When I started thinking of my favorite podcast episode of the year, I realized to my own disgust that I’ve mostly listened to news and interviews in 2021. My life felt so busy and serious, and my podcast listening catered accordingly. The downside is that most of my podcast listening was depressing, boring, or both; but a few months ago, I listened to an interview with Jane Goodall—a name I recognized as “that woman who studied primates,” but not much beyond that—who was thoughtful, inspiring, and charming. As she talked about her past studies and how she sees the future of the world, she was somehow both philosophical and pragmatic, and also—again, somehow—optimistic. I felt like I could sit at her feet and listen to her speak for hours, but since I can’t, I plan to do the next best things, like reading her most recent work called The Book of Hope and digging around the internet for other interviews.
If your pessimism is getting the best of you in light of [gestures at everything around us], consider this episode a short reprieve through someone realistic enough to understand the peril of things like climate change, smart enough to offer solutions, and brave enough to be hopeful. She won’t just be “the primate woman” to me anymore. —Jordan Calhoun, editor-in-chief