The world’s leading biodiversity experts warn: A pandemic of the new coronavirus is likely to be followed by even more deadly and devastating outbreaks of disease, unless the cause of the fierce destruction of the natural world order is resolved.
“One species is responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic – we,” the scientists said, adding that “recent pandemics are a direct consequence of human activity, and in particular our global and economic systems, which are pursuing economic growth at all costs.”
“Rapid deforestation, uncontrolled expansion of agricultural land, intensive agriculture, development of mining and infrastructure, as well as the use of wild species have created excellent conditions for the spread of diseases,” the scientists explain.
These activities are causing pandemics, as humans increasingly come into contact with animals, which account for 70% of the diseases that humans suffer from. Urbanization, combined with increasing air traffic, has allowed the virus that afflicts Asian bats to cause “immeasurable human suffering and halt the world’s people and economy.” And man has laid his hands on this pandemic, so scientists fear that Covid-19 is just the beginning.
“Pandemics in the future are likely to be more frequent, more rapid, more severe in the economy and more people killed if people do not become particularly cautious about the choices they make today,” they say.
Scientists are also convinced that the trillions of dollars that governments allocate to stimulate the economy should actually be used to strengthen environmental protection. “It may be politically beneficial to relax environmental standards to support sectors such as intensive agriculture, airlines and areas that depend on fossil energy, but doing so without requiring urgent and fundamental change essentially means subsidizing the emergence of future pandemics,” warns environmental experts. .
Scientist Peter Dashak emphasizes that human health is closely linked to wildlife health, livestock health and environmental health. “It’s really one health,” he says, noting that surveillance programs and health services in countries at risk of pandemics should be properly subsidized. “This is not simple altruism, it is a vital contribution to everyone’s interests to prevent further global outbreaks,” says the scientist.
“The programs we’re talking about will cost tens of billions of dollars a year, but even if you get one trillion in a century that costs trillions, you’re also coming out with an incredibly good return on investment,” he explains, noting that everyone is waiting for will be ready for the vaccine, but this is not right, because it is important to fight the causes, not the consequences.
Inger Andersen, head of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), also said in a conversation with The Guardian in March that “nature hints at us”. She also said that not caring for the planet means not caring for yourself.
Biodiversity experts say in a statement now published: “We can emerge stronger and more resilient from the current crisis than ever before by taking action to protect nature so that nature can help protect us.”