The window of opportunity: Rainforest and Health
“Reacting quickly and effectively is extremely important.”
“It won’t be easy, there will be times when it will feel really uncomfortable and interrupt our daily lives but we’ve all got to work together on this.”
“It’s not a political issue between countries. It’s an issue for the whole world.”
Covid-19 or Climate change?
These remarks have all been said this week about coronavirus. We think that they apply to how we should be reacting to climate change too.
Mobilising action to a threat can be difficult, unless we feel like we are the ones in danger.
But to effectively tackle climate change, we need to react to climate threats before they are on our doorstep. For the world’s most vulnerable, they already are.
A global, coordinated, seamless response to climate change is possible. It starts with rainforest.
And if you need yet another reason to protect rainforest, consider your health. From medical advances to the prevention of pandemics, trees play a much bigger role in our wellbeing than we acknowledge. Our physical and mental wellbeing worldwide relies on trees.
It might seem like a long shot to connect the health of a city dweller with keeping trees standing in the deepest areas of the Peruvian Amazon, but they’re more linked than they might appear.
The degradation of rainforest has been warned to be increasing rates of unknown viruses and diseases“1”. Deforestation and rainforest degradation can force these carriers to migrate closer to humans, causing disease outbreak.
We also owe a lot to this rich natural pharmacy, sheltering vast amounts of known and unknown plants under its canopy. This range of flora has aided in the creation of a wide range of life-saving medicines such as cancer, malaria and HIV/AIDS. There are likely many more with the unknown potential for improving human health.
Human health and rainforest go hand in hand. Keeping these water-releasing, air-filtering medicine-cabinets standing strong is an urgent global health issue.
Zimmer, K. (2019). Deforestation is leading to more infectious diseases in humans. [online] National Geographic. [Accessed 28 Feb. 2020].