Let’s start with a big and bold fact that will rightly shock you about life on land. Since the year 2000, the world has lost over 100 million hectares of forest (net). The UK is about 13 million hectares in size, so imagine that a forest 7.5 times the size of the UK has been felled in just 20 years. That’s completely insane.
Here’s another fact that relates to life on land: diseases regularly pass from animals to humans – such as Covid-19. In the future, we can only expect to see more zoonoses (animal-to-human diseases) as we intentionally destroy habitats and get closer to animals. More human-animal interaction, more diversification of diseases, and more unsustainable farming (and subsequent meat-eating) all encourage pathogens to spread between humans and their livestock.
In light of Covid-19, the world has been given a new perspective and the opportunity to build back better, with more sustainable measures put in place. Governments, people, and businesses must take the natural environment more seriously to create a more beautiful and resilient future that offers mutual respect for public and environmental health.
Unchecked environmental destruction will invite more zoonosis, which means policymakers need to be educated about the threats that the environment brings. Biological diversity is something best understood and explained by the experts, but unless governments take biosafety and biosecurity more seriously and regulate our relationship with nature, we will struggle to detect and prevent future threats.