Jane Goodall brings message to Miami-Dade: ‘We have a window of time to try and slow down climate change’

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – World-renowned primatologist Jane Goodall spoke on Friday night at Florida International University in Miami-Dade County.

The 88-year-old conservationist and climate activist also met with Local 10 News Environmental Advocate Louis Aguirre before the event.

“Why South Florida? Why today? What did you come here to share with us?” Aguirre asked Goodall.

“Well, I came here to share the fact that we have a window of time to try and slow down climate change and loss of biodiversity,” Goodall said. “And it’s closing still. And if we let it close, then we will reach — some scientists say we reached the point of no return already and I don’t believe that. This part of Florida seems to need that message.”

Goodall, a U.N. Messenger of Peace, addressed a sold-out crowd of 3,400 people at FIU’s Ocean Bank Convocation Center.

She shared a message of hope on climate change.

“You yourself as an individual can’t slow down climate change, but act locally, find something you care about in your community. Maybe it’s the trash in the streets, maybe it’s dirty rivers, maybe it’s boats going too fast so that manatees get hurt, whatever it is, see what you can do about it, get people to come with you,” she said. “Then you’ll see that ‘here, I can make a difference.’ That makes you feel good. So you want to do more and then you inspire more people and then you think there other people like me all over the world or doing their bit.”

Goodall rose to prominence after her groundbreaking research in the 1960′s, behaviorally linking chimpanzees to humans when she observed them turning sticks and twigs into tools to get food.

“I wasn’t surprised to see the chimps using tools, but I didn’t know that science believed that we were the only tool-using creatures,” she said.

“And you disrupted that science,” Aguirre replied.

“So I disrupted it! No, the chimps did!” Goodall said.

“The chimps did!” Aguirre said.

“It wasn’t me!” Goodall replied.

It was in the forest of Gombe in Tanzania that a then 23-year-old Goodall found her calling: protecting and restoring the biodiversity of the planet.

She’s been at it ever since, traveling the globe 300 days a year as the protective godmother of all creatures, big and small — even us.

“If I want to save this planet or do my bit, then the more people that can be inspired and the media can inspire, the better,” she said. “What I want the media to do now is to give as much time to the good and positive that’s happening. I mean, we need to know about the doom and gloom and it is doom and gloom, no question. But I’ve met so many incredible people doing fabulous projects all around the world.”

About the Author:

Louis Aguirre is an Emmy-award winning journalist who anchors weekday newscasts and serves as WPLG Local 10’s Environmental Advocate.