Before attending the 21st edition of the Conference of the Parties (COP21), the renowned conservationist and primatologist Jane Goodall visited Argentina. Inan exclusive chat with Sustentator, she describes the importance of climate change, the reasons for the historical failure of the conferences and alert abouttwo endangered ecosystems.
Jane Goodall is, undoubtedly, one of the persons who have historically fought for the protection of planet Earth. What began as a scientific venture into the jungle to study chimpanzees became an international crusade to raise awareness of the damage that humans are causing to other animal species, but also to himself. This crusade is such that of 365 days a year, Goodall travels 300 to encourage people around the world -especially the young- to start acting towards adopting a more sustainable way of life and generate a positive impact on the earth.
In her last tour around Latin America, she visited Argentina for the fifth time and was concerned about the imminent arrival of the COP21, while currently seen as an opportunity to put climate change on the international agenda. Prior to attending COP21, and after years of experience in research, conservation and environmental issues (today Goodall has no less than 81 years and she is never tired of trying to change the world), one of the most revolutionary women in history, she offers her view of the most important political-environmental event in recent times .
This year all the world's eyes are put on what happens these days in Paris and in the fight against climate change, a theme that is necessarily linked to other problems in the world today, such as poverty. How do you explain that bond?
Climate change is so important today. Why? Because it is happening and it is affecting forests, oceans, people. But it is not a unique problem, a combination of various factors that are present today. One problem that is affecting the world today is poverty. When a person is poor, it does not realize that if you are cutting a tree, that can contribute to the destruction of a forest, just think to heating. So people living in poverty do so in a way unfriendly to the environment because they try to meet their basic needs in the way possible.
What about other people who are not in poverty? How do they affect climate change?
Removing those who are in poverty, all of us are in a theoretical best quality of opportunity, but we have a lifestyle that is not sustainable. Why have lights on here when we could take advantage of natural light coming through the large windows? On the other hand, there is the problem of the large number of people living in this world. If we continue with this population growth, will not be able to meet the needs of all and the impact will be greater. How many people can withstand this planet?
That it is why is important to educate woman?
Of course. The education of women in underdeveloped and developing countries is key. There tend to have many children and give them tools necessary for there to be a family planning awareness. It is a problem that, for example in Argentina, plans to give support to women who have eight or nine children. That should not happen, they must have prior education.
When it comes to the COP, you often express your dissatisfaction and disappointment because of its historical failure . Why do you think it is so difficult to reach a successful agreement in the fight against climate change?
It is because of the unfortunate alliance between corporations and governments and the high level of corruption in the world. I always used to talk about the great disconnection there is between human's brain and heart and that separation becomes visible when making decisions. Agreements are decided without thinking about how those decisions can or are already affecting people, or can do so with future generations in 20 years. They are only thinking in what affects them today, now, how they get rich today. And therein lies the problem.
You have worked closely in the forests and know their problems, and have also had a very special connection with Roger Payne with regards on his work to take care of the oceans and the preservation of biodiversity in both areas. Why do you think that both forests and oceans are two of the most important issues to consider when talking about climate change?
Because we are talking about the two ecosystems that absorb carbon dioxide (CO2). As we destroy them, all the CO2 that was not absorbed, rises into the atmosphere, with the consequences that entails. We are throwing garbage in the oceans and practicing agriculture-based on invasive genetically modified organisms (GMO). The oceans and forests are in a dramatic situation.