Nature is sending us a message with the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing climate crisis, according to the UN’s environment chief, Inger Andersen. She said humanity was placing too many pressures on the natural world with damaging consequences, and warned that failing to take care of the planet meant not taking care of ourselves.
Aaron Bernstein, at the Harvard School of Public Health in the US, said the destruction of natural places drives wildlife to live close to people and that climate change was also forcing animals to move: “That creates an opportunity for pathogens to get into new hosts.”
“We’ve had Sars, Mers, Covid-19, HIV. We need to see what nature is trying to tell us here. We need to recognise that we’re playing with fire,” he said.
“The separation of health and environmental policy is a dangerous delusion. Our health entirely depends on the climate and the other organisms we share the planet with.”
Coronavirus: 'Nature is sending us a message’, says UN environment chief