One of them is Dr. Jane Goodall, who is most famous for being the world’s leading expert on chimpanzees, some of humanity’s closest relatives on Earth. In a recent video on Instagram, she condemns world leaders who aren’t willing to act on rising global temperatures while sharing the four reasons she has hope for our future.
Goodall began her work in Tanzania in 1960, observing chimps in the wild in what is now Gombe Stream National Park. Over the last 64 years, she has not only studied these primates but also become a powerful force for conservation, founding the Jane Goodall Institute to protect the great apes and the habitats that support them through study, education, and advocacy.
To Goodall, addressing Earth’s rising temperature is about protecting both humanity and the wider world around us.
“It’s like so many of the problems that we face: We really need to think holistically,” she says in the video, which was created by the World Economic Forum (@worldeconomicforum). “Of course, we should be worried about the suffering of people. But at the same time, the climate crisis and the loss of biodiversity — because they go absolutely together — we mustn’t forget about that.”
As an example, Goodall speaks about war. The toll it takes on human life, including the lives of civilians, is obviously massive, but there is another effect that is often overlooked.
“We have to realize that war is actually having an unbelievable impact on the environment. And it’s emitting vast amounts of fossil fuel CO2 into the atmosphere to add to the greenhouse gases,” she says.
As the Conflict and Environment Observatory explained, war creates air pollution directly because of burning fuel and other factors. It also creates chaotic conditions in which other sources of pollution are likely to go unchecked.
“Because we’re human … humanity needs to address human suffering,” says Goodall. “But we mustn’t forget that if we don’t at the same time address the climate crisis, that’s going to lead to more and more and more suffering. Already there are climate refugees.”
However, according to Goodall, humanity has four things on its side that may be exactly what we need to solve this crisis. “Once young people understand the problem and they are empowered to take action, there’s no stopping them. Their enthusiasm, their determination. … This is probably my greatest reason for hope,” she says.
She also speaks about human intelligence and “the indomitable human spirit” as two reasons to believe we can reverse the damage that’s been done to our planet.
Finally, she points out that nature itself is resilient: “Places we totally destroyed, nature, given time, will come back. Animals on the brink of extinction can be given another chance.”
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