June 18, 2020 "Information
Clearing House" - Leaders from three
international organizations — the United Nations, the
World Health Organization and World Wildlife
Fund International — teamed up to issue a stark warning
that pandemics like COVID-19 are a direct result of the
destruction of nature caused by humans, The Guardian
The top figures from each organization argued that
the illegal and unsustainable wildlife trade, as well as
the devastation of forests and other wild places, were
still the driving forces behind the increasing number of
diseases leaping from wildlife to humans.
“We have seen many diseases emerge over the years,
such as Zika, Aids, Sars, and Ebola and they all
originated from animal populations under conditions of
severe environmental pressures,” the head of the U.N.
convention on biological diversity Elizabeth Maruma
Mrema; WHO director for environment and health Maria
Neira; and the head of WWF International Marco
With COVID-19, “these outbreaks are manifestations of
our dangerously unbalanced relationship with nature."
“We must embrace a just, healthy, and green
recovery and kickstart a wider transformation
towards a model that values nature as the foundation
for a healthy society. Not doing so, and instead
attempting to save money by neglecting environmental
protection, health systems, and social safety
nets has already proven to be a false economy. The
bill will be paid many times over,” they warned.
High-level figures have been issuing a series of
warnings since March, with the world’s leading
biodiversity experts saying even more deadly disease
outbreaks are likely in the future unless the rampant
destruction of the natural world is rapidly halted.
Earlier in June, the U.N. environment chief and a
leading economist had also warned that COVID-19 was an
“SOS signal for the human enterprise” and that current
economic thinking did not recognise that human wealth
depends on nature’s health.
Meanwhile, a WWF report, also published on Wednesday,
warns that “the risk of a new [wildlife-to-human]
disease emerging in the future is higher than ever, with
the potential to wreak havoc on health, economies and
"There is no debate, and the science is clear; we
must work with nature, not against it. Unsustainable
exploitation of nature has become an enormous risk to us
all," said the head of WWF International, in a press
release that accompanied the new report.
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