Updated: Sep 16, 2020
People are wandering to get back their normalcy. This COVID 19 pandemic is a stark reminder of our dysfunctional relationship with nature. The global economy has been facing major crises due to this dreadful virus.
A focus on nature can reveal all the reasons where pandemic come from and how the social and economic fallout which could be solved out.
COVID 19 and nature are linked
Other priorities like global warming seem to have been put on hold for the time being, which doesn’t mean the problem has vanished. It is still on track. Various effects of climate change are already with us like temperature rising- more frequent and intense earthquakes, floods, droughts etc. millions of species threatened with extinction. Emerging pieces of evidence have linked the transmission of COVID 19 to deforestation and land degradation.
Encroachment of natural ecosystem increases the rate of malaria in Amazon, their deforested land has become an ideal land for mosquitos. Ebola, Lyme and AIDS etc. are many diseases which are the result of human contact with untouched wildlife.
While the origin of COVID 19 is yet to be established but 70% of infectious diseases have originated from wildlife.
Importance of nature:
Nature underpins economies and society on many levels. Ecosystem services worldwide are worth an estimated $125 trillion annually, and they support industries (like farming, fishing, forestry, and tourism) that employ 1.2 billion people. A recent World Economic Forum report estimates that more than half of the world’s GDP is moderately or highly dependent on nature and its services. About 1.6 billion people rely directly on the world’s forests for food, income, and livelihoods.
Build back better
Healthy ecosystems also enhance humanity’s resilience to future shocks by strengthening food security, protecting us from climate impacts, mitigating climate change, and improving our health. We want to build back a better socioeconomic system to apply such natural-based solutions. These can include
-action to protect, manage and restore the forest, natural areas
-identify the impact and enabling the potential approaches to agriculture.
-cities are often facing the flood to reduce the occurrence of artificial wetlands.
-clean water should be available, so watersheds are managed.
-Major public works and rural employment program which generate quick rural jobs that restore the degraded ecosystem and increase climate resilience.
-Mangroves vegetation is highly effective to low the effect of a storm so the restoration should be done.
Challenges to the recovery of the global economy
Investment in these solutions is smart to gain higher economic returns. These solutions are cost-effective but give the triple dividend of benefits.
Long term recovery plans should be accelerated to avoid reoccurrence such drastic pandemic like COVID 19. Investment should be in working with nature rather than traditional infrastructure and fossil fuels.
As we know for every dollar spent on nature restoration, at least $9 of economics benefits can be expected.
Strong leadership from government, business and grass-root civil society should come on the same platform to uplift the economy as well as preventing the future outbreaks and add the long-term sustainability of livelihood and business activities.
As a result, we can build a planet of a healthy and productive human population.