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World Environment Day: COVID-19 crisis demands fundamental overhaul |

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In the context of bush fires in Brazil, the United States and Australia; locust infestations across East Africa; and a global pandemic, the theme of this year’s commemoration, biodiversity, highlights the interdependence of humans and the life networks in which they exist.

The pandemic has allowed us to observe what scientists around the world have been saying for years: the interdependence between humanity and biodiversity is so deep that the latest vulnerabilities are ours, said Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in his message of the day.

During the past year, the environmental crisis has been revealed in a spectacular and disturbing way.

As wildfires ravaged tropical rainforests as if they were arid savannahs, dramatically highlighting the effects of climate change, the COVID-19[female[feminine The pandemic has thrown new raw light on the biodiversity crisis, she said, urging people around the world to forge a broad technical and ethical consensus to build a new pact with the living world.

Pillars of climate change

Each year, in late May and early June, the world highlights three major international days that can be considered the systemic pillars of climate change: biodiversity, climate and the oceans.

The Head of UNESCO urged everyone to think about how World Environment Day is a whole, a complex system in which the ocean climate and the diversity of living organisms and their environment sometimes interact in a different way. way that is beyond our ability to anticipate.

This year, she concluded, as the world grapples with an unprecedented pandemic, these days are resonating more urgently than ever.

Environmental migration

In the meantime, in his video message, the Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Antnio Vitorino, reported that the environment has always made people move.

He said disasters displace millions of people each year and that climate change is affecting migration patterns around the world.

Even when societies are slowed down by COVID-19, nothing stops cyclones and floods, the climate continues to change, the environment continues to deteriorate and many people are forced to leave their homes, stress the head of the IOM, also noting that other people are trapped in ecologically fragile regions or unable to resort to usual seasonal agricultural activities.

He encouraged everyone, even while fighting the global pandemic, to stay focused on climate change and biodiversity throughout the process.


Now let’s act for people and for nature, said Vitorino.

COVID-19 and biodiversity

COVID-19 exposed the vulnerability of global systems to protect the environment, health and the economy, said the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) in a compelling video that illustrates how nature can protect us from pandemics.

He explains that zoonotic diseases are transmitted from animals to humans, most likely including COVID-19 coronavirus. UNEP explains that maintaining the diversity of nature and animal species protects us from global health crises.

And although a wide variety of host species can also reduce the risk of disease, if in some cases these hosts are suppressed, a resulting monoculture of animals is likely to enhance their role as disease transmitters.

We need to invest in a better scientific understanding of how human activity can affect potential future zoonoses, said UN Environment.

Now is the time to appreciate the vital role of the health of our planet and to take immediate action to conserve nature.

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