“Nature is sending us a message” in the coronavirus outbreak, the UN’s environment chief, Inger Andersen, told The Guardian last week.
According to Andersen, while the immediate priority is to protect people from coronavirus and prevent its spread, “our long-term response must tackle habitat and biodiversity loss.”
“Never before have so many opportunities existed for pathogens to pass from wild and domestic animals to people,” she said, adding that 75% of emerging infectious diseases come from wildlife.
“Our continued erosion of wild spaces has brought us uncomfortably close to animals and plants that harbor diseases that can jump to humans.”
Citing also other recent natural anomalies such as broken heat records, the Australian bushfires and the locust invasion in Kenya, Andersen concluded, ““At the end of the day, [with] all of these events, nature is sending us a message.”
“There are too many pressures at the same time on our natural systems and something has to give,” she added. “We are intimately interconnected with nature, whether we like it or not. If we don’t take care of nature, we can’t take care of ourselves. And as we hurtle towards a population of 10 billion people on this planet, we need to go into this future armed with nature as our strongest ally.”