One speaker who everyone was itching to see at Travel DAZE 2020 was Dr Jane Goodall, and she sure didn’t disappoint.
The world-renowned ethologist, conservationist and UN Messenger of Peace delivered a very insightful and inspiring session on Friday, with G Adventures founder Bruce Poon Tip directing proceedings as the interviewer and asking all the important questions.
Goodall urged Travel DAZE attendees to think about a new kind of relationship with the natural world and with animals, and work together to find “a new and more sustainable, green economy”.
“What people need to realise is that it’s our absolute disrespect of animals and our disrespect of the natural world that’s led to, first of all, this pandemic, but also climate change,” she explained.
“And, as we destroy habitats, we force some animals into closer contact with humans, we invade their habitats with roads, we hunt them, kill them, eat them, traffic them, sell them in wildlife markets in Asia [and] bush meat markets in Africa and, we well them as exotic pets – a growing trade around the world where breeding animals that we eat in these factory farms.
“All of these situations create a wonderful environment that enables a virus or a bacteria to jump from an animal to a person when it may bond with a cell and lead to a new disease like COVID-19.
“And, as we have this crazy idea that there could be unlimited economic development on a planet with finite natural resources, we are seeing in some cases the environment suffering, we are seeing the terrible effects of climate change … and when people say they don’t believe in climate change, well they must be blind or deaf or something, because the effects of climate change are so very obvious.”
Goodall acknowledged the positive impacts tourism has on the world, such as bringing foreign exchange into governments and alleviating poverty in countries by providing jobs to locals.
However, she noted that while travel companies were putting in a great deal of effort training locals to become tour guides, some go much closer to the wildlife than they should in order to earn bigger tips from tourists.
“And this is where the travel industry comes in, because it’s the travel industry that needs to inform the travellers as to how they should behave, and to disturb the wildlife – like taking selfies with dolphins and monkeys – is just really shocking.
“So, there’s a lot of things that could be really helped if the tourists were better educated, and that means tour companies should educate them.
“Some of the [tour companies] really care, and they’re usually at the high end of tourism, and then there’s the bottom end where there’s these much cheaper packaged tours, and they usually don’t really educate their people at all.”
“It depends what sort of tour you’re going on, it depends how many people are on the tour, it depends how old they are.
“But, the main thing is to educate people so that they behave in a respectful way – that’s what we lack. We lack respect for the natural world, we lack respect for animals and, tragically, we so often lack respect for other people, and that’s one of the big problems in the world today.
“We just need to get more ethical tourism.”
You can watch Goodall’s brilliant Travel DAZE session with Poon Tip in full, on demand HERE.