Jane Goodall's Chilling Message: 'We Have Stolen Our Children's Future'

"We haven't inherited this planet from our parents, we've borrowed it from our children."

19/06/2017 11:11 PM AEST | Updated 19/06/2017 11:12 PM AEST

When it comes to helping save the world, everyone has a role to play.

That is the message primatologist and conservationist Jane Goodall wants you to know when it comes to taking part in conserving the world's natural environments and wildlife.

Appearing on the ABC's Q&A on Monday night, Goodall, 83, said the power people currently have to "leave a better world for our children" comes down to making ethical decisions, regardless of your walk of life.

"You, as an individual, just have to remember that in your life, you matter, you have a role to play and that every single day you live, you make some impact and you get a choice as to what kind of impact you're going to make," she said.

"If everyone is making the right ethical choice, whatever religion they're part of, then we're going to have a much better world for you, as you grow up.

"We haven't inherited this planet from our parents, we've borrowed it from our children. We have not borrowed our children's future -- we have stolen it and we're still stealing it now, and it's time we get together, whatever our religion, whatever our culture, get together and start changing the way -- changing our attitude -- so that we can leave a better world for our children, whom we love."

Shadow Minister for Human Services, Linda Burney also chimed in on the discussion, saying "it's the humble acts, it's the small acts that bring about the great changes", including from the efforts of the everyday individual.

"I talk to thousands and thousands of young people, and often it's, 'oh look, I'm one person, what I do doesn't make a difference, the problems are so big, it's climate change, it's nuclear war, and I just don't think that what I do makes a difference'," she said.

"It's what individual people do, it's the humble acts, it's the small acts that bring about the great changes.

"We can be legislators, we can be leading lights and speaking on the media all the time, but the real change comes from what individual people do in their homes, in their families, in their schools, in the various groups that you're part of."

Goodall is famed for leaving England in 1960 at the age of 26 to travel to the African environment and live in close-quarters with chimpanzees in order to understand humankind's closest living relatives. Throughout 50 years of scientific work, she has redefined conservation and the environmental threats facing wildlife around the world.


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