One of the most eminent conservationists in the world has condemned Australia for its lack of response to climate change and said the country ''needs a wake-up call''.
Dame Jane Goodall, regarded as the first lady of conservation and a UN Messenger of Peace who has made a lifetime study of chimpanzees, accused politicians of having more concern for their immediate political careers than for future generations.
Jane Goodall: 'Australians need a wake up call'
The conservationist tells Tim Barlass that many Australians aren't aware just how many species are in danger of extinction here and urges politicians to think about Climate Change as an issue beyond the next election.
''I think my message to the politicians who have within their power the ability to make change is, 'Do you really, really not care about the future of your great-grandchildren? Because if we let the world continue to be destroyed the way we are now, what's the world going to be like for your great-grandchildren?'
''I am not deeply involved in Australian politics but I know there are prime ministers, governments around the world who are not acting responsibly in relation to climate change.''
She said there was a wisdom in the old days when decisions were based on how they would affect future generations.
''Now it is how will this affect me at the next election campaign or the next shareholders' meeting.
''It's when money becomes a god that we see this loss of wisdom.''
Dr Goodall spoke at Taronga Zoo to 300 young people on Friday and addressed a sell-out audience on Saturday night at Sydney Town Hall. She is on a lecture tour raising awareness of her Roots & Shoots program encouraging the world's youth to take community action to help save the planet.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has downplayed the role of climate change in relation to droughts and bushfires.
But the Climate Commission, which the government abolished, reported in February that heatwaves were becoming more frequent and intense and lasting longer.
''Unfortunately, everything I read about Australia and its record in caring for the environment is not particularly good right now,'' Dr Goodall said. ''I know that a lot of animal species are facing extinction particularly the mammals.''.
''I think Australians need a wake-up call because if action isn't taken, and taken soon, then these creatures will be gone and they will be gone forever. Not enough people are aware of the number of animals that are endangered right now right across Australia.''
Roots & Shoots operates in 136 countries with 150,000 groups and encourages young people to get involved with projects that help people, animals and the environment.
At 80, Dr Goodall added: ''I can't slow down while I know that the message I deliver around the world is having an impact and so I just have to go on because I do care about my great-great-grandchildren.''
Find out more about Roots & Shoots at janegoodall.org.au.