Scientists warn worse pandemics are on the way if we don’t protect nature

  • Pandemics like COVID-19 could occur more frequently unless we stop rapidly destroying nature, a group of biodiversity experts has warned.
  • 1.7 million unidentified viruses, known to infect humans, are estimated to exist in mammals and water birds.
  • Rampant deforestation, agricultural expansion and infrastructure development bring us closer to catching them.

A group of biodiversity experts warned that future pandemics are on the horizon if mankind does not stop its rapid destruction of nature.

Writing an article published Monday by The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the authors put the responsibility for COVID-19 squarely on our shoulders.

“There is a single species that is responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic – us. As with the climate and biodiversity crises, recent pandemics are a direct consequence of human activity – particularly our global financial and economic systems, based on a limited paradigm that prizes economic growth at any cost. We have a small window of opportunity, in overcoming the challenges of the current crisis, to avoid sowing the seeds of future ones,” the authors wrote on IPBES.

The authors of the report include the three co-chairs of the comprehensive 2019 IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, which found that one million species of plants and animals are at risk of extinction within decades. The fourth author, Peter Daszak, is the president of EcoHealth Alliance and is tasked with spearheading the IPBES’ next global assessment, as The Guardian reported.

The authors argue that government stimulus plans need to include sustainable and nature-positive initiatives.

“It may be politically expedient at this time to relax environmental standards and to prop up industries such as intensive agriculture, long-distance transportation such as the airlines, and fossil-fuel-dependent energy sectors, but doing so without requiring urgent and fundamental change, essentially subsidizes the emergence of future pandemics,” the authors wrote.

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Πηγή: weforum.org

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