpanzee and swam with him to the shore. Both managed to get ashore, and Rick was also lucky not to fall into the clutches of Jo-Jo’s relatives waiting on the shore. The courage, kindness and selflessness of Rick Swope are the qualities that make us capable of changing the planet for the better.

The Book of Hope

Inspire each other with determination – what could be more beautiful? An excellent example is the story of the Chinese Jia Wenqi and Jia Haixia. Both are not young, one of them is blind, and the other has both arms amputated. 20 years ago they decided to plant trees in their area. At first, the partners did not even have money for seedlings. Of the eight hundred trees planted in the first year, only two cuttings survived the winter. Still, the friends were not going to give up. Their work moved slowly but steadily. In 20 years, the two of them planted 10,000 trees. Here is an example of how much the spirit is stronger than the body and how much friendship and support give, that each of us has our own role – and if it seems to us that we are incapable of much, this is probably a delusion.

It’s up to us(Book of Hope)

Jane Goodall does not call herself an adherent of a particular religion, but the longer she lives in the world, the more she becomes convinced that her ability to study animals and her determination to make their lives better were given to her for a reason. Life turned out to be a path along which someone seemed to direct it, suggesting opportunities – it was only a matter of making the right choice. She would never have done it alone, without the support of her family, mentor Louis Leakey, and many colleagues around the globe. Were these meetings random or natural? Any coincidence should be seen as a chance.

Jane doesn’t believe in destiny or destiny – she believes in our ability to choose. The choice of some people in one country brought Churchill to power. The choice of other people in another country brought Hitler to power. We must take the ability to choose very seriously. We make thousands of decisions every day, and even the smallest of them—like whether to pick up a bag at the supermarket checkout—always have consequences.

This book began in 2019, when the world was moving on as usual, and ends in the age of the coronavirus, which has stretched out for years. Is it possible to think of a more expressive example of the mutual influence of man and nature? The virus was released when a Chinese man ate bat meat. The markets of Asian and African countries are filled with the carcasses of wild animals killed for profit, and in 2020 this has become a global threat. It is worth remembering that life in direct contact with domestic animals has long been a source of serious diseases: tuberculosis, plague, influenza – all this has passed to us from goats, pigs, and cows.

With the advent of COVID-19, we have begun to think about how insidious and dangerous invisible viruses are. This is a very strange form of life: strictly speaking, the virus itself is neither alive nor dead, it begins to function only when it comes into contact with a living cell, and before that it is completely inert. At the same time, viruses are very numerous and diverse. One liter of sea water contains up to 100 billion viruses. Each of us carries almost 200 types of viruses, 90% of which are not yet known to science .

The Book of Hope

The pandemic has also revealed the best aspects of a person: we come to the aid of the weak, we show miracles of ingenuity and perseverance, creating a vaccine as soon as possible. And during the lockdown-2020, we saw how quickly nature comes to life in different parts of the Earth without human intervention.

Isn’t it strange, Jane thinks, that her life was placed between the world wars: childhood was spent fighting Nazism, old age was fighting two invisible enemies. The first is microscopic viruses, the second is human greed and carelessness spilled over the world. As dangerous as the coronavirus is, we must not be distracted from the larger threat of the climate crisis 6. There is less and less time left. 51 billion – so many tons of greenhouse gases humanity emits into the Earth’s atmosphere annually. If we do not reduce these emissions to zero by 2050, we will face a climate catastrophe. 

You should not despair. Mankind has managed to defeat fascism, and apartheid, and neutralize the threat of nuclear war. We have something to inspire. There is hope, but only for those who do not sit idly by and know how to work together.

Top 10 Thoughts(Book of Hope)

1. Hope is more than an emotion or experience. This is the most powerful factor in the survival of man as a species.

2. Hope without action is dead. Take action and hope will grow stronger.

3. Clear and inspiring goals, realistic ways to achieve them, the belief that these goals are achievable, and social support are the foundation of hope.

4. The well-being of people and nature are inextricably linked. If you don’t help people, you can’t help animals.

5. Reduce poverty, buy less unnecessary things, eradicate corruption, moderate population growth – the four key tasks for humanity.

6. We did not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, but borrowed it from our children.

7. Humanity has a lot of problems, but from a historical perspective, it becomes more humane and more reasonable.

8. Is there a destiny or destiny? It is not known exactly. But it is clear that each of us has the opportunity to choose.

9. As dangerous as the coronavirus is, we must not be distracted from the larger threat of the climate crisis. Time is running out.

10. The human intellect is only one of the manifestations of the mighty flow of life. We are truly wise when we do not separate ourselves from the rest of nature.

1.  “The Story of Doctor Dolittle” – a book by the British writer Hugh Lofting (1920), the first of a series about the adventures of John Dolittle – a doctor who knows the language of animals.

2.  Read the summary of the book by Frans de Waal  “The Last Embrace of Mom. What Animal Emotions Teach Us. 

3.  Read the summary of Steven Pinker’s book The Best in Us. Why is there less violence in the world?

4.  Read the summary of Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo’s book The Economics of Poverty. A radical rethinking of the way to fight poverty in the world ”  and the summary of the book by Robin Kimmerer  ” Weaving sweet grass. Aboriginal legends, scientific knowledge, and plant wisdom”.

5.  Read the summary of Bill Bryson’s book “The Body. Guide for owners”. 

6.  Read the summary of Bill Gates  ‘ book How to Avoid a Climate Catastrophe. The solutions we have and the breakthroughs we need. ”

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