Celebrate Earth Day in tough times by watching the upbeat documentary Jane Goodall: The Hope (National Geographic, April 22, 9 p.m. ET). The sequel to the seven-Emmy-nominated 2017 doc Jane, it shows how she went from a scientist who revealed the human side of wild chimps to an activist who globetrots 300 days a year to inspire people to save the planet — and themselves. Goodall tells AARP what she's learned about COVID-19, hope, and the secret to vitality in her ninth decade.
Animals — they're just like us!
We're finding out so much about animal emotion. They're sentient, like we are. Some people might not think that rats are cute, and yet they're a very favored pet for children around the world. The intelligence and empathy they show is being discovered more and more. I love the giant forest rats — the “hero rats” that have been trained to detect land mines. Animals help each other; animals help humans.
How hurting animals produced new infections like COVID-19
It was predicted in David Quammen's 2012 book Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic. As we destroy habitats, animals are crowded together, so viruses can jump from one species to another. As they lose their own feeding grounds, they start raiding cities, in Asia and Japan. And that means there's more chance of a virus spilling over into humans. Worst of all is the hunting, the meat markets, the unhygienic cramming together of all kinds of animals. African meat market spillover from chimps to humans caused HIV in two different places. And as we know, some of these [coronaviruses] have started from wet markets in China.