Sunday, August 18, 2002

YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE

PEOPLE POWER
You may be only 1 in 6 billion, but every person can make a big difference
By JANE GOODALL
Posted Sunday, August 18, 2002; 7:31 a.m. EST

The greatest danger to our future is apathy. We cannot expect those living in poverty and ignorance to worry about saving the world. For those of us able to read this magazine, it is different. We can do something to preserve our planet.

You may be overcome, however, by feelings of helplessness. You are just one person in a world of 6 billion. How can your actions make a difference? Best, you say, to leave it to decision makers. And so you do nothing.

Can we overcome apathy? Yes, but only if we have hope....

Even companies once known only for profits and pollution are having a change of heart. Conoco, the energy company, worked with the Jane Goodall Institute (J.G.I.) in Congo to build a sanctuary for orphaned chimpanzees....

We have huge power, we of the affluent societies, we who are causing the most environmental damage. For we are the consumers. We do not have to buy products from companies with bad environmental policies. To help us, the Internet is linking small grassroots movements so that people who once felt they were on their own can contact others with the same concerns.

I feel deep shame when I look into the eyes of my grandchildren and think how much damage has been done to Planet Earth since I was their age. Each of us must work as hard as we can now to heal the hurts and save what is left.