The COVID-19 crisis is a reminder of the intimate relationship between humans, animals and the environment.
There are several human rights related to the environment- these are our environmental rights. Without clean, safe, healthy and sustainable ecosystems, numerous human rights cannot be fulfilled. The right to health; in addition to being a universally recognized human right, is intertwined with ecosystem health. Good health is a human and environmental right.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that if we want our ecosystems to take care of us, we need to take care of them. On average, one new infectious disease emerges in humans every four months- 75 percent of these infections emanate from animals. These zoonotic diseases can spill over to humans when we destroy habitats and trade illegally in wildlife, increasing our exposure to pathogens.
Zoonotic diseases like COVID-19 are one of the many ways in which the environment impacts human health.
Air pollution, for instance, kills over 6 million people each year. Airborne pollutants from cookstoves, coal-fired power plants, vehicles, industries, wildfires, and dust storms cause a significant portion of global deaths from strokes, lung cancer, heart attacks and respiratory diseases. Air pollution has been shown to exacerbate COVID-19 deaths. Read more…