The COVID-19 pandemic is a huge opportunity for the environment

We have an opportunity to come out of the pandemic with a new approach to protecting the environment, says environmental scientist Tim Jarvis.

Why This Matters: The pandemic has provided an opportunity to change the “normal”.

In many ways, the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed our fraught relationship with the environment.

Changes due to climate change, wanton destruction of the natural world, and exploitation of species world have brought wildlife into contact with people. According to the head of the United Nations Environment ProgrammeInger Andersen, “Our continued erosion of wild spaces has brought us uncomfortably close to animals and plants that harbour diseases that can jump to humans.” It’s likely we’ll see more ‘zoonotic’ disease outbreaks occurring.

Regardless of the cause, the COVID-19 pandemic is now our reality and, in addition to the deaths directly attributed to it, has caused misery and hardship to large numbers of people – that is itself unsustainable.

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