By Martin Banks - 23rd November 2010
People often ask me: What can I do?
UN peace messenger Jane Goodall told a meeting in parliament that human activity is "slowly destroying" the planet.
The famous primatologist also admitted to having a "heavy personal carbon footprint" herself.
"I travel 300 days a year on aircraft that spew C02 into the atmosphere so I am clearly contributing to the production of greenhouse gas emissions," she said.
She hoped, however, that increased environmental protection measures would help "absorb" her personal impact on the environment.
Goodall, considered to be the world's leading expert on chimpanzees, was in parliament in Brussels to address an audience of 340 schoolchildren and teachers from 10 different schools in and around Brussels.
The Briton, who was appointed to her peace messenger post by former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, was speaking ahead of the upcoming conference on climate change in Cancún, Mexico.
Speaking on Monday, she said, "The message I want to convey today is that one of the most important things we can do to slow down climate change, and one of the most economically effective, is to protect tropical rainforests. As we cut down the forests, we release CO2, and then burning releases more, the forest itself is sequestering CO2."
She said another message was the need to address intensive animal farming.
"Vast areas of forests are cut down to provide places to grow grain, more and more people eat more and more meat, they want cheap meat. The animals are fed unnatural diets so they produce huge amounts of methane gas which is a big contributor to the greenhouse effect.
"Cruelty aside, this intensive farming is incredibly damaging to the environment and to human health."
Goodall, who was in Brussels to promote here global youth movement called "Roots & Shoots," said, "People often ask me: "What can I do?"
"The problems are so huge in the world that people feel helpless, and when you feel helpless you just don't do anything. Everyone leaves it to the scientists and the politicians, as it is their problem, not mine".
"But I always say just spend a few minutes every day thinking about the consequences of the choices you make - what you buy, what you eat, what you wear, how you get from A to B".
"Some people cannot afford to make the right choice but there are millions of people who can, and everyone can make some of the right choices."