How Environmental Degradation May Cause More Pandemics Like COVID19
The coronavirus (COVID-19) is on track to cause more economic damage than the financial crisis in 2008 and possibly cause more fatalities than 9/11.
The COVID-19 is believed to have originated from bats and is highly infectious since we humans do not have immunity to it. Accordingly, the virus is overwhelming medical systems around the world and forcing entire nations to hit the pause button to give their medical communities time to build the necessary capacity and testing to manage the spread of the virus.
Businesses are closed. Weddings, funerals, and graduations are canceled. And our practice of social distancing seems to have no end in sight.
The last time a disease brought the world to a halt was over 100 years ago with the Spanish Flu in 1918. However, ecology and biodiversity experts are saying that COVID-19 may just be the tip of the iceberg and infectious diseases like the coronavirus pose an increasing and significant threat to global security.
A number of researchers believe that environmental degradation creates the conditions for new viruses and zoonotic diseases (originating in animals) such as the novel coronavirus.
David Quammen, author of Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Pandemic, wrote in the New York Times...
"[Human caused] ecological disturbances is increasing viral exchanges — first from animal to human, then from human to human, sometimes on a pandemic scale. We invade tropical forests and other wild landscapes, which harbor so many species of animals and plants — and within those creatures, so many unknown viruses.
We cut the trees; we kill the animals or cage them and send them to markets. We disrupt ecosystems, and we shake viruses loose from their natural hosts. When that happens, they need a new host. Often, we are it."
Andrew Cunningham, Professor of Wildlife Epidemiology at the Zoological Society of London has noted in an interview with CNN:
"The underlying causes of zoonotic spillover from bats or from other wild species have almost always -- always -- been shown to be human behavior -- human activities are causing this virus.
"When a bat is stressed -- by being hunted, or having its habitat damaged by deforestation -- its immune system is challenged and finds it harder to cope with pathogens it otherwise took in its stride. "We believe that the impact of stress on bats would be very much as it would be on people.”
"It would allow infections to increase and to be excreted -- to be shed. You can think of it like if people are stressed and have the cold sore virus, they will get a cold sore. That is the virus being 'expressed.' This can happen in bats too."
The ultimate lesson from COVID-19 is that even though human beings seem to be detached from the harsh realities of nature with our sprawling cities and access to the internet -- we simply are not. Our economy rests on the back of unsustainable supply chains and powered by toxic fossil fuels. The damage we do to the planet will come back to haunt us.
At Salvos we are committed to offering a wide range of products that have passed scientific certifications or proven sustainability use cases so that you can reduce your impact on the environment. As a company, we fundamentally believe that our economy must be sustainable in order for the modern economy and civilization to survive.