Science & Tech, Home & Lifestyle, Community & Government

Humans & The Environment (Cont'd)

Dr. Jane Goodall

Lesson time 06:25 min

Dr. Jane shares the three main problems challenging the health of our planet and explains how we mustn't lose hope in the face of these seemingly impossible problems.

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Topics include: Exploitation of Natural Resources • Three Interrelated Problems


It's pretty bad when we think back through human history how wealthy nations have moved in to the developing world and just taken over parts of the land. Think what's happened to the Native Americans. Think how they've been driven out of where they've been for hundreds of thousands of years and put on reservations. Think of the way people have been buying up the natural world like water resources, privatizing it so that ordinary people have to pay for something that should be free for everyone. And some people can't pay for it. And this is one of the big problems that we face today. And the gap between the wealthy and the poor is widening all the time. And this is why we get some of the political disasters that we've seen in recent years. It all ties down, I think it's all tied up with the exploitation of natural resources. I always get-- you know, I spend every year I spend time in Nebraska to see this incredible migration of the sandhill cranes. And they're with the snow geese and various other wood birds. It's one of the wonders of the world. And it's certainly reason for hope that there are still hundreds of thousands of wood birds and cranes flying through, building up resources for their long migrations to the far north. And every time I'm there it hurts to fly over that land. It hurts to drive along the roads. Because every where you see the center pivots. And this is machinery that drills down, down, down into the aquifer. It's going ever deeper because the levels in the aquifer are dropping. And this is drawing water to irrigate land that isn't suitable for growing crops like corn. And so this is stealing the water. And there are places, animals, environments, habitats that used to be flourishing and green and now they're dry and desert like because the water has been drained for agriculture so that farmers can become wealthy. And people are suffering. Animals are certainly suffering. People sometimes say, what do you see as the biggest problem on the planet today thinking about a sustainable future and how we're harming the planet now? And I see three main problems all interrelated. One, extreme poverty. Because if you're really poor and you're living in a rural area you're going to cut down the last trees because you need to grow food or because you need money and you want to make charcoal. You're going to do that because you have to. If you're living in an urban area and you're really poor you're going to buy the cheapest food because you have to. You're not going to be able to say how was it made? Was it ethically made? Should I be buying something else? You have to buy the cheapest if you're really poor. And as we all know, so many people on the planet today are living in extreme poverty. So that's one big problem that we have to address. And the second big problem is the unsustainable lifestyle...

About the Instructor

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.

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Dr. Jane Goodall

Dr. Jane Goodall shares her insights into animal intelligence, conservation, and activism.

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