Half of the world’s land has been degraded by man’s exploitation: an unsustainable percentage that keeps rising. One unintended consequence is the increasing unleashing of infectious disease.
“Outbreaks of emerging zoonotic infectious diseases appear to be increasingly common,” observes British environmentalist David Redding.
Bats, rodents, and birds provide most of the viruses that vex us. Covid-19 originated in bats, which a common vector for the emergence of human zoonotic disease. The covid pandemic was created via global air travel, which is another environmentally unsustainable luxury.
Known wildlife hosts of human-shared pathogens and parasites become more abundant – by up to 144% – in places where people dwell. “The effect is strongest for rodent, bat and passerine bird zoonotic host species,” notes British zoologist Kate Jones. “Animals that remain in more human-dominated environments are those that are more likely to carry infectious diseases that can make people sick,” adds British Rory ecologist Gibb.
Covid-19 is a warning shot against the further rape of Nature that is being ignored. Greed has blinded mankind so badly that this hapless species is rushing pell-mell towards its own extinction, unaware of natural cause and effect.
Rory Gibb et al, “Zoonotic host diversity increases in human-dominated ecosystems,” Nature (6 August 2020). Not incidentally, the Nature publishing group has no environmental awareness. Subscribers to Nature magazine must receive printed copies, even if they don’t want them (such as this author, who saves paper by working entirely electronically).
“Land use changes may increase disease outbreak risks,” ScienceDaily (5 August 2020).