Leading conservationist Dr Jane Goodall warns next generation faces a 'bleak future' without action

COP15, the once-in-decade global biodiversity summit, began in Montreal on Wednesday. Ahead of the conference, ITV News spoke to one of the world's most famous and inspiring conservationists, Dr Jane Goodall.

With an estimated one million plant and animal species facing extinction, the scale of the issues being grappled with by nations at COP15 in Montreal could hardly be greater.

Entire ecosystems face collapse if we do not act, so how best to overcome this challenge?

Dr Jane Goodall has spent a lifetime trying to understand, protect and educate others about the natural world. She’s witnessed devastating habitat loss but also examples of where, given time, nature returns.

She paints a dark picture of what happens if politicians fail to rise to the occasion, saying the “price of failure is condemning our children, our children's children, to a very, very bleak and grim future.”

Talking to ITV News in Parliament, where she was marking a significant moment in the campaign to ban trophy hunting, she explains how we need to view nature.

Dr Goodall has spent decades studying primates. Credit: ITV News

“I would say how important it is to realise that we are actually not separate from the natural world. We are part of it and more than that we depend on it. We depend on it for food, water, everything," she said.

"We depend on healthy ecosystems. An ecosystem is made up of an interrelated mix of animal and plant species living in that ecosystem. And as more and more animals and plants become extinct in that area, so the ecosystem eventually will collapse.”

Decades of witnessing animals, such as primates, up close has forged her understanding of our world and inspires her work with young people through her Roots & Shoots programme. 

Dr Jane Goodall says there is a window of opportunity to save the natural world but we must act now. Credit: PA

In Montreal, the world faces a choice but it’s complicated. Delivering change includes finding a way of maintaining wealth. Making people poorer while saving plants and animals won’t work, but Dr Jane Goodall sees options that will.

She concluded: “We need nature for our own physical and psychological well-being. That's proven again and again. We must not let these ecosystems collapse, we have this window of time, we have the tools, we know how we can do things. But will we?”

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