The UK will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow on October 31 to November 12, 2021, and it was announced a few days ago that Dr. Jane Goodall, 2020 Tang Prize laureate in Sustainable Development, would be the COP26 Advocate. She is expected to talk about the conservation of forests and biodiversity and other related issues as well as nature-based solutions in the conference.
A world renowned primatologist, Dr. Goodall has devoted more than six decades to the study of chimpanzees. Apart from her groundbreaking discoveries about chimpanzees’ individual and group behaviors, she is also known for persistently warning the world about the dangers of causing irreparable harm to nature and to animals. She has repeatedly pointed out that climate change is one of the key reasons behind the disappearance of biodiversity and emphasized that we should try to wean ourselves off an unsustainable lifestyle in order to save more species from extinction. Thus, she encourages us to be careful about the choices we make every day. For example, when we go shopping in a supermarket, we should think about whether the production of the food we buy has entailed damages to the environment, abuse of animals, or unfair treatment of laborers. Granted, it may mean we have to spend more on what we purchase, but it also means we will cherish them more, and will be less likely to waste valuable resources.
As the COP26 Advocate, Dr. Goodall made a short video telling us that she has seen the ice melting in Greenland, forests destroyed, sea levels rise, and even the terrible effects of recent storms, flooding, droughts and wildfires. All these catastrophes stemmed from our disrespect of nature and led to many serious crises such as climate change and biodiversity loss. Noting that we have come to a turning point in our relationship with the natural world, she called on world leaders to take urgent action before it is too late.
COP26 is seen as the most important international conference on climate change after the signing of the Paris Agreement. As the COVID-19 pandemic is gradually brought under control in many parts of the world, life is slowly returning to normal, and many economies have reopened, there is a lesson to be learned from the global impact of this pandemic, a lesson that alerts us to the importance of acting early. Therefore, we have to take an active role in the battle against climate change so that another global disaster can be prevented.