Is there a link between biodiversity loss, wildlife-trade and Covid-19?Posted on 18.03.2020
As the Covid-19 pandemic continues its spread we find ourselves in a deeply distressing and challenging time, reflecting on our vulnerability with a keen awareness of our impact on each other, and our wider environment.
Today’s (Wed 18th March 2020) article in the Guardian, featuring and written by Invisible Dust advisors Kate Jones and John Vidal respectively, argues that as habitat and biodiversity loss increase globally, the coronavirus outbreak may be just the beginning of mass pandemics.
In an excerpt: Kate Jones, who is Chair of ecology and biodiversity at UCL, calls emerging animal-borne infectious diseases an “increasing and very significant threat to global health, security and economies”. In 2008, Jones and a team of researchers identified 335 diseases that emerged between 1960 and 2004, at least 60% of which came from animals.
Increasingly, says Jones, these ‘zoonotic’ diseases are linked to environmental change and human behaviour. The disruption of pristine forests driven by logging, mining, road building through remote places, rapid urbanisation and population growth is bringing people into closer contact with animal species they may never have been near before, she says.
The resulting transmission of disease from wildlife to humans, she says, is now “a hidden cost of human economic development. There are just so many more of us, in every environment. We are going into largely undisturbed places and being exposed more and more. We are creating habitats where viruses are transmitted more easily, and then we are surprised that we have new ones.”
2020 is billed as Invisible Dust’s year of Biodiversity; with a series of exciting programmes in York and Coventry due to be announced later in the Spring. Whilst Invisible Dust moves all work remotely, we will begin to formulate plans for future delivery as the situation unfolds, and will be in touch with you all soon with further updates.
Now more than ever is the time to move from human impacts, to human pacts. By working together in the face of this enormous challenge we can enter a new social contract, enabling support for all, renewed hope and systemic transformation.
In the meantime, please do stay safe, at home and in solidarity – from everyone at Invisible Dust.