Dr. Jane Goodall was Trevor Noah’s guest on The Daily Show Tuesday night, discussing her continued work with the Gombe chimpanzees as well as her global efforts to bring awareness to climate change and poverty through the Jane Goodall Institute.
When asked if our primate relatives have enacted the same devastating effects upon their habitat as humans have, Goodall replied: “No, but I think if they developed an intellect along the lines of ours, they would probably do exactly the same. I feel that what we’re doing to destroy the planet is because we can do it. We got ourselves into this situation where we can cut down a forest just like that. And what’s the result of it? Well, we basically brought a pandemic on ourselves, and we’ve basically brought about the climate crisis.”
Goodall emphasized that humans are part of the natural world, not separate from it, and if we care about the future of ourselves and the planet, there’s no time to waste. She also pointed out that, while some people around the world have the option to live sustainably, many who live in poverty cannot choose.
“They’re going to destroy the last trees to try and feed their families because they have to survive,” Goodall said. “So changing the gap between the haves and the have-nots, alleviating poverty, each one of us thinking about our environment — these are the things that really matter now.”