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Climate change

Our leaders are just monkeying around

Dr Jane Goodall releases a chimpanzee onto Tchindzoulou Island in 2013

How do you pronounce your last name, comedian Marc Maron asks Jane Goodall in his WTF podcast. “Good-all,” replies the 87-year-old primatologist. “It’s like all good.” Of course, she adds, none of us actually is “all good”. Some people are almost entirely bad. Yes, says Maron, and it seems the “all bad” people keep getting elected to run countries. Goodall agrees: “I want to send them all off. They’re all climate deniers. So I’d like to send them all off and put them on one of the bits of ice that hasn’t melted in the Antarctic, and leave them there.”

After 60 years spent studying chimpanzees, Goodall has turned her attention to climate change. It’s easy to feel helpless about the state of the world, she says. Temperatures are rising, fires are starting and climate conferences are nearly always “a lot of talk and promises, with no teeth to them”. But Goodall remains hopeful. “I think we’ve reached a crossroads,” she says – people are finally starting to take climate change seriously. And humans are tougher than you might think. “It’s extraordinary, the number of people who have this indomitable spirit. I don’t know where it came from.” As long as people cling on to that sense of determination, there is reason to hope. “You realise that even if the world failed, we won’t.”

🎥 🙊 The one thing Goodall isn’t hopeful about is Hollywood. As a monkey expert, she was asked by film producers to consult on the reboot of Planet of the Apes, making sure the CGI monkeys looked and behaved in a lifelike fashion. She wasn’t convinced by the results: “It was an absolutely brilliant film until they had to get all that stupid Hollywood drama at the end, with spaceships coming in and guns… that spoilt it totally.”