According to the United States Agency for International Development, about 75% of all emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic – meaning they come from animals. These include, among others, SARS, H5N1 avian flu, and the H1N1 influenza virus. An increasing number of animal carriers of diseases are changing their behaviour and migrating to new areas due to climate change and habitat loss.
This, coupled with our search for alternative sources of food to meet our needs, increases the chances that humans will come into contact with animal carriers and become infected. Human intervention in the environment, like the massive deforestation of the Amazon, not only causes a decrease in biodiversity but also forces many wild animals to find new habitats, driving them closer to populated areas and into close contact with humans. Large areas of intact natural habitats act as natural barriers that separate humans and wild animals and keep them safe from one another. Species variation decreases the number of highly-susceptible populations in a species, which lowers the probability of transfer to humans.
We invade tropical forests and other wild landscapes, which harbor so many species of animals and plants — and within those creatures, so many unknown viruses. We cut the trees; we kill the animals or cage them and send them to markets. We disrupt ecosystems, and we shake viruses loose from their natural hosts. When that happens, they need a new host. Often, we are it.
We have a chance to build the world that we want to see in the wake of this disaster. Enforced physical distancing is making us realise self-sacrifice for the greater good. Even though this crisis is physically pushing some of us further apart, we are seeing community bonds tightening, as people do what is necessary in this health crisis.
There is a risk that any actions that governments have taken to promote a green transition may be undermined by the global financial crisis resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Governments need to take radical actions to build the world we want to see once this is over. If the lesson learned is, let’s get back to the status quo ante, then the virus will probably slow down the energy transition. If the lesson learned is you have to take the physical world and its risks seriously, it could make governments more likely to move fast-especially since interest rates in much of the world are now effectively zero. (source: greenpeace.org)
We can all do our part simply buying our everyday necessities: choose renewable energy, walk more and use public transport, choose vegan or vegetarian organic local food, ditch single use plastics.
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