Jane Goodall gives message of hope to Taiwanese workers

Jane Goodall stirs hope, calls for environmental action in address to I-Mei Foods staff in Taoyuan

Jane Goodall, right, with Jane Goodall Institute of Taiwan Executive Director Kelly S.C. Kok

Jane Goodall, right, with Jane Goodall Institute of Taiwan Executive Director Kelly S.C. Kok (Taiwan News photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – World renowned primatologist and anthropologist Dr. Jane Goodall spoke to staff at I-Mei Food’s factory and food safety research center in Taoyuan City on Oct. 31, as part of her Taiwan tour to promote environmental conservation.

During Goodall’s visit to the Nan-Kan factory, she met with I-Mei Foods CEO Luis Ko (高志明), was taken on a tour of I-Mei’s food safety research center, spoke to workers, and posed for photographs.

Goodall spoke to around 75 I-Mei Foods staff and senior management about environmental issues and how to make the world a better place. She began by speaking about her groundbreaking research into the social lives of chimpanzees, then going on to speak about Taiwan’s changing attitudes towards animals.

Goodall said she initially refused to visit Taiwan, after hearing about Snake Alley in Taipei’s Wanhua District, which was famous for numerous restaurants selling snake-based dishes and other delicacies, as well as showcasing depressed chimps and orangutans to the public. After Jason Hu (胡志強) worked to end the showing of live animals, as well as torture of snakes, Goodall said she was comfortable enough to visit Taiwan.

She went on to talk about a host of global environmental problems, singling out trade in endangered animal products like ivory and tiger bone, factory farming, pollution in terms of deforestation and ocean pollution, and climate change.

“If you feel we [silent generation and baby boomers] compromised your future, you are absolutely right, we have,” summarized Goodall.

Goodall, however, is not pessimistic about the future, and believes we still have “a window of time to start healing from harm.” In order to do this, she argues individuals matter and every person has a role to play, and this might be done through her Roots & Shoots initiative.

Joining or creating a local Roots & Shoots chapter, a youth service program to improve people, environment and or animals, is a fantastic way to get involved, suggested Goodall. So far, Roots & Shoots has carried out over 150,000 projects globally.

Goodall said she has five reasons for hope, which are the enthusiasm of youth, the intelligence of mankind, the resilience of nature, social media allowing for more people’s voices to be heard, and the indomitable human spirit.

The speech was very well received by I-Mei Foods staff, with the overwhelming majority waiting for autographs, photographs, and to exchange messages of goodwill with Goodall.

Goodall, center, with I-Mei Foods staff. (Taiwan News)

Before the speech, Goodall was shown through I-Mei Food’s Taoyuan facility, where she learned about the company’s environmental and food safety efforts. For I-Mei, food safety is inextricably linked to environmental wellbeing, with the belief that quality ingredients come from a quality environment.

During the tour, Goodall showed interest in I-Mei’s rice cleaning method using carbon dioxide to remove contaminants, as well as the range of GMO-free products. Later, mutual concern over the impact of palm oil on the environment was discussed.

In the food safety research center, testing every batch of food for radiation/radioactivity was a highlight, amid popular concerns surrounding long-term effects regarding Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

Lastly, Goodall was accompanied in the factory’s ecological park by Luis Ko, where I-Mei’s environmental policies were discussed, as well as Taiwan's culture and history.

Goodall, right, with Ko. (Taiwan News)

I-Mei has a long history associated with Jane Goodall and the Jane Goodall Institute of Taiwan. Since the inception of the I-Mei Environmental Protection Foundation in 1995 the two parties have enjoyed numerous collaborations.

The foundation focuses on the protection of Taiwan’s environment and wildlife, especially endangered species. Some past projects include work to help the black-faced spoonbill and green sea turtles. In 2016, I-Mei donated NT$1 million to the Jane Goodall Institute.

During her visit, Goodall advocated hope in a speech in Taipei, participated in projects by the Jane Goodall Institute of Taiwan and the Roots & Shoots program, and sat down for an exclusive interview with Taiwan News.