Nature and Pandemics

April 4, 2020

Environmental and Conservation group Earth Island Institute gears up for a series of online environmental awareness campaigns in observance of the Earth Month 2020 amid the Corona Virus Disease 19 pandemic worldwide.

“There is a valuable lesson that Mother Nature is teaching us with this latest pandemic. We need to heed this lesson and start being environmentally conscious and live in a sustainable way” Earth Island Institute Campaign officer Mark Louie Aquino said in a press statement.

Humans started domesticating animals some 15,000 years ago and had since then learned to raise animals for food. In the advent of the industrial age, humans developed technology to raise massive amounts of animals at the shortest time using limited space. This intensive corporate factory farming has given rise to agricultural diseases such as Foot and Mouth Disease, Avian Influenza, African Swine Fever, which is now regularly occurring in farms. Statistics show that every year, humans consume billions of animals for food. About 135 million chickens are slaughtered every day and 4 million pigs that are butchered daily to feed the global population. Experts say that the regular outbreak of diseases is inevitable given the massive production and slaughter of food animals. This situation is made even worse with wild animal farming and consumption which has resulted in deadly viruses such as MERS and SARS that had infected humans.

The decades-long wildlife trade and consumption in China has brought about the occurrence of COVID 19 that infected almost 940,733 people across the globe. Epidemiologist suggests that the virus originated from bats and had jumped to pangolins before infecting humans. This, coming from a single wet market in China.

“After this Pandemic, we cannot go back to what we assumed to be our “normal life”. We should wholly change the system for us to survive and for the next generation to thrive”, Aquino added.

The group also calls on to the public, governments, and other institutions to seriously ban wildlife trade, address environmental destruction and the climate crisis. There is also a need to immediately shift all human production systems for the benefit of human welfare, animal welfare as well as the environment.

“This COVID19 Pandemic has taught us a hard lesson that we need to be mindful of our choices, consider a plant-based diet, lessen consumerism, and change our lifestyle. We must advocate and promote environmental conservation and the health of our people. Support sustainable food production such as traditional and organic agriculture and push for a genuine health system that primarily ensures the well-being of the people.” Aquino ended.

Statement by the Earth Island Institute Philippines