A scientist turned global activist and an internationally acclaimed rockstar walk into a podcast…This is episode 2 of the Jane Goodall Hopecast! (check out episode one here).
Dr. Jane Goodall and Dave Matthews have been friends for many years (having shared many a good talks over whiskey), and though they may seem an unlikely pair, their admiration and respect for one another is easy to hear in this lovely exchange of two phenoms. What they see in one another is a mutual conviction to use their innate abilities – storytelling and music, respectively – to connect people across identities, and inspire action on behalf of essential issues like animal welfare, the climate crisis, conservation, and human rights.
This provocative talk takes you inside this precious friendship and the story of how each of us can use our own abilities, whatever they may be, to make a positive difference every single day:
Dave Matthews and Dr. Jane Goodall’s kindred passion for wildlife and shared dedication to the planet has forged a close friendship between the two icons. In this intimate conversation, Dave talks about his childhood split between South Africa and the U.S. and explains how his scientist father and early experiences inspired much of his appreciation for nature and wildlife. Now an internationally acclaimed musician for over two decades, Dave uses his platform to spread awareness for environmental and conservation issues and to support organisations creating powerful impact, including the Jane Goodall Institute. The vibrancy and passion of their conversation is sparked by many difficult questions including: What are some of the biggest challenges we face in saving life on Earth and what can we each do about it?
At the End of the Rainbow: Stay to the end of the episode to hear a rare archival clip of Dave Matthews playing a tribute to Jane as she sits on stage with him.
Feel hopeful and inspired to act with the Jane Goodall Hopecast by subscribing on Apple podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google podcasts, and anywhere podcasts are found. The Jane Goodall Hopecast is produced by the Jane Goodall Institute. Our production partner is FRQNCY Media. Michelle Khouri is our executive producer, Enna Garkusha is our producer, and Matthew Ernest Filler is our editor and sound designer. Our music is composed and performed by Ruth Mendelsohn with additional violin tracks from Angie Shear. Sound design and music composition for the Conservation chorus is by Matthew Ernest Filler.
STAY TUNED: EPISODE 3 WILL FEATURE A VERY SPECIAL GUEST…
Join us Hopecasters, you are reason for hope.
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BECOME AN OFFICIAL HOPECASTER: And that’s not all – the Jane Goodall Hopecast is a movement fueled by hope and driven by the action of each and every one of you, our Hopecasters. To keep hope alive and help transform it into real change, you have the opportunity to support the Jane Goodall Hopecast today! By becoming an official Hopecaster, you’ll get access to a special Hopecaster gift, early notice of new episodes, special discounts, and other exclusive podcast opportunities. Join us as a Hopecaster, making this podcast and movement possible as we get curious, grow compassion, and take action to build a brighter tomorrow.
JANE SPLASH: My maternal grandfather, sadly, I never met him, because he died before I was born. He was a congregational minister, and he had three brothers. They came from North Wales, which is the mountainous, beautiful area. I remember my mother telling me that when they were young, they used to go with him, and he took them out into the woods, because he wanted them to learn about nature. And she said, “When we came back, we will covered in bars, we were scratched and all the rest of it — he was immaculate.” And she said, “Jane, somehow you inherited that from him, because you can go through all these terrible places, and you emerge unscathed, and everybody else is covered in ticks and scratches and, and disheveled.” So I owe a lot to my family. Good genes came from my father’s side of the family, and some kind of indomitable spirit came from my mother’s side of the family.
CONSERVATION CHOIR INTRO: There are so many ways we can save our planet. What is there without a hope? I just want people to find empathy for all the species we share this planet with. I have so much hope! Can nature of bounce back? Earth is pretty special because– Jane Goodall made me believe in my own power– She devoted her life to this. Together we can! Together we will! What are your greatest reasons for hope? I’m Jane Goodall and this is the Hopecast
INTRO: Today, I’m excited to share with you a chat I had with one of my favourite people on the planet, Dave Matthews — or David, as I call him. I’ve known David for years and years. And what many people don’t know is that apart from being an iconic musician and singer, David is an avid wildlife-lover and conservationist. He often works to support conservation organisations, as well as animal sanctuaries, and shares my firm belief that there must be more empathy in science. I hope you’ll enjoy this hopeful conversation with Dave Matthews.
INTERVIEW: David, we first met in New York, right?
We were in New York, it was one of those things that I will never forget. It was a little bit of a frustrating day for me. It was that Live 8 concert. I guess what frustrated me was, it seemed like although it was singing about the environment, and it was promoting responsibility and promoting us — to be more aware of the state of our planet, it was excessive, and people were flying in on private planes. And it felt the opposite.
And then I saw you. And when I saw you, I thought, “Well, today is worth it.” And I’m not sure how long it took me to wipe the tears from my eyes and embrace you because you are one of my heroes from a very young age, and one of my inspirations. And my father also was a mad fan and my mother — we’re all mad fans, but I feel a particular love and attraction to you and all your work and gratitude for you. And so seeing you in the flesh just made me so excited. So — but I do remember that we embraced! And then I remember that when you went in front of the crowd of 60,000 people — that giant Stadium, right — that’s where we first met — you walked out in front of all those people, and more or less said, “I’m not accustomed to speaking to so many people.
So I will just greet you as a chimpanzee would greet a stranger.” And you proceeded to greet the crowd. And I have never heard an ovation like that in my life. The goosebumps all over my body just to be near that and to be in the presence of that. So I will never ever forget the day I met you. And the day I saw you rock the house of 65,000 people, that giant stadium.
JANE: Well, you know, David, I’ll never forget it either. And it was just fantastic to see you there. And I think I spoke first. And I suppose people are now wondering how I greeted the crowd. So I better demonstrate first, which is — enthusiastic chimpanzee sounds. “Me, Jane.” Yeah, yes, like that. I don’t know if you know how terrified I was. I was absolutely terrified. And you know, all my friends around the world were waiting to watch. And I don’t know if you ever knew this, but I was bumped off the airwaves by Madonna.
I heard about it afterwards, years later, I think. It was one of the most powerful moments of my life just to see that many people have their hearts opened by you.
And since that time, we’ve been on quite a great journey together, haven’t we?
DAVE: We’ve had so many amazing experiences, like — you and I have spent time together. And you’ve — I’ve been with you and followed you to places that have changed my life and given me hope. And you always have brought hope to me, just like you bring hope to millions of people around the world. And also, you inspire us to action, because that’s what we need not only to be hopeful, but also to take action — to make our hope something that’s real. And I watch you from afar. And I also appreciate thinking of you when I, when I feel overwhelmed by the greed that seems to consume all common sense in the world.
JANE: You grew up in South Africa, right?
DAVE: Sort of. I was born there. And then, America — my father was a scientist. And so, we came to the states when I was little, and then we went back to South Africa. So, I sort of — back and forth my whole life, when we were living in close-to-rural suburbs, outside New York. I mean, my dad would set up a bird hide, and he would sit in there for hours on Sunday when he wasn’t at work. And, you know, he would let us join him, but you have to be very quiet. And we will go on camping trips, and we would hike and, and, you know, I’m sure I was reluctant and whining, but my memory of it is much more beautiful than that.
And I think my love of wild places came from just being raised, raised in it. And, you know, the time we spent in South Africa — when I was young, and then when we moved back there after my father passed away when I was 12, in the middle in the late 70s — then we also continued to spend time, visiting wild places there and South Africa and Botswana, and just grew up loving being in places that weren’t too changed by human activity. But, of course, the older I got, the more I realised that many of those places were not what what they what they once had been, and, you know, not nearly to the extent that you have, but realising as I grew older, that these precious, few places that are left on the planet are under attack. And so it mobilised me in a way to make me think that whatever success I have, I should somehow devote to that side of the fight: the fight for our future and for our children. Because without a healthy, vibrant, varied, and embraced, and resilient planet, then we have no future. There’s no human being surviving a dead planet.
JANE: You know, when I first went to Africa, that was in 1957. Where were you then?
DAVE: In 1957, I was 10 years from landing on Earth.
JANE: Right? That’s right. You were 10 years pre-birth. And, you know, when I first went to Kenya, in 1957 — animals everywhere. When I got to Olduvai Gorge on the Serengeti — animals everywhere. When I first got to Gombe, where I’d studied the chimps — Gombe was part of a forest went right across to the West African coast. And there were buffaloes, and there were leopards, and, outside the park, there were lions and well — gone. All gone. And Gombe became a little island of forest surrounded by bare hills. So I’ve, I’ve lived 86 years on this planet, I’ve seen the change. When I was little, I used to set my alarm to hear the dawn chorus of the birds. But now, there’s a few species left, but mostly they’re gone. If you opened your window at night, the room was full of moths and other insects. Now I feel really excited if a moth comes in. One month! If I’m out sitting in the garden, and I get bitten by a mosquito, I’m excited, because we’ve pesticided them and fertilised them away. We’re harming this planet.
DAVE: Yeah, at such a rate. And also because we’re — our appetite is so insatiable. In just a few decades, I believe livestock, like pigs and cows mostly, are about 60% of the animal population on the planet.
JANE: And a lot of our factory farms. Many diseases arise from these horrible, cruel and unhygienic conditions.
DAVE: It’s such a deadly process that we have of raising animals because the food system that we have is all about profit. And it’s not about the quality of food. And it’s not about the health of the planet. It’s about profit. And if that’s all we think of, then we use these techniques that can drive the money very quickly into the hands of a few people, rather than spread [it]over a large amount of people that will care for the earth. These factories are exactly the opposite of life. It’s a killing machine that is unhealthy on so many levels.
What it produces for us today, for human consumption, is poisonous. It’s poisonous meat that’s grown in a poisonous environment and fed poisonous food that’s grown in a poisonous environment. And there’s this wonderful documentary about soil health — our relationship to the one thing that sustains us, which is planet Earth — and that if we behave like a cancer, we will kill it, and it will kill us by doing that. But if we behave like an organ, or like, we’re part of it, or you know, we’re a limb of it, were an example of it, if we behave that way, and we work in balance with it, and embrace the healthy planet, we can turn this all around. And that’s the part that is, that is so important, and that you’ve taught me is just, we have to work to turn this around, so that we can live and thrive on a healthy planet.
You know, when I first went to Cambridge University to get a PhD, after being with the chimpanzees two years, many of the professors told me I’d done everything wrong. I could not talk about chimpanzee personality, mind, or emotion. Those were unique to us, I was told, but I had a wonderful teacher when I was a child, I don’t know if you had such a teacher, but mine was my dog. And because of him, I knew the professor’s were wrong. We’re not the only beings on the planet with a personality, mind, and, above all, feelings of happiness, sadness, fear, despair. And so when you think of these factory farms, every single one of those animals has a personality has a right to its life, feels fear and depression. And many of them can predict the death. I mean, pigs are as intelligent as dogs.
And when we talk about the relationship between animals and emotional connections that we have with animals, but also that animals have with each other, and we and when we talk about it in a scientific way, it was your work that broke that seal. Because prior to the work you did, people said, “No, we are the only emotional animals.” You can’t talk — scientists poo-pooed anything like that. It was absurd that any condition of consciousness could be attributed to animals. And you changed the thinking of science, of the scientific world, relative to animals minds and the intelligence of animals. And I think a lot of people don’t realise that. Because, before you, that was unthinkable, and it took a little while, I think, for the scientific world to catch up to that fact. Now it’s common to have a qualified scientists speaking about the emotional relationships that animals have with each other. And, and then I wanted to talk about one experience I had recently, which I don’t think I’ve had a chance to tell you. I’ve been supporting this some small reserve in, in Kenya, this Elephant Sanctuary, where it’s really about saving these orphaned elephants that, you know, for whatever reason, are separated mostly — not from poaching, but sometimes from poaching, too, but — just human encroachment. They’ve sort of started this new, very thorough sort of orphanage where they raise these young elephants with other young elephants and sort of allow their hierarchies to happen, but also constantly give sort of emotional attention to them by being there all the time as a source of comfort, because their mother’s not there. And it sort of tried to indulge that emotional intelligence that we gain from our mother or from our parents or from our community. When I was there, I met this tiny orphaned elephant. And it was out with the other elephants, it was the newest addition. And she came up and put her sort of not-yet-super-coordinated trunk in my face. And our wonderful hosts were there and they said, “Breathe. Breathe into her into her trunk.” And they said, “In 50 years, she will still remember you if he smells you.”
JANE: That’s right.
DAVE: And I said, Well, in 50 years, I’m probably not going to be breathing a lot to let her smell my breath. But that, you know, maybe I’ll get lucky, I don’t know. But I returned a few years later, when she was much bigger. And she was drinking from a bottle being held by one of the one of the caregivers there. And and I was like, “Oh, this is the little elephant that I met so many years ago!” And she said, “Yes.” And then the little elephant with its trunk — its drinking — wrapped its trunk around this big milk bottle and pulled it away from the caregiver and then walked over and handed it to me. And let me hold it. And I just was, I sort of had tears running down my face, like, “What’s happening?” It’s just remembering, just the idea that, after those years, this little elephant that was much bigger now could still remember me and wanted, and communicated in a really sort of highly intelligent, conscious decision-making, and generosity, and kindness, and welcoming, and greeting. There’s so many things that we attribute primarily to human beings came from an animal. You know, our, our common language is only life. That’s all that we have.
JANE: When I went to Cambridge, I was taught, there’s a difference of kind, not degree, but kind. And you, you credited me with changing scientific attitude to animals, which in a way is right. But it was because because of the amazing good fortune I had to be with the chimpanzees, our closest living relatives. And so when the scientists were confronted by the biological similarity, like 98.6%, of DNA of chimps and us is the same, and the immune system and anatomy of the brain. That, plus the behavioural observations, plus Hugo von Lawick, the photographer, plus his film, what could they do, but say, “Oh, boy?” But I was actually taught and told that to be a good scientist, you cannot have empathy with the animal you’re studying. You’ve got to be cold and objective, and that is rubbish. You know, they say you can’t be objective, if you have empathy. And that’s — sorry — bullshit. I think it really is. You know, there’s no other sort of word that you can use for something as stupid as that. You can be watching an animal that you love — and I use the word love — and you can be really distressed by like this little two-year-old infant who’d got a broken arm and a new mother who didn’t understand. So every time the baby cried, the mother cuddled her close, which made the baby baby cry louder, because it hurt the arm. And, as this baby had been named “Little Jane–” especially that, you know, I had tears running down my face. But if you look at my notes, it’s absolutely precise, minute-by-minute, what was going on. So it’s not true. And if you don’t have empathy, you, you don’t get those moments of, “Ah, I think I understand this behaviour.” Because, because I think I understand how the animal’s feeling. And then you can put on the scientific hat and stand back and say, “Well, now, let’s see if I was right.”
DAVE: I think that if we can’t use empathy in how we approach and relate to the planet, because we’re part of it, if we can’t use that, then it’s almost like we’re tying our arms behind our back and tying our legs together. Because I think it’s, it’s empathy that will allow us to understand the possibility of turning the trajectory of the planet around. It’s, it has to be our ability to, say, empathise not only with the individual, but also sort of the communal mind of the planet. When you look at the rain forest, or you look at the devastation of our forests, or the devastation of our soil, or the devastation of our oceans — if you can’t look at that and see it almost like a starving friend or a starving family member, and you can’t say, “That feels to me like a catastrophe, like a tragedy; that’s going to inspire me to understand how we can turn that around.” I think that is central to turning the tide.
JANE: You need to open your heart. You need to move away from this materialistic way of living that is destroying the planet because of our greed, wanting more of natural resources than the planet can continue to provide us for. And we need to be able to hear the desperate cry for help that’s coming from Mother Earth. And it is a desperate cry for help. And you see it when you go into a destroyed forest. You see it when you go into a factory farm. You– I see it all over the place, and it keeps you going. So one question, David: how does your skill, your talent as a musician — how, how are you using that to change minds? Because you are.
DAVE: I like to involve my audience in the opportunity of, sort of, investing in the environment. We like to, as the band tours, we like to, you know, say, “Well, a certain percentage of all your, all the ticket sales are going to go to different organisations,” whether it’s the, you know, major Conservancy or the Wilderness Society. I like any efforts that I, that I’m interested in, I like to somehow include the the fans, but it’s a way of promoting what they’re doing. So, if you come to see us, I like to say that “You know, what we’re going to do with this money — a certain percentage of this — is put it towards conservation,” because it also makes people curious.
I like to inspire people to give as well, and to be generous, because it changes the way you feel. I’ve been so insanely fortunate, I think, with this voice, this megaphone that I have I, I have the opportunity to talk about things that I care about. And when I write songs, I don’t necessarily write songs that are inspired by personal things, or my view of the world, I try and write songs that at least, reflect somewhat the way I view the planet as well. There’s a song called “Satellite” that I wrote that is sort of about how things change for good or for bad. And the song called “One Sweet World” essentially, is saying, “We can either live with this planet, or we can die with it.” I wrote a song recently called “The Ocean and the Butterfly.” You know, when I first started writing it, I was just letting these images come out of the words. But then when I look at the song now, it kind of talks about the first animals coming on to from the ocean to the land. And then there’s a one about a plastic bag, sort of, in the wind. And that for me is like, “How long is the damage that we’re doing to the planet going to last?” And it ends with this sort of hopeful idea that if we just allow the planet to be alive, its evolutionary ability to thrive will come back if we just let it. And so I think my songs sometimes, sometimes they’re gonna reflect my feeling about my relationship with this place that’s my home.
JANE: About 10 years ago, you promised to write a song for me. Still haven’t,
DAVE: I got to write a song for you. And I always — but then every song I write, I’m trying to write something for someone, but…
JANE: But you promised me a long time ago. And when you are talking to these huge audiences about places to put their money, don’t forget the Jane Goodall Institute, and our Roots and Shoots, which involved your children at one time. So that all the young people choose projects that they work on, and they take action, and they’re making the world a better place. And they feel very, they feel very empowered, when they see the difference they can make in cleaning a stream, or clearing up litter, or writing letters to politicians. David, where we’re saving the forests around Gombe that had gone. They’ve come back.
DAVE: That is so exciting. And that’s, that’s one of the things that I’ve loved about your story. And you maybe you’ve told him many times, and maybe people have heard it. But when you were thinking that you were going to go back to Gombe after a great tragedy in your life, and that you were going to stay there forever. And and then you flew over, and just saw that Gombe was this tiny island of healthy forest in a landscape of emptiness, and that that, that informed the — what what you’ve become. This great environmentalist, vocal proponent for the planet. And I just always felt like that was a powerful moment for all of us because of what you saw that day.
Well, it certainly was for me, and it just hit me like a bombshell that if we can’t help these people find ways of making a living without destroying the environment — I mean, certainly, destroying the environment to try and live to feed their families. If we can’t help them to find another way of making a living, then we can’t protect anything, we can’t try and save forests or chimpanzees, or pangolins, or anything else.
DAVE: It’s not science, or it’s not lacking the technology or the knowledge of what we need to do to make our relationship with the planet a healthy one and to make the planet a healthy, vibrant place. The enemy of all of us and of the planet is greed. It is the excess. The relentless hunger, a very, very small percentage of the population pushes on all of us an illusion of wealth, when really what it’s costing us is our future.
JANE: Yes, our children’s future. You know, as Mahatma Gandhi, he said, “The planet can provide for human need, but not human greed.” We have to bring people together to discuss the problems that we sometimes solve one and create another. Democracy is kind of crumbling in different parts of the world, autocratic leaders are taking over. “Swings to the far right.” It’s very scary.
DAVE: Then there’s also the forces that are trying to keep ignorance alive so that people don’t become citizens of the world. But rather they become only consumers. I like the idea that citizens, by being consumers, can redirect big corporations and wasteful industries in a direction that’s better by the way that they spend their dollars. Now, I feel as though it’s almost as if people refer to themselves as consumers, or politicians refer to people as consumers more often than they refer to them as citizens. And I know it’s just words, but I do like the idea of thinking of myself as a citizen rather than a vacuum.
JANE: I was asked a question just this morning, saying, “What do you think about the idea that people are going to put billions of dollars into trying to build a bubble on Mars and try and colonise that planet.” I said, “Okay, we will finish this one off, then we’ll go to Mars and try and colonise that and finish that one off, we will end up in outer space we’ll be very lost and lonely by the time we get there.”
DAVE: I do think that it’s funny that we have this living planet, it’s in a desperate, desperate, desperate need of our help just to let it survive, so that we can survive. The notion that we would think what we need to do is go to this dead planet, and try and make it alive, rather than try and take care of the planet that we have that is alive, that is saying, “I can thrive if you just stop behaving like a cancer and start behaving like you’re part of this.” It is sort of hard to swallow. And we now have the information. And we can look and see what it is. And we still allow people to come to power that will blatantly disregard the future for our children. Just greedy, horrific people that will not allow us to look after the future of the planet.
I say that this force of evil in the world today [is]this swing to the far right, this destruction of the here and now for the sake of greed with no concern for the future.
What concerns me is this willing ignorance that believes that somehow against every bit of good sense that we have, wealth will give you enough power to survive. When everything’s gone, only then will human beings realise that you can’t eat money.
JANE: David, what is your greatest hope for the future?
DAVE: I just think that our obligation is to educate young people to open their eyes as much as possible to the many, many ways that we can turn the tide through simple changes, if we all embrace the future, rather than the past and some sort of fairy tale version of whatever the past has been. The only real way to face the past is to face the future. That’s where you know, the tire meets the road, or whatever the term is, is what tomorrow holds. And what a year from now holds and what 20 years from now holds, because we have a window here. And and that window may be closing. But it’s a great big window! The cheapest way to create food and the cheapest way to exploit the planet is not the way. It may make somebody a lot of money. But it is not the way, as human beings, to be relating to the possibility of survival, because it is a dead end. That is a dead end.
JANE: Now, when making decisions, how does this affect me now? me and my family now? the next shareholders meeting? the next political campaign? Those are the kind of questions we ask, instead of saying, “The choice I make: what are the consequences for future generations?” It’s just what you’ve said. But you say the windows huge, I don’t think it’s that big, David. I think it’s quite small and closing.
DAVE: And the reason I use the term huge, is because if we take the opportunity, the possibilities are real. And I do think it’s closing fast. And maybe I misspoke by saying that, but i mean that it is a real hope. It’s not like there’s no hope that all the windows so small, I mean to say that their is a real reason to hope if we can change,
JANE: We need to get together and take action. Right?
DAVE: We must, must, must.
JANE: You know, I tell you, you must know this music festival because it’s the second biggest in Europe, in Hungary. I’ve forgotten its name. And I was invited to give a 10-12 minute talk amongst all these bands from all over. And I was following a very popular British band, I don’t know what it was, because I don’t follow those things, as you know. And they said, “well, we’ll give 10 minutes, because after this British band, most people will leave, you know, because who’s Jane Goodall?” Well, guess what? They didn’t. I mean, of course, some did. But basically, all of these 16,000 people stayed where they were. And after my little 12-minute, passionate talk — like what we talked about tonight, in a nutshell — I said to them, you know, “When we bring our Roots and Shoots groups together in Tanzania to share ideas and share their projects and things, I found last year that they were saying, at the end of such a gathering, all together, they were saying, ‘Together, we can,’ meaning we can save the world.” And I said, “Yeah, we can, but will we?” So now, at the end, they say, “Together we can! Together we will!” So I ended up my 12-minute talk at this music festival. And I said, “Could you join that? So there was 16,000 people standing up and yelling, “Together we can! Together we will.” It’s very empowering and exciting. So carrying on with your musical skills and talents, and the way that you can try and get your audiences to support various groups that are trying to save the planet. What can other musicians do? What can somebody who goes around with his guitar, and plays to small groups and small places? What can music do? What do you think?
DAVE: What I would say to other performers, I would just try and convince them in the same way that I convince my audience that every one of us has the power. I can reach my audience and some of my audience will embrace the things I say like supporting the Wilderness Society or, or supporting JGI, Jane Goodall Institute, or being inspired to support Roots & Shoots or start it in your community. It seems there’s a lot more socially conscious music coming out in all genres. And I think it’s probably because of the state of the planet. It’s probably because of the state of the society. It’s probably because of the imbalance of power and the gaps between those who have and those who don’t have. It’s not only, sort of, an opportunity, but I think it’s a responsibility that we have to try and inspire hope in and action in young people. And I think every artist in you know, whether it’s hip-hop or country music, there’s an opportunity that we can really make a difference in the world if we use our platforms to inspire people to live and act in a more sustainable way.
JANE: And, you know, there’s something else that I notice in many bands. They’re so often mixed. You get people of different cultures, different religions, and they all mix together, because they come together for music. And so you’re breaking down some of this discrimination because the audience sees you, you’re all on the same platform, and you’re all singing the same songs, and you’re all together, you all care about each other in a kind of brotherhood. Maybe the bands around the planet are helping to end this terrible discrimination that is so divisive and so painful.
DAVE: I think that, like birdsongs, music has been part of human culture longer than words have. I think we were probably singing long before we were saying, “Pass the mustard.” And, in fact, I was in Botswana with some indigenous people. And they were singing these incredible songs. And, you know, as the days went on, there was some time that people went into trances. It was [a]magical, magical experience. But one of the things that they said when I asked them, “What’s this song about?” And then they would say, “This is about, you know, the coming winter.” And, “What is this song about this?” “Oh, this is when the herds the big herds arrive,” you know? And then I said, “What are the words?” And they said, “Oh, no, no, none of our songs have words. Because these are ancient songs.” They said, “all of our songs come from before there were words.” And they just they could, they could actually just say that. And so I think music has an ability to connect us in a way that a lot of things don’t because it’s a communal experience. It’s but maybe those sort of collaborations can be more and more about the ideas of sustainability and the ideas of a healthy future and a healthy planet and maybe inspire young people, or all sorts of people, to more action.
JANE: You know, David, I’ve talked to many people recently about this pandemic that we basically brought upon ourselves by our disrespect of nature. And I think one thing it’s done is to cause people to think. And many people have said to me, you know, as we move out of this pandemic — which, God willing, we shall at some point — then we truly, desperately need to get together and create some kind of new relationship with the natural world. And with animals, we need to get together to create a new and sustainable green economy; an economy that doesn’t value wealth above all else; an economy where people have what they need, they can live a really good life, they can support their families, they can enjoy nature, they can go to concerts, they can listen to music. But a new definition of success is not just achieving wealth, and materials, stuff, and power. And I think if we can create that together, then the future will be much, much better for our children. And I truly believe that it’s the young people who will help us to make the changes that we must make to move into a brave new world.
We can have all these things, but we also have the wisdom of a healthy planet to inform us on how to move forward. There’s one direction that is good. And there’s one direction that is evil.
I am so grateful for your wisdom and everything that you’ve given to all of us. I hope we can be part of what guides the ship into a future that exists.
Yes. And I wait for the pandemic to be over so that we can once again greet each other as we did on that very first occasion with a big hug.
Dave: I love the idea.
JANE: Okay, thank you, David.
DAVE: Thank you, Jane. Cheers.
FROM THE ARCHIVES: One thing that happened was when Jane walked out on the stage with no instruments and nothing fancy, and said, “Hello,” as a chimp would say. The place exploded. It was so beautiful how the crowd responded to Jane.
FROM THE ARCHIVES: [sings the first verse of his song “Mercy”]