Biodiversity & Your Health
Strategic Area: Species
Content Type: Blog
Biodiversity can keep us healthy – if we let it.
Humans and nature are part of one connected system. We rely on nature and biodiversity for the air we breathe, the water we drink, traditional and modern medicines, and so much more. We rely on nature to keep us healthy.
As habitat and biodiversity loss increase globally, our health is put at risk. We lose things like clean air and water and many other benefits that allow people to thrive. Additionally, we create conditions for new viruses and diseases such as COVID-19.
The World Health Organization reports that a bat is the likely source of the coronavirus COVID-19, which has infected more than 1 million people worldwide and placed a strain on the global economy.
Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. But the problem is not the animals. It’s us.
Wild animals have always had viruses coursing through their bodies. Research has found that the wildlife trade and destruction of habitat has brought wild animals into closer contact with humans and domesticated animals. When this happens, diseases like COVID-19 have the opportunity to pass from animal populations to humans.
Biodiversity can restrain pathogens that cause diseases before they leave the wild – if we let it.
In a 2015 United Nations state of knowledge review of biodiversity and human health, scientists wrote that an ecological approach to disease will provide a greater understanding of disease-related outcomes. Recent research has given more support to the idea that biodiversity protection in one part of the world can prevent diseases from emerging and spreading in another.
To help prevent coronaviruses and other diseases from emerging, we need to combat threats to habitat and wildlife including deforestation, wildlife trade, and, increasingly, climate change.
Biodiversity is important for human health, and the health of our planet.
Join Nature and Culture International in protecting biodiversity – and our health – today.