LivingCaring for the planet to avoid another pandemic

Caring for the planet to avoid another pandemic

There is a clear relationship between the health of the planet and our well-being , says the Conservation coordinator of the environmental organization WWF Spain, Luis Suárez. And it is that multiple studies show how the destruction of nature increases the risk of the appearance of diseases, in the case of the recent pandemic generated by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

For there to be a balance between the whole series of animals, plants, viruses, bacteria and other living beings that are part of an ecosystem, it is necessary that the habitats are well preserved and in balance. In these circumstances, viruses are distributed among species and do not affect humans. “We see them as harmful agents, but in reality they are part of biodiversity,” explains Suárez.

The moment nature is altered or destroyed, ecosystems are weakened and the spread of potentially pathogenic agents is facilitated. The main causes that promote the loss of biodiversity on our planet are deforestation, species trafficking, intensive agricultural and livestock exploitation and climate change, according to WWF.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has detected more than two hundred zoonotic diseases , that is, that are transferred from animal species to humans. In addition, the international body points out that 70% of human ailments have precisely this origin.

Climate change, therefore, plays a double role in the processes related to the development of diseases: it directly impacts people’s health and amplifies the main threats that affect biodiversity, which favors the spread of viruses or bacteria. .

Last November 2020, the medical journal The Lancet published the Lancet Countdown report, which indicated that half of the world’s population is in danger of suffering from dengue, a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes . And the reason for this “faster” spread is none other than climate change.

As the WHO indicates, climate is considered “an integral part of the functioning of ecosystems”. The organism explains that human health is affected directly and indirectly by the conditions existing in natural terrestrial and marine environments.

On the other hand, global warming not only releases gases into the atmosphere by melting the icy masses of the planet, but also viruses of different types that have remained frozen for centuries in the permafrost can see the light. “The melting of a Chinese glacier could release 33 species, 28 of them unknown to science and with infectious potential in humans,” warns Suárez.

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