The COVID-19 epidemic sweeping the globe is entirely our fault. That is the statement from contagious diseases and environmental health specialists and those working in planetary health – a rapidly growing discipline that connects human health, civilization, and the natural systems upon which they rely.
While they may appear unconnected, the COVID-19 situation and the climate and biodiversity crises are inextricably linked.
Each stems from our seeming refusal to acknowledge the interconnectedness of humans, other species of animals, and the natural world as a whole.
In context, the great majority (three out of every four) of new serious diseases in humans are caused by animals — both wildlife and the ever-increasing quantities of cattle we raise.
To properly respond to COVID-19 and other emerging infectious illnesses that we will almost certainly experience in the future, officials must recognize and act with “planetary consciousness.” It entails having a holistic view of public health, which encompasses the natural environment’s health.
The Barriers Between Health And Life Sciences Have Also Crumbled.
He said that the epidemic highlighted chances to expedite the link between research and treatment development. “Right now, there are tremendous opportunities in the research and life sciences fields,” Shrestha says.
“How can we accelerate the pace of bench-side work and deliver it to the bedside much more quickly, safely, and effectively?”
However, climate change is wreaking havoc on human health globally in other ways. It acts as a risk multiplier, increasing our susceptibility to various health problems.
Earlier this year, the world was focused on the widespread, life-threatening bushfires and the following veil of smoke pollution. This exposed almost half of Australia’s population to health risks over many weeks and resulted in the death of over 400 individuals.
Air pollution adds additional risk factors to viral illnesses such as COVID-19. As with SARS, this new virus causes respiratory sickness, and exposure to air pollution exacerbates our risk.
Air pollution particles also serve as carriers for diseases, aiding in transmitting viruses and infectious illnesses across long distances.
It should be self-evident to readers here that human health is contingent upon healthy ecosystems.
However, this is rarely considered when making policy choices on initiatives that harm natural ecosystems, such as land clearance, significant energy or transportation infrastructure projects, or industrial-scale farming.
The present COVID-19 outbreak is another cautionary tale about the dangers of disregarding these links.
To stop the spread of new infections and future pandemics, we must stop exploiting and degrading the natural world and drastically reduce carbon emissions.
Appropriate pandemic control requires mobilizing human and financial resources to offer health care to patients and prevent human-to-human transmission.
However, it is critical that we also invest in addressing the underlying causes of the crisis by conserving biodiversity and stabilizing the climate. It will aid in preventing disease transmission from animals to people in the first place.
COVID-19’s health, environmental, and economic repercussions should serve as a wake-up call for all authorities to assess the situation, carefully weigh the facts, and guarantee that post-COVID-19 solutions reverse our assault on nature.
Because, as pioneering ecologist Rachel Carson warned in the twentieth century, a war on nature is ultimately a fight against humanity.
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