Primatologist Jane Goodall called Friday for bold action next month at high-stakes United Nations climate change talks.
The 81-year-old British chimpanzee expert said she has her "fingers crossed" heading into the summit in Paris, which will seek a comprehensive deal on curbing carbon emissions warming the planet.
"It will be the fourth of these climate events that I've been to and it's a bit desperate right now," said Goodall, a leading environmentalist and scientist who rose to fame during more than five decades studying chimpanzees in Tanzania.
"But I do think more people, more countries, are beginning to understand that first of all, yes, the climate is warming up," she told AFP in an interview.
"I'm hoping the amount of fears of what's going to happen in the different countries will persuade people to come out more strongly and sign some agreements that are really binding."
Goodall was speaking in Colombia at the release here of a documentary featuring her and zoologist Roger Payne, the American scientist who introduced the world to the calls of humpback whales.
The film, "Jane & Payne," by Argentine director Boy Olmi, traces the two octogenarians' research and activism on land and at sea across the decades.
"I am always skeptical about the ability of politicians to be brave," Payne said of the upcoming summit.
"Life on Earth depends on them being brave. And if they are their usual cowardly selves, my feeling is then there's no hope at all."
Goodall said meaningful climate action will ultimately have to "come from the bottom up and not just the top down."
"Every single person on the planet makes a difference every single day," she said, urging people to think about "what we buy, what we wear, where it came from, how it got here."
But individual action will not be enough, she added.
"We have to start pressuring some of the big corporations that are causing so much harm," she said.
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