This is Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, Founder – the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace. She is fiercely dedicated to inspiring people globally to conserve the natural world we share and to improve the lives of people, of animals and the environment.

Her work and dedication renews one of the most powerful resources we have: hope.

With Covid-19 forcing a temporary slowdown of human activity around the world, we have witnessed behavioral changes in the animal kingdom. With this temporary lighter human footprint in many ecosystems, wildlife has been seen taking advantage of our absence as they move more freely through urban habitat. Contrary, this decreased human activity has also been detrimental – the absence of ecotourism and increasing poverty gives rise to poaching.

With decreased carbon emissions we have seen air quality improve and wildlife sightings increase. How will this pandemic affect the future of wildlife around the world?

Here is a powerful statement from Dr. Jane Goodall.

“Scientists warn that if we continue to ignore the causes of zoonotic diseases, we may be infected with viruses that cause pandemics even more disruptive than COVID-19. Many people believe that we have come to a turning point in our relationship with the natural world. We need to halt deforestation and the destruction of natural habitats around the globe. We need to make use of existing nature-friendly, organic alternatives, and develop new ones, to feed ourselves and to maintain our health. We need to eliminate poverty so that people can find alternative ways to make a living other than by hunting and selling wild animals and destroying the environment. We need to assure that local people, whose lives directly depend on and are impacted by the health of the environment, own and drive good conservation decisions in their own communities as they work to improve their lives. Finally, we need to connect our brains with our hearts and appropriately use our indigenous knowledge, science and innovative technologies to make wiser decisions about people, animals and our shared environment.

While there is a justified focus on bringing COVID-19 under control, we must not forget the crisis with potentially long-term catastrophic effects on the planet and future generations – the climate crisis. The movement calling for industry and governments to impose restrictions on the emission of greenhouse gases, to protect forests, and clean up the oceans, has been growing.

This pandemic has forced industry to temporarily shut down in many parts of the world. As a result, many people have for the first time experienced the pleasure of breathing clean air and seeing the stars in the night sky.

My hope is that an understanding of how the world should be, along with the realization that it is our disrespect of the natural world that has led to the current pandemic, will encourage businesses and governments to put more resources into developing clean, renewable energy, alleviating poverty and helping people to find alternative ways of making a living that do not involve the exploitation of nature and animals.

Let us realize we are part of, and depend upon, the natural world for food, water and clean air. Let us recognize that the health of people, animals and the environment are connected. Let us show respect for each other, for the other sentient animals, and for Mother Nature. For the sake of the well-being of our children and theirs, and for the health of this beautiful planet Earth, our only home.

Hope is contingent upon our taking action together soon. All of us, every single one of us, we’ve all got to do our bit”.

Everything is connected—everyone can make a difference.

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