Are more Epidemics likely to occur in the future?

International Nov 14, 2020

The world is changing and we are the eye witness. We stood there facing the wrath of floods and famines, earthquakes and avalanches, non-seasonal rains and super hot summers.

We are very well aware of the consequences of the deeds of mankind on the Earth. Rather than being grateful for our gifts, we have been engrossed in exploiting the provider.

What is a pandemic report?

IPBES is an intergovernmental organization established to improve the interface between science and policy on biodiversity and ecosystem services issues. It released a recent disturbing report.

In a report released by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem (IPBES) on 6th November 2020, they tried to warn the world about the rapid change in ecosystem. It is predicted that more epidemics may occur in future and they  will be more fatal than COVID-19.

Reasons why pandemics are getting severe

Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world now likely. We know how every entity in the world is interdependent on each other for survival.

With the decline in one type of species we have imbalanced the scales. Sir Robert Watson, IPBES Chair said “The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.”

Understanding pandemic

Other important facts to consider while looking at the report are:

·   The report states that COVID-19 is around the 6th pandemic to have happened post last century since the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918. The main causes of recent global diseases were caused by mutation of influenza, which includes HIV, SARS etc.

·   Over 1.7 million currently 'undiscovered' viruses are present in mammals and birds, out of which up to 827,000 could have the ability to infect people.

·   More than 70% of emerging diseases, such as Ebola, Zika, and Nipah, are results of contact between human and wildlife.

·   About 30% of emerging infectious diseases are outcomes of land-use change, agricultural expansion and urbanization.

Conclusion

The Report also emphasizes that it is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level from local to global. Through ‘transformative change’, nature can still be conserved, restored and used sustainably.

Transformative Change is a philosophical, practical and strategic process to effect revolutionary change which will help us to also achieve other ecological goals like saving wildlife, afforestation etc.

It is time to save nature so that nature can save us!

This article has been written by Amritsawan Bhanja for The Paradigm

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