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Planet Earth: Our Loving Home

Zoonotic Diseases: Nature’s Self-Defense, Part 2 of 2

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Today we’ll further explore the causes, interconnections, and solutions for our planet’s public health and economic crises. In June 2020, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) released a report entitled, “COVID-19: Urgent Call to Protect People and Nature,” urging governments, corporations, organizations, and the public to take action to restore our broken relationship with nature and thus avoid future pandemics involving zoonotic infections, defined by the report as “any diseases originating from animals and transmitted to humans.” 
Among the many suggested initiatives to be implemented, some to be applied by governments are: a) halt the high-risk wildlife trade and increase enforcement to combat the illicit wildlife trade; and b) introduce and enforce legislation and policy actions to eliminate deforestation and conversion from supply chains. “To talk about nature is to talk about our essence, is to talk about us. The forest, the leaves, nature, the wind, the rain – it is sacred. Everything is sacred. In my language, it's called, ‘u-tã’ -- everything is sacred. Nature and the indigenous people are the whole of harmony. The indigenous people cannot live without nature, without the river. The earth has life; it cries when it is destroyed.” Defined by The International Ecotourism Society as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education,” ecotourism could be part of the solution to our profits vs. planet issues. Countries such as Costa Rica, Ecuador, Kenya, Nepal, Madagascar, and regions like Antarctica already use ecotourism as an important economic activity. The WWF for Nature report also recommends “scaling up efforts to combat the trade of illegal and high-risk species at national and international levels.” Some organizations including The International Anti-Poaching Foundation and The Black Mambas Anti-Poaching Unit, both in Africa, are putting forth efforts to stop the illegal hunting and capturing of wild animals. 
And last but not least, some enterprises have virtually taken land use out of the equation. Watergen, Ô Amazon Air Water, Solar Foods, and Fairbrics are some of the innovative businesses using air as a primary source for the development of food, water, and even clothing – avoiding the devastation of forests and the conversion of natural ecosystems, as well as preventing contact with wild fauna carrying viruses not yet known to human beings.
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