The primatologist and ecological activist on why population isn’t the cause of climate change, and why she’s encouraging optimism
Jane Goodall is a primatologist who is regarded as one of the world’s leading authorities on chimpanzees. She has spent 60 years studying the chimps that live in the Gombe Stream national park and she is a prominent advocate, via several foundations, of protecting the great apes and their habitats. She has been presented with awards by the UN and various governments for her conservation and environmental work. She appears in the Netflix documentary The Beginning of Life 2.
You warned last June that humanity will be finished if we don’t make drastic changes in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the climate crisis. Have you seen any indication of that drastic change?
The window is closing. Business as usual – using up natural resources faster and faster – can’t carry on. In some cases, we are already using resources faster than they can be replenished. And we can see the consequences. Look at climate change. It is not something that might happen in the future; we are already seeing terrible hurricanes and floods and fires. It is building up into an inferno. When you think globally like that, it is very, very depressing.
We’re seeing the consequences of the idea that there can be unlimited economic development with finite natural resources