Mountain Towns 2030 Summit, with Jane Goodall and Paul Hawken

Ashlynd Greenwood

Jane Goodall and Paul Hawken visited Park City on Oct. 2 for the Mountain Towns 2030 Net-Zero Summit. Goodall and Hawken left the audience with a beautiful message and sense of hope in regard to the current climate crisis. “Love is a very important component. We tend to go along with our brains, and only when the head and heart are in harmony can we reach our true human potential,” Goodall said.

Renowned primatologist and animal-rights activist Jane Goodall has a new book, "Hope for Animals and Their World," a collection of conservation success stories. (Akira Suwa/Philadelphia Inquirer/MCT)

With all the inspiration floating throughout the world right now, Andy Beerman, Park City Mayor wants to use the city’s unique power to make a global impact on climate change. Park City has created the ambitious goal of reaching Net-Zero carbon emissions by 2030. The Mountain Towns’ Summit hosted by Park City welcomed as many as 40 mountain towns from across the country committed to bold climate action, such as Net-Zero.

“I’m often asked, what difference can a small town like Park City make? My answer is we can show what’s possible. We are a progressive community, we have wealth, we have close connections to the environment and our economy depends on the snowpack. So if someone as motivated and capable as us cannot act, how can we expect that of others,” Beerman said. Park City was pleased to welcome Goodall and Hawken to inspire the community to reach these goals.

Jane Goodall is a British anthropologist and primatologist, renownedly known for her work with wild chimpanzees in Tanzania. From a young age, Jane felt a greater connection to the outdoors and animals than was acknowledged at the time. Scientists in the 1940s saw themselves as the only conscious agents in a passive and material environment, simply observing the natural world, putting numbers on animals’ backs and understanding that humans were the only species that used and created tools.

Through Goodall’s 50 years studying chimpanzees in the rainforest, she created a new vision of the natural world. The natural world was something of culture, of emotion, of passion. It was a place that Goodall felt a spiritual connection to. She created a language to communicate her name to the chimpanzees and saw herself as a part of the overarching biodiversity there.

At the mere age of 26, Goodall changed the way we see the natural world, and science today hasn’t looked back. It has given humans a reason to become conscious of their actions. A reason to see animals not in cages but in the wild. A reason to connect to what is greater than we can perceive with the human mind.

Park City was also visited by Paul Hawken, who in 2017 wrote the world’s most comprehensive guide to reversing climate change with 100 solutions in “Drawdown.” With this book, Hawken has also created Project Drawdown, which is “a global research organization that identifies, reviews, and analyzes the most viable solution to climate change and shares these findings with the world,” Hawken said.

Hawken mentioned that the biosphere of Earth is a self-regulating system. The fine-tune adjustments the Earth makes to create a balance between Earth and space, land and oceans and temperature and air pressure. All of this makes Earth the only planet in the solar system with the potential for life, creating an oasis of plants, animals and humans.

Everything on Earth is living as one cycle. Humans are living outside of this cycle, and Hawken’s goal is to adjust the way we regulate ourselves to live in harmony with Earth. Hawken gathered students, professors and scientists from 21 countries as researchers to research these 100 most substantive solutions to living in harmony with the environment.

Regarding the 100 solutions, the goal is to determine if humans can reverse the buildup of atmospheric carbon within 30 years. Hawken asked the audience “What would it take to do that? Do we have the techniques, technologies and the tools at hand to practice these solutions? Can we do it, is it economical, can we afford to do it?” Most importantly Hawken asked, “Can we afford not to do it?”

Goodall closed out the night with a message for all youth, whom are leading the global climate actions today. “The advice I would give is that nobody can do everything. The problems we are surrounded with today are huge and can be overwhelming. Although, there may be one part of it that is very interesting to you. Something you feel you really care about. Maybe it’s protecting a certain plant species or animal. Maybe it’s collecting trash. Anything. Focus on that, roll up your sleeves, and take action. Then that will take you into a community of people who want to make a difference.”