Jane Goodall's warning to the world on Earth Day

The world-renowned scientist has called on humans to start giving back to the planet. Source: Jane Goodall Institute / https://www.janegoodall.org.au/

Video transcript

JANE GOODALL: You all know the problems we face today. And these include climate change, loss of biodiversity, and of course, the COVID pandemic. Well, we only have ourselves to blame because for years humans have shown so little respect for the natural world and animals.

We've destroyed forests and other ecosystems. We polluted land, air, and water with agricultural, industrial, and household waste-- much of it full of toxic chemicals. We've burned increasing amounts of fossil fuel. And this has created massive amounts of the most prevalent greenhouse gas, CO2.

And it's those gases that form a sort of blanket around the globe, trapping the heat of the sun, leading to global warming. We've killed wild animals for food, clothing, pets, and sport. Yes, sport. Trafficked them around the world, crowded wild animals into tiny and unhygienic spaces in wildlife markets. And crowded domestic animals into horrendous factory farms.

And all these have created conditions that make it relatively easy for a pathogen, such as a virus, to spill over from an animal to a person where it may create a new disease, such as COVID-19.

I cannot send out this message without reference to Putin's war in Ukraine. The scale of human and animal suffering is horrendous and heartbreaking. But think also of the harm to the environment caused by the emissions from tanks and planes and bombs, and all the rest of it.

Today, Earth Day, is a time for all of us to think about how we as individuals can help this precious blue and green planet.

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