We must act decisively to protect our planet from both the coronavirus and the existential threat of climate disruption- UN Secretary-General António Guterres
When Mother Earth sends us a message
Mother Earth is clearly urging a call to action. Nature is suffering. Oceans filling with plastic and turning more acidic. Extreme heat, wildfires and floods, as well as a record-breaking Atlantic hurricane season, have affected millions of people. Now we face COVID-19, a worldwide health pandemic link to the health of our ecosystem.
Climate change, man-made changes to nature as well as crimes that disrupt biodiversity, such as deforestation, land-use change, intensified agriculture and livestock production or the growing illegal wildlife trade, can increase contact and the transmission of infectious diseases from animals to humans (zoonotic diseases) like COVID-19.
From one new infection disease that emerges in humans every 4 months, 75% of these emerging diseases come from animals, according to UN Environment. This shows the close relationships between human, animal and environmental health.
Ecosystems support all life on Earth. The healthier our ecosystems are, the healthier the planet – and its people. Restoring our damaged ecosystems will help to end poverty, combat climate change and prevent mass extinction. The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, which will officially launch with World Environment Day 2021 (5 June), will help us stop, halt, and reverse the degradation of ecosystems on every continent and every ocean. But we will only succeed if everyone plays a part.
Let’s remind more than ever in this International Mother Earth Day that we need a shift to a more sustainable economy that works for both people and the planet. Let’s promote harmony with nature and the Earth. Join the global movement to restore our world!
The importance of biodiversity for humans
Coronavirus outbreak poses huge public health and global economy at risk, but biological diversity as well. However, biodiversity can be part of the solution since this diversity of species would make difficult to pathogens to spread rapidly.
There is growing concern about the health consequences of biodiversity loss and change. Biodiversity changes affect ecosystem functioning and significant disruptions of ecosystems can result in life sustaining ecosystem goods and services. Specific linkages between health and biodiversity include impact in nutrition, health research or traditional medicine, new infectious diseases and influencing shifts in the distribution of plants, pathogens, animals, and even human settlements, most of them affected by climate change.
Despite ongoing efforts, biodiversity is deteriorating worldwide at rates unprecedented in human history. It is estimated that around one million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction.
With this big picture, and the coronavirus scenario, our immediate priority is to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but in long-term, it is important to tackle habitat and biodiversity loss.
We are in this fight together with our Mother Earth.
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