Dr. Jane Goodall Meets With Martha’s Vineyard Environmental Leaders

by Martha Shaw

OAK BLUFFS, MA — (MARKET WIRE) — August 14, 2006 — Dr. Jane Goodall spent time on the Island last week with environmental scientists, planners, local businesses, and teachers to talk about how to face challenges on the Vineyard. At a historical gathering at the home of Martha Shaw on Farm Pond in Oak Bluffs, Dr. Goodall gave local leaders from the MV Commission, Vineyard Conservation Society, Water Alliance, Sheriffs Meadow, Land Bank, Great Pond, OB Shellfish, Farm Institute, Wampanoag Tribe, Friends of Farm Pond, Felix Neck Sanctuary, Mass Audubon, grocers, and farmers — plenty of reasons for hope by finding common ground.

On a small island that is still building over 200 new houses a year and has long passed its capacity to sustain its inhabitants, including the fish and foul, hope is the catalyst that gets those people who are trying to manage the resources excited about going to work every day. The group sat around a small campfire and passed a talking stick while sharing stories with the woman who has won most every accolade on the planet as an ambassador of hope for an environmentally sustainable future.

“How can we pull the community together when the interests on the Island are so diverse, and where many of the people don’t stay long enough to understand the issues?” asked one participant who held the talking stick. “Keep finding new ways to communicate,” she responded. “What about egos?” asked another. “I like some chimps better than certain people, and some people better than certain chimps,” said Goodall. “But there is usually a way to reach everybody if you take the time to think about it. People like to save face.”

Most striking about Dr. Goodall is her peaceful approach to confrontation and the messages embedded in the countless stories she tells about her experiences around the world. Many of these tales deal with communities not unlike the Island, places where enormous wealth and meager subsistence intertwine seasonally and where the natural resources are in peril.

On this Island, the population explodes with day trippers, vacationers and seasonal residents, many of whom never see or feel things like the electric bill or the trash removal, much less the disappearance of a species. “If you can get people to want less, not more,” she said. “To think about what they need rather than pressuring the resources with excess.” see more…..

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