Over the past four decades, we have lost close to 70 percent of global wildlife. The great challenge for humans now is to figure out how to rectify this extinction storm. Experts agree that protecting land and marine animal wildlife offers one of the most substantial solutions to the climate crisis, which remains crucial to the survival of nature and humanity. Iconic conservationist Jane Goodall joins Washington Post Live to discuss opportunities aimed at recovering and protecting endangered species and combating the ongoing consequences of climate change. WildlifeDirect CEO Paula Kahumbu will talk about how her life’s work in safeguarding elephants against environmental change and poaching is helping to solve this two-pronged crisis.

Check out The Washington Post’s Climate Solutions section, in partnership with Rolex, focusing on the individuals working to find answers.

Highlights

“I hope very much that they will agree to curb their emissions, I hope there will be some agreement about protecting forests and the environment, and I hope that the summit will be followed by action and that it isn’t just mere words.” (Washington Post Live)
The conservationist said the pandemic is partially due to the increased proximity between animals and humans. “The people studying these so-called zoonotic diseases have been warning us for years that a pandemic like this was inevitable. It’s partly… moving into animal habitats, forcing some animals closer to people which provides an opportunity for a pathogen like a virus to jump over, and when that happens it might start a new disease.” (Washington Post Live)
The conservationist said governments didn’t stick to their emissions goals partially because “there was nothing to require them.” “At the Paris Accords, governments made commitments as to how much emission they would curb, but they didn’t stick to that and there was nothing to require them to stick to it. So those that looked as though maybe they had managed were the companies that sent their really dirty industry overseas… so that it looked as though from their country much fewer emissions were going out into the atmosphere… If we don’t curb emissions, we’ll have catastrophic results. We’re having catastrophic results already, everywhere. The effects of climate change and loss of biodiversity are seen in all parts of the world.” (Washington Post Live)
Despite hearing from young people around the world that older generations have compromised their future, Goodall remains optimistic some of global warming’s impacts can be slowed. “Everywhere I was meeting young people who seemed to have lost hope… I began talking to them. They all said more or less the same, ‘We feel like this because you’ve compromised our future.’… We’ve been compromising their future, stealing their future, for years and years and years… I’m convinced there’s a window of time when we can start to slow down climate change and start healing some of the harm that we’ve inflicted.” (Washington Post Live)
The CEO of WildlifeDirect hopes to speak at the conference to motivate countries with high greenhouse gas emissions to curb their output. “COP26 is going to be a very important moment…I hope I can be there to speak…Kenya alone cannot do much when the cause of climate change is coming from outside our nation.” (Washington Post Live)
“Kenya is one of the least emitters of greenhouse gases, but we are affected by climate change in a very serious way… Climate change is by far the most important threat [to Kenya].” (Washington Post Live)
The WildlifeDirect CEO says humans ‘lose an important part of ourselves’ as plants and animals we evolved alongside become extinct. “As a species… we coevolved with all these other plants and animals and landscapes. So when we let it all go, we actually lose an important part of ourselves… We have two remaining white rhinos in Kenya… We’re witnessing a species on the brink of extinction, these two animals will be gone in the next few years. It’s heartbreaking and it’s not something we even have the words or the language to articulate how it affects us.” (Washington Post Live)

Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE

Provided by The Jane Goodall Institute.

Jane Goodall was born on April 3, 1934, in London England. At the young age of 26, she followed her passion for animals and Africa to Gombe, Tanzania, where she began her landmark study of chimpanzees in the wild immersing herself in their habitat as a neighbor rather than a distant observer. Her discovery in 1960 that chimpanzees make and use tools rocked the scientific world and redefined the relationship between humans and animals.

In 1977, she established the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) to advance her work around the world and for generations to come. JGI continues the field research at Gombe and builds on Dr. Goodall’s innovative approach to conservation, which recognizes the central role that people play in the well-being of animals and the environment. In 1991, she founded Roots & Shoots, a global program that empowers young people in nearly 60 countries and since it’s inception in 1991 has greatly impacted youth in over 100 countries to act as the informed conservation leaders that the world so urgently needs.

Today, Dr. Goodall travels the world, speaking about the threats facing chimpanzees, environmental crises and her reasons for hope. In her books and speeches, she emphasizes the interconnectedness of all living things and the collective power of individual action. Dr. Goodall is a UN Messenger of Peace and Dame Commander of the British Empire.

For more information, please visit www.janegoodall.org.

Paula Kahumbu, PhD

Provided by WildlifeDirect.

Paula Kahumbu is one of Africa’s best-known wildlife conservationists. She is the CEO of WildlifeDirect and brainchild of the Hands Off Our Elephants campaign with Her Excellency Margaret Kenyatta, the First Lady of the Republic of Kenya. The campaign is widely recognized for its singular successes in advocacy and the engagement of the people of Kenya to support the protection of elephants. She is the producer and host of Africa’s first wildlife documentary series made by Africans for Africans called Wildlife Warriors. Paula is the winner of the Whitley Award Gold Award 2021, ROLEX National Geographic Explorer of the Year for 2021, The Whitley Award 2014, National Geographic Howard Buffet Award for conservation leadership in Africa in 2010 and is a National Geographic Emerging Explorer. She received a special commendation at the United Nations Person of the Year celebrations for her critical role in creating awareness and mobilizing action around the crisis facing elephants in Kenya. She is recognized as a Kenyan conservation ambassador by Brand Kenya and in 2015 received the Presidential Award and title of Order of the Grand Warrior (OGW). She is a trustee of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and the Maun Science Park Botswana. Paula received her PhD in Ecology from Princeton University where she studied elephants in coastal Kenya