Coronavirus Shows We Must Change How We Treat The Planet And Animals

'The health of people and the health of the planet are one and the same'
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An expert says we need a 'a long-term cleaner and greener change' (Photo: Adobe. do not use without permission)

An expert says we need a 'a long-term cleaner and greener change' (Photo: Adobe. do not use without permission)

Air quality in cities has improved as a result of the coronavirus lockdown, but it's a temporary glimpse of how things could be rather than a cause to celebrate.

Head of the UN Environment Program (UNEP), Inger Anderson says the current drop in greenhouse gas emissions is the result of a tragic economic slowdown and human distress. 

What we need, Anderson says, is a long-term cleaner and greener change to our production and consumption habits – a profound shift to a sustainable economy that works for the planet as well as the people who inhabit it. 

Coronavirus links to wild animals

Anderson says we need to understand where this pandemic came from, as the health of the planet plays a crucial role.

"As we continue to encroach on fragile ecological ecosystems, we bring humans into ever-greater contact with wildlife. Further, illegal wildlife trade and illegal wet markets are not infrequent causes of such diseases. Around 75 per cent of new and infectious diseases are zoonotic and, in fact, about 1 billion cases of illness and millions of deaths occur every year from these diseases."

Human activity, such as the expansion of animal agriculture, has changed three-quarters of the planet’s surface, squeezing wildlife into ever-smaller corners. 

'The health of people and the health of the planet are one and the same' (Image: UN Environment Program)

'The health of people and the health of the planet are one and the same' (Image: UN Environment Program)

'Deforestation and the fourth most common crime

We need to stop deforestation and tackle the illegal wildlife trade, the fourth most common crime committed worldwide. 

Nature is critical to our own survival: it provides us with oxygen, regulates weather patterns, pollinates crops and produces food. 

Anderson says that 'keeping nature rich, diverse and flourishing is part and parcel of our life’s support system'.

One planet, one health

A different economy must emerge, says Anderson, 'because the health of people and the health of the planet are one and the same'. 

Find the answers to all your questions about coronavirus here and the links between zoonotic diseases and factory farming explained here 

This article was originally published by Viva!

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