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Time for sanity on climate change, Goodall and Shiva tell Amanpour

September 30th, 2013
03:01 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Scientists are now 95% certain that humans are responsible for climate change, according to a major new study, and two prominent environmentalists told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that the time is now for a “groundswell” of changed thinking.

Amanpour spoke with Jane Goodall, a primatologist best known for her work with chimpanzees, and Doctor Vandana Shiva, an environmental activist who fights for changed agricultural practices, in an interview that aired Monday.

“I really believe the time has come for sanity, for responsibility,” Shiva told Amanpour, “for recognizing the rights of Mother Earth, for recognizing a deep science that works in accordance with the laws of Gaia” – the Greek personification of Earth – “not the shallow and irresponsible science that works only in the marketplace for profits and power.”

Goodall and Shiva spoke with Amanpour as they were attending the International Women’s Earth and Climate Change Summit in New York.

Goodall too emphasized the need for change.

“All my life I have loved being out in nature,” she said, “and I see nature shrinking and shrinking as human populations spread, as development takes over areas that once were so beautiful and so clean; forests, which protect the quality of the air and of the water, are being destroyed.”

For Shiva, a change in agricultural practices would have an impact of incredible scope.

“For every crisis we face today,” she said, “whether it be the economic crisis and the disappearance of wealth and jobs, or it be the ecological crisis with climate at the center, or it be the food crisis that a billion people are facing directly for lack of food and two billion for lack of good food, healthy food, and are suffering diseases of obesity, diabetes, etc. – all of these problems get solved by promoting ecological agriculture on the basis of a science of agroecology.”

“I think,” she said, “we need a groundswell across the world that creates another paradigm and another worldview.”

Goodall has focused much of her work of late on inspiring young people to do their part in keeping the planet healthy.

“It makes me so angry when I look at a small child today and I think how we’ve harmed this beautiful planet since I was that age,” Goodall said. “And it makes me so sad to my soul when young people, like in college, say, ‘Well, you know I feel depressed, or I feel angry, or I don’t care because you’ve compromised our future and there’s nothing we can do about it.’”

“And we have,” she said. “We have compromised their future.”

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Climate • Latest Episode
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. Fernando C. Soriano

    What a sight! Three brightly shinning stars of True Womanhood gathered together working humanity toward a better future.... Fills me with tears of hope and joy.... All shall be well with humanity with the likes of you around. All the love, wisdom and power you be yours. Shine on ...!

    September 30, 2013 at 9:45 pm | Reply
  2. Celia Alario

    Amazing to see! If you are interested in more about the Summit they were discussing check out, 100 women leaders working on a Women's Climate Action Agenda

    October 1, 2013 at 2:49 am | Reply
  3. Dr. Nina Fedoroff

    The notion that shifting the world to agroecological methods from high intensity modern agriculture will solve all of the worlds ills ranging from youth discontent to obesity - as articulated by Vandana Shiva and heartily endorsed by Jane Goodall - on your program, Christiane, was both cynical and naive beyond belief. The notion that transitioning the world to a profoundly less productive agricultural system will save humanity and wildlife may make lots of money on the lecture circuit, but as policy, it would make for even more hungry and destructive people in the real world of more than 7 billion. The less productive the agricultural system, the more land is needed and the less is left for preserving biodiversity. Humans hunting for food in Africa's wildlife preserves are what's destroying the habitats and beautiful animals Goodall so loves, not efficient modern agriculture, which is what is feeding the world. And young people, by and large, want to go to cities and get good jobs, not do manual labor on inefficient farms. I would like to see you interview people who know something about what it will take stabilize global human population and to feed a world of 10 billion, about neither of which your guests know anything. I suggest people like Peter Raven, former head of the Missouri Botanical Garden and one of the world's great (but realistic) defenders of biodiversity and Sir Gordon Conway, former head of the Rockefeller Foundation and former Chief Scientist to the UK Prime Minister.

    October 1, 2013 at 7:11 am | Reply
    • cosmicaug

      I have to agree with Dr. Goodall's fear of seeing disappearing nature and that is why I think that Vandana Shiva's notion of a universal shift to "ecological agriculture" (which to Vandana Shiva means a return to farming how it was done before the Green Revolution –a time when India a net importer of food) is sheer lunacy! Currently, something like 40% of our land area is devoted to agriculture.

      Agricultural land use is a major threat to the environment. We need more efficient land use, not less efficient land use. Every environmentally minded individual should see this.

      If we halve the amount of feed we can make that means we'll need to put twice the surface area into agricultural use. That's 80% of our land are. Even assuming that converting 80% of our surface area into agricultural production does not result in cataclysmic ecological catastrophe (which is an experiment I believe we should avoid trying at all costs), please tell me where that land area is going to come from? And this doesn't even take into account the fact that the prime agricultural areas have been taken. In reality, we will find that every additional bit of land area will be less and less productive (specially when using the sort of "ecological agriculture" that Vandana Shiva would burden us with) so we will probably find that we do not have enough surface area to support our current levels of food consumption. And this assumes we never increase our population.

      I am ignoring the saving if we eliminated (or drastically reduced) meat consumption but, clearly, the notion that we can continue eating as we do now while transforming our agricultural system into "ecological agriculture" is a fantasy. Let's be clear though, India before the green revolution was not a net food importer because of excessive meat consumption.

      October 1, 2013 at 12:37 pm | Reply
      • MDL

        We will have to continue to expand on U.S. land use for agriculture as long as the U.S. continues to allow more of the worlds population in.

        October 20, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
    • Jessika stringer

      There must've been women at this conference that knew what they were talking about?! Even the lay person understands the Gaia concept has had its day. This is a Medean world and we need to be smart, I agree with Dr. Fedoroff wholeheartedly,. the media need to start practicing responsible journalism and airing the voice of reason and stop promoting idealogues like Shiva and Goodall who know not of what they speak!

      October 1, 2013 at 3:51 pm | Reply
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