With COVID-19 outbreak, nature is sending us a message about the ongoing climate crisis.
Human behavior has caused dangerous diseases to spill over into humans.
Global heating and the destruction of the natural world drive wildlife into contact with people.
Australian bushfires broke heat records and Kenya witnessed the worst locust invasion for 70 years.
A rise in Ebola, bird flu, MERS, Rift Valley fever, SARS, West Nile virus and Zika virus.
All these human infectious disease outbreaks cross from animals to humans.
Cause higher fatality rates in people, such as 50% for Ebola and 60%-75% for the Nipah virus.
The Covid-19 crisis may provide an opportunity for change with banning wildlife markets.
According to an article published in The Guardian, nature is sending us a message with the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing climate crisis, according to the UN’s environment chief, Inger Andersen.
Pressure on the natural world
Andersen said humanity was placing too many pressures on the natural world with damaging consequences and warned that failing to take care of the planet meant not taking care of ourselves.
Leading scientists also said the Covid-19 outbreak was a “clear warning shot”, given that far more deadly diseases existed in wildlife, and that today’s civilization was “playing with fire”. They said it was almost always human behavior that caused diseases to spill over into humans.
The world takes a break
To prevent further outbreaks, the experts said, both global heating and the destruction of the natural world for farming, mining and housing have to end, as both drive wildlife into contact with people.
They also urged authorities to put an end to live animal markets – which they called an “ideal mixing bowl” for disease – and the illegal global animal trade.
Andersen, executive director of the UN Environment Programme, said the immediate priority was to protect people from the coronavirus and prevent its spread. “But our long-term response must tackle habitat and biodiversity loss,” she added.
“Never before have so many opportunities existed for pathogens to pass from wild and domestic animals to people,” she told the Guardian, explaining that 75% of all emerging infectious diseases come from wildlife.
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