Jane Goodall often finds herself looking up at the moon.
Eighty-five years she’s been on this planet, and still, she’s in awe of it.
Hundreds of thousands of kilometres away, the moon is the constant between us and every other thing that’s ever found themselves on earth.
But we – human beings – are the only creatures clever enough to have landed there; to explore its craters with our own feet, and to hold its rocks with our own hands.
“It’s bizarre,” Jane Goodall tells Mamamia, before pausing for a moment.
“That the most intellectual creature is destroying its only home.”
Jane Goodall on leaving a better world for our children. Post continues below.
For Goodall, the world’s most prolific expert on chimpanzees, the environment is not an election issue, to be weighed up alongside the economy.
It is not something to be prioritised by men in suits, sitting in parliament and around boardroom tables.
The environment is it. All we have. And we’re running out of time.
“The window is closing,” she says.
“I don’t know how big a window of time we have, and some scientists think it’s too late.”
If we continue on ‘business as usual’, Goodall says, then “I would not want to imagine the desert world my great-grandchildren will be born into.”
It is not a world, Goodall knows, that will resemble the planet she grew up in.
In 1960, she first started studying the interactions of wild chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania – work which would ultimately change how humans understood our closest living relatives.
But even since then, weather patterns have dramatically changed. She’s spoken to people all over the world who do not recognise the place they’ve lived their whole lives. It won’t stop raining. Or there is no rain. Now, some tell her, there are no seasons.
Goodall quotes Mahatma Gandhi, “The planet can provide for human need, but not human greed.”
We’ve become too materialistic, she laments. We’ve “lost connection with the natural world,” while we strive to get bigger and more and more successful, at the expense of our environment.