How might we reduce invasive human impacts on our environment that directly drive communicable diseases?
Goal 13: Climate Action| By: Wyatt
In direct zoonosis, the disease is directly transmitted from other animals to humans through media such as air (influenza) or through bites and saliva (rabies). In contrast, transmission can also occur via an intermediate species (referred to as a vector), which carries the disease pathogen without getting sick. However, we do know that climate change alters how we relate to and interact with other species on Earth, and that matters to our health and our risk for infections.
As the planet heats up, animals, both big and small, on land and in the sea, head to the poles to get out of the heat. That means animals are coming into contact with other animals they normally wouldn’t, and that creates an opportunity for pathogens to get inside new hosts.
Many of the root causes of climate change also increase the risk of pandemics. Deforestation, which occurs mostly for agricultural purposes, is the largest cause of habitat loss worldwide. Loss of habitat forces animals to migrate and potentially contact other animals or people and share germs. Large livestock farms can also serve as a source for the spillover of infections from animals to people. Less demand for animal meat and more sustainable animal husbandry could decrease emerging infectious disease risk and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
We have many reasons to take climate action for the improvement of our health; reducing the risks for infectious disease emergence is one of them.
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For Humanly, I chose the topic of climate change, specifically, environmental factors influencing the spread of communicable diseases. The interference of human-animal interactions in our environment and within changing ecosystems has proven to have a direct impact on the increasing frequency of communicable diseases. We are currently living with and adapting to life with the threat of COVID-19 as a direct result of having a lack of global standards in the following areas: health and food safety regulations, deforestation, clean and sustainable drinking water and improper handling and consumption of livestock. I want to provoke and continue the conversation and humanitarian efforts to reduce climate change and educate people on how to safely interact with surrounding ecosystems. People need to realize that “business as usual” and profitability are decreasing our planet's viable sustainability for human life: we are the virus.