With coronavirus and locust plague, ‘nature is sending us a message,’ says UN environment head

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Humanity is placing too many pressures on the natural world with damaging consequences, including the deadly COVID-19 and the yet unrealized fallout from accelerating man-made climate change, says Inger Andersen, executive director of the UN Environment Programme.

She told the Guardian on Wednesday that the immediate priority was to protect people from the coronavirus and prevent its spread. “But our long-term response must tackle habitat and biodiversity loss,” she added.

“Never before have so many opportunities existed for pathogens to pass from wild and domestic animals to people,” she told the paper, adding that 75% of all emerging infectious diseases come from wildlife.

“Our continued erosion of wild spaces has brought us uncomfortably close to animals and plants that harbor diseases that can jump to humans.”

Australian bushfires, shattered heat records and the worst locust invasion in Kenya for 70 years only help convince her of the emergency.

‘[With] all of these events, nature is sending us a message. There are too many pressures at the same time on our natural systems and something has to give… And as we hurtle towards a population of 10 billion people on this planet, we need to go into this future armed with nature as our strongest ally.’

— The UN’s Inger Andersen

The actor Idris Elba has suggested, somewhat fantastically, that perhaps the human race is “an infection” that Earth is trying to destroy before we destroy it. The 47-year-old British star revealed earlier this month he had tested positive for the COVID-19 virus but is recovering.

Still others track divine signals by earthly measures: ‘God help us all! The end is near!’ Mike Huckabee reacts to the closing of round-the-clock Waffle Houses around the country

Originally Published on MarketWatch

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