Business, Politics & Society

Climate Change

Dr. Jane Goodall

Lesson time 9:42 min

Learn about the many kinds of waste we release into the environment and the effects they have on our interconnected world.

Dr. Jane Goodall
Teaches Conservation
In 29 lessons, Dr. Jane Goodall shares her insights into animal intelligence, conservation, and activism.
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We only have to think of pollution, and the reckless burning of fossil fuel, and the agricultural industrial and household waste. Have to think how the land, the air, and the water are being contaminated. Think about the destruction of the rainforests. Think about how this is leading to increased desertification, affecting fresh water supplies. Think about the pollution of the ocean, the acidification of the ocean. And as oceans become less capable of absorbing carbon dioxide, CO2 from the atmosphere, and as rainforests disappear with their capacity for absorbing and holding CO2, and, at the same time, burning recklessly fossil fuels, emitting all kinds of so-called greenhouse gases, creating a blanket of these gases that surround the globe and trap the heat of the sun, leading to gradual heating of the Earth's surface, the heating of the ocean, the melting of the ice. And this is creating what we now know is a major threat to the planet, as a whole. And that's climate change. I've seen it firsthand. I've traveled enough to see a lot of these things firsthand. I've been to places in China and India, where the pollution is so terrible that people have to wear masks. And I've been in Greenland, with a lot of the Inuit elders. I've seen the ice melting, the icebergs carving, the water rushing down into the ocean, and the Inuit elders telling me, even in the summer, the water never used to run free here. It was always frozen. And going straight from that freezing of the ice to Panama-- it just happened that way-- and there I met many of the indigenous people, who'd been forced off their island, because of the increased level of water in the oceans, due to the melting of the ice. And this is true for many people living on small islands around the world. It's, for me, a major tragedy that forests are disappearing. They are home to so much biodiversity, and so much of the richness of the tapestry of life, the web of life. As the oceans become increasingly acidified-- they, too, are host to so much biodiversity-- this is gradually being destroyed. What are we doing to the future of our children? I believe, honestly and truly, that it's only when we learn to operate with head and heart in harmony that we can achieve our true human potential. I've learned so much about what we're doing to harm this planet, it sometimes keeps me awake at night. [MUSIC PLAYING] [HELICOPTER SOUNDS] I think most people now know about carbon dioxide, CO2, nitrous oxide, the main greenhouse gas ingredients. But there's another ingredient of greenhouse gases, which is an even more potent gas, and that's methane. And one of the main contributors to the increase of methane, and the other greenhouse gases, is the modern agricultural farming of animals-- these intensive farms. As more and more people around the world get wealthy, as in China, it becomes a status symbol to eat meat. ...

Take action

There is still a window of time. Nature can win if we give her a chance. In her first ever online class, Dr. Jane Goodall teaches how you can conserve the environment. She also shares her research on the behavioral patterns of chimpanzees and what they taught her about conservation. You'll learn how to act locally and protect the planet.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Dr. Jane Goodall is inspiring and has given me the sense of feeling empowered that I too can make a change in this planet.

Great to feel inspired in these strange times!

Jane is so inspirational and I learned a great deal about incremental ways to participate in conservation and the environment. The first few lessons about Jane's experiences with primates were fascinating and I would have preferred more lessons devoted to this subject matter.

I love Jane! Jane has taught me that change doesn't have to be big, small changes, when accumulated can also bring significant impacts.



Something that really struck me was the fact that meat is a status symbol and that is one of the reasons why meat consumption increases with levels of wealth. But obviously we don't want people to remain in poverty, so there's a real conflict there that needs to be addressed somehow... It's also tricky because we would want a truer price to be put on something like meat - a price that takes into account the many environmental costs, e.g. - and yet, the problem stays because again, it is because it is a more expensive item that people, once they have the money, want to consume it... This is definitely something I would like to figure out. I have adopted a vegan diet after being a vegetarian pretty much my whole life, and whilst I was motivated to try a vegan diet after watching 'Cowspiracy', which really highlighted the environmental impacts of not only meat but also dairy and eggs, ultimately I eat what I eat because it is what I want to eat - what I feel morally good about eating and what actually makes me feel healthy physically. But someone eating meat would say the same - that it is what they want...right? Or would they agree? Have they even thought that much about it? Often when it comes to our daily actions, we don't... Would love to know anyone else's thoughts on this matter! :)

A fellow student

Perhaps she and John Coleman should have a discussion on climate change. She can expound on the weather and he can talk about chimps.

Belinda M.

Its frightening the rate at which the climate has changed, and the rate it continues to do so. Democracy needs to be redefined, so we don't have to be witness to what is blatently obvious, being denied. However, that is only one person, there are millions more who can turn this around.

Svanfridur M.

Climate change... I can't even put into words how it makes me feel. Terrified. Angry. Dismayed. First of all, as a child I find it incredibly enraging to recognize that a) my biggest fear is climate change, and I have abandoned the other scientific and literary courses I always wanted my life to take because it is climate change action that is where I am needed, and that b) already I seem to be taking more responsibility for the mistakes of my predecessors than some of them themselves are! Not to be snotty or a braggart, but it is so frustrating to make sacrifices in a last ditch effort to save my peers, myself, and the human species that I know has so much potential if it could just survive, and then to watch as my people elect a president who points to a chilly day as disproving the whole thing! Climate change is like a child refusing to learn to walk. It seems so much easier to the naive baby (that is humanity) but eventually, it'll ruin its life. And in time, it'll have gotten so used to crawling it won't know how to adapt when it finally realizes its errors. How ridiculous a bind we've gotten ourselves in! Please, to those who can actually vote and get into roles of leadership, at least give us youth enough time to age enough for we can have a future to look forward to.

A fellow student

I would be interested in getting input from other community members on how they would impact their government in making the absolute critical changes to help stop or slow down Global Warming this includes Dr. Jane Goodall

Debbie L.

Sometimes it seems so hard to stay hopeful in times like these... I've found optimism to be one of my last few guiding light: “Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, you are unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so.” - Chomsky.

Mary H.

model for teaching children about deforestation, pollution, & erosion

Louanne F.

I agree that the use of the term "global warming" has been unfortunate, since it does give people who choose not to believe in science an excuse when their own environment happens to be cold. Global climate change is a much more appropriate term, and hopefully that will start to impact more people's thinking. I am recommending this course to everyone in the hopes that they will begin to see this is far more important that political posturing - it's crucial for life on earth.


I am starting community centers in China now. Are​ there any materials, statistics, or other resources from Dr. Goodall that I can use to come up with a class in my community center about protecting our environment and globe?

Mia S.

"Most of the people I meet around the planet are very well-aware of climate change. Most of them believe that our human actions have had a lot to do with it. There's almost nowhere I go now where people don't say, 'Well, it's very unusual for this time of year; when I grew up, it was always raining at this time of year.' When I first went to Gombe, there were these short rains, and you could predict when they would be; there were the long rains, and you could predict how long they were. But now there's a blur between short rains and long rains. The long rains can be short, and the short rains can be heavy. It can rain in the dry season. It's completely different, and all of the older people there will agree, it's different, it's changed - and that's everywhere. Everywhere I go, people are saying, 'Well it wasn't like this when I was young.' And the older the people I talk to are, the more they realize the change that's happened in their lifetime. Children don't know the change, they can only be told about the change. But there's so much scientific evidence now. The climate around the planet is changing. One of the big mistakes at the beginning is we simply talked about 'global warming.' Of course, in some places, it's extra cold and it's cold when it should be hot, and so people say, 'Well people talk about global warming, but it's very very cold and it's the middle of summer, it never used to be cold like this.' It's climate change - it's the same old story of interrelationship that's been part of my life, so that everything starts to change - the currents of the sea start to change, the winds are affected, the hurricanes get worse, tornadoes, droughts, flooding gets worse. It's building all the time. How people can be climate change deniers- how anybody can ignore the massive scientific information and fact that's come out of these very cutting-edge scientists, I don't know. But some people, they just choose not to believe it, whether they really don't believe it, whether they're sticking their heads in the sand, I don't know - but I do meet them."