Scientists Warn Worse Pandemics Are On The Way If We Don’t Protect Nature

Failure to act could make future pandemics more and more likely

“It may be politically expedient at this time to relax environmental standards and to prop up industries such as intensive agriculture, long-distance transportation such as the airlines, and fossil-fuel-dependent energy sectors, but doing so without requiring urgent and fundamental change, essentially subsidizes the emergence of future pandemics.”                 – global scientists representing the World Economic Forum

News from the World Economic Forum

Posted June 19th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Another tree in Niagara stripped away by heavy machinery in the last six months – this one in Thundering Waters Forest in Niagara Falls, Niagara – a home to significant wetlands in the Canada–U.S Niagara River watershed. Shame on those in authority in Niagara who are not speaking out about vandalism of our natural environment like this.

(A Brief Note from Doug Draper – Niagara At Large is posting this out of a call-out to people across this Niagara region that we have to change the way we do business in this region around planning communities have we have to work to vote in people to hold political seats on our local municipal councils and Niagara Regional councils who care about protecting what is left of our natural environment – ourr wetlands and woodlands and meadows and crop-growing lands – for our generation and for generations to come.

Those politicians who don’t give a shit – who support urbanizing places like Thundering Waters Forest and Waverly Woods – have got to go. In these pandemic and post-pandemic times, there is no longer any place for politicians who champion destructive plans like this in our future.)

The World Economic Forum COVID Action Platform

The Forum’s COVID Action Platform: Over 1,000 organizations are working together in response to the pandemic

Pandemics like COVID-19 could occur more frequently unless we stop rapidly destroying nature, a group of biodiversity experts has warned.

1.7 million unidentified viruses, known to infect humans, are estimated to exist in mammals and water birds.

Rampant deforestation, agricultural expansion and infrastructure development bring us closer to catching them.

A group obiodiversity experts warned that future pandemics are on the horizon if mankind does not stop its rapid destruction of nature.

Writing an article published Monday by The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the authors put the responsibility for COVID-19 squarely on our shoulders.

Why in our Niagara, is this form of destruction allowed to just go on and on? Let’s put an end to scenes like this in Niagara – photo taken at Thundering Waters Forest in Niagara Falls, Ontario earlier this year. This haven for trees and wetlands has been targeted by developers for urban sprawl


Have you read?

COVID-19: Pakistan’s ‘green stimulus’ scheme is a win-win for the environment and the unemployed

The EU looks towards green coronavirus recovery

Here’s why trafficking exotic animals will lead to future pandemics“There is a single species that is responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic – us.

As with the climate and biodiversity crises, recent pandemics are a direct consequence of human activity – particularly our global financial and economic systems, based on a limited paradigm that prizes economic growth at any cost. We have a small window of opportunity, in overcoming the challenges of the current crisis, to avoid sowing the seeds of future ones,” the authors wrote on IPBES.

The authors of the report include the three co-chairs of the comprehensive 2019 IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, which found that one million species of plants and animals are at risk of extinction within decades. The fourth author, Peter Daszak, is the president of EcoHealth Alliance and is tasked with spearheading the IPBES’ next global assessment, as The Guardian reported.

The authors argue that government stimulus plans need to include sustainable and nature-positive initiatives.

“It may be politically expedient at this time to relax environmental standards and to prop up industries such as intensive agriculture, long-distance transportation such as the airlines, and fossil-fuel-dependent energy sectors, but doing so without requiring urgent and fundamental change, essentially subsidizes the emergence of future pandemics,” the authors wrote.

They also fault wanton greed for allowing microbes that lead to novel diseases to jump from animals to humans.

“Rampant deforestation, uncontrolled expansion of agriculture, intensive farming, mining and infrastructure development, as well as the exploitation of wild species have created a ‘perfect storm’ for the spillover of diseases from wildlife to people,” they wrote in their article.

We are now being warned over and over again that we need healthy natural environments to prevent pandemics. Yet we have developers and politicians in Niagara, Ontario who are still willing to blow away rich green places like this one for pavement and cinder blocks – Waverly Woods, in Fort Erie, Ontario.

They warn that 1.7 million unidentified viruses known to infect people are estimated to exist in mammals and water birds. Any one of these may be more disruptive and lethal than COVID-19.

With that in mind, the authors suggest three facets that should be considered for COVID-19-related stimulus plans. Countries should strengthen environmental regulations; adopt a ‘One Health’ approach to decision-making that recognizes complex interconnections among the health of people, animals, plants, and our shared environment; and prop up healthcare systems in the most vulnerable countries where resources are strained and underfunded.

“This is not simple altruism – it is vital investment in the interests of all to prevent future global outbreaks,” the scientists argue in their IPBES article.

“The programs we’re talking about will cost tens of billions of dollars a year,” Daszak told The Guardian. “But if you get one pandemic, even just one a century, that costs trillions, so you still come out with an incredibly good return on investment.

Human impact could be responsible for the current outbreak.

Image: The Royal Society

“Business as usual will not work. Business as usual right now for pandemics is waiting for them to emerge and hoping for a vaccine. That’s not a good strategy. We need to deal with the underlying drivers.”

Their assessment has been supported recently by others in the scientific community. A study published earlier this month blamed human impact on wildlife for the current outbreak, as The Guardian reported.

The authors of the new article end their piece on an optimistic note about nature’s resiliency. “We can build back better and emerge from the current crisis stronger and more resilient than ever – but to do so means choosing policies and actions that protect nature – so that nature can help to protect us,” they wrote.


About the World Economic Forum – The World Economic Forum is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.

The Forum engages the foremost political, business, cultural and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

It was established in 1971 as a not-for-profit foundation and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. It is independent, impartial and not tied to any special interests. The Forum strives in all its efforts to demonstrate entrepreneurship in the global public interest while upholding the highest standards of governance. Moral and intellectual integrity is at the heart of everything it does.

For more about the World Economic Forum and its work, click on –

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space following the Bernie Sanders quote below.

“A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders

One response to “Scientists Warn Worse Pandemics Are On The Way If We Don’t Protect Nature

  1. So let’s make tree bylaws that are weak and continue to develop all the natural areas left.


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