Dr. Jane Goodall, primatologist, ethologist, and anthropologist, with a chimpanzee in her arms, c. 1995. Image Credit: Apic/Getty Images
Primatologist and conservation legend Jane Goodall turns 80 today. In recognition of her achievements in protecting nature and wildlife, Wendee Nicole, the first recipient of the Mongabay Prize for Environmental Reporting, has done two Goodall-related posts for Animal Planet: Top 10 Reasons Why Everyone Should Love Jane Goodall and A Birthday Exclusive: Q&A with Jane Goodall.
What I appreciate about Nicole’s pieces is they go beyond some of the superficial birthday celebration stories making the rounds on the Internet this week. In the Top 10 list post, Nicole explains how Goodall’s work aligns with Elinor Ostrom’s 2009 Nobel-winning theory on polycentric governance, an abstract concept for most people. Nicole writes:
The Jane Goodall Institute (JGI)’s pioneering community-based conservation methods align with the late Elinor Ostrom’s 2009 Nobel-winning theory that conserving forests and improving people’s lives are not mutually exclusive. Ostrom showed that empowering local people most invested in forests or other natural resources – in this case the African villagers – would result in the best outcomes for forests and people. Jane’s work embodies that theory on the ground.
The Mongabay Prize for Environmental Reporting provided seed funding for Nicole’s exploration of Ostrom’s theory as it applies on the ground, so it is exciting to see the first products of this effort. Since Nicole won the award, Mongabay.org has granted five more prizes. Two application windows are currently open for upcoming prizes, so if you’re interested, please apply soon.