April 7th is WHO’s World Health Day. The WHO estimates that more than 13 million deaths a year are due to avoidable environmental causes and, for the first time, is using World Health Day to focus global attention on urgent actions needed to support human and planetary health.
From Dr. Chris Walzer, Wildlife Conservation Society’s Executive Director of Health:
“It is increasingly clear that planetary mismanagement has led to an escalation of infectious and non-infectious health threats at an unprecedented scale, with impacts from individuals to communities, across landscapes, to the entire globe. Climate change is altering the distribution, life cycle, and physiology of hosts, pathogens, and vectors, shifting infectious diseases' distribution, emergence, and ecology. From the most remote terrestrial wilderness to the deepest ocean, to the most densely populated cities, we are inexorably changing our planet."
“The drivers of the biodiversity loss and climate change crises also drive the increase in pathogen spillover: deforestation; unsustainable and illegal exploitation of wildlife, timber, and other resources; ecosystem degradation; land-use change for agricultural intensification and other industrial expansion; wildlife trade (legal and illegal), wildlife farms, and wildlife markets. Recent research provides strengthened evidence that the COVID-19 pandemic originated from live wildlife in a market, and WCS research has highlighted high contact rates between wildlife and people in markets, potentially zoonotic pathogens circulating in traded wild animals in Viet Nam and Laos, and increasing prevalence along wildlife trade chains from the field to markets to restaurants."
His full statement can be read here