While other boys in my elementary school used to discuss how one day they might marry Farrah Fawcett-Majors or Chris Evert, my fantasies usually involved Jane Goodall. I was never sure whether Goodall was the person I wanted to marry or the one I wanted to become, but the intelligent, nurturing compassion she exhibited on National Geographic television specials about her work with chimpanzees helped to inspire in me a lifelong love affair with nature.
Now, at 78, the primatologist, environmental activist, author, and lecturer continues at a pace that rivals that of a secretary of state, heading up the Jane Goodall Institute and leading its “Roots and Shoots” program for young people, while also maintaining a 300 day a year travel schedule. Goodall seems to view her latest book, “Seeds of Hope: Wisdom and Wonder From the World of Plants,” co-written with Gail Hudson and featuring a foreword by Michael Pollan, as something of a departure from her previous work (“Jane Goodall has written a book about plants? Surely not,” she imagines a reader saying). But in fact, the book seems like a perfectly logical outgrowth of her career.