“If we all make ethical choices, then we’re going to be able to contribute to mitigating climate change”
Renowned primatologist Jane Goodall, who addressed a recent virtual event hosted for journalist organization National Press Club discussed how the human disrespect for animals and the environment has brought us to face “our own destruction.”
Taking stock of how human interference in the natural world has impacted animals, humans and the planet, she said: “We’ve destroyed environments, habitats, pushed animals in closer contact with people, given an opportunity for a pathogen, such as the covid-19 virus, to jump from an animal to a person and maybe start a new disease.”
“We’ve hunted them, killed them, eaten them. We’ve trafficked them, we’ve sent them from different regions or different countries to be sold as food, medicine, or as pets in the wildlife markets of Asia. We’ve sold them as food or sometimes medicine in the bushmeat markets of Africa, and also there is the exotic pet trade – usually illegal – which is now a global business worth billions of dollars.
“And in all these situations as well as in our factory farms where animals are kept – billions of them in crowded unsanitary conditions – these are creating the environment for creating a new zoonotic disease.”
‘Plundering finite natural resources’
She added that human greed, which seeks immediate short-term gain has exhausted the planet’s finite resources faster than nature can replenish them and has brought us to face a climate crisis issue “which is a far worse threat than the pandemic.”
Addressing the same issue at a session of the World Economic Forum’s Sustainable Development Impact Summit dedicated to the digital platform UpLink, the veteran conservationist said: “To a great extent, it’s the same disrespect of the natural world that has led to the climate crisis. This planet has finite natural resources and we have been plundering them faster than Mother Nature can restore them.”
She added: “We have to realise we are part of the natural world and we depend upon it. We have been destroying the natural world, destroying forests and trees that can absorb carbon dioxide and polluting the ocean that can also absorb carbon dioxide. And both forests and oceans give us the oxygen we need to breathe.
“Gradually we are poisoning the land with chemicals and we’re destroying so many environments.
“We need to somehow move into some of these innovations of science, like solar and wind energy. Otherwise, for my grandchildren and theirs, the future is more than grim, it’s very dark. We mustn’t let that happen. We have a window of time that’s closing and we need everyone who cares to get together and find solutions – now.”
‘Make ethical choices’
Commenting on another important factor contributing to the climate crisis, Goodall said humans should reduce their meat consumption.
She told National Press Club President Michael Freedman: “If we would just stop eating all of this meat, the difference would be huge because all of these billions of farm animals … kept in concentration camps to feed us, and, you know, whole environments are wiped out to grow the grain to feed them.
“Masses of fossil fuel are used to get the grain to the animals, the animals to the abattoir, the meat to the table. Masses of water, which is in such short supply and drying in some areas, is used to get vegetable-to-animal protein. And, finally, they’re all producing gas in their digestion and that’s methane, and that is a very virulent greenhouse gas.”
She concluded the conversation stating:“If everybody ate less meat, or preferably no meat, it wouldn’t only reduce cruelty, but it would also have a huge impact, positive impact on the environment.
“If we all make ethical choices, then we’re going to be able to contribute to mitigating climate change.”
Share this story: Jane Goodall says ‘make ethical choices’ since ‘our window of time’ to mitigate the climate crisis is fast closing.
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