How environmental destruction fuels pandemics

As the focus of global debate slowly shifts from curbing the coronavirus to how to end the social and economic restrictions, previously dominant "green" issues such as climate protection seem to have disappeared from the political and social agenda. Europe's press stresses in unison that these issues are no less urgent than they were before - on the contrary.

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Tages-Anzeiger (CH) /

Large-scale livestock farming puts lives at risk

The Tages-Anzeiger says the corona crisis highlights the importance of animal welfare:

“Like Sars, Mers or Ebola, Covid-19 was transferred from a bat to an intermediate host and then to humans. HIV originated with chimpanzees. In technical jargon such diseases are called zoonoses - and their number is growing worldwide. It's not the animals that are to blame, it's us. ... Large-scale livestock farming and the huge consumption of meat also led to BSE, or mad cow disease. ... This disease, which is deadly for humans, probably originated at that time because herbivore cows were fed meat-and-bone meal - or in other words animals of their own species. ... So calls for animals to be treated with more respect are anything but starry-eyed romanticism. Doing so isn't just a moral imperative. It saves lives.”

Avvenire (IT) /

Environmental destruction produces deadly virues

We should take more care of the environment also for our own good, Avvenire argues:

“Let us save humanity by protecting biodiversity. This isn't just a naive slogan or rhetoric: it's what the most important international organisations and some of the world's leading scientists are saying. ... The destruction of natural habitats, deforestation and pollution are the key causes behind the spread of viruses such as Covid-19. And since in our globalised socio-economic system living conditions in the overpopulated megacities fly in the face of all health standards, the number of pandemics is on the rise.”

Népszava (HU) /

Jobs not an argument against sustainability

Népszava isn't convinced by the argument that environmental protection cannot be the top priority in times of the coronavirus:

“To keep environmentally harmful economic sectors and structures going in order to save jobs is an understandable but nevertheless cynical attitude in the current crisis. If we hadn't done so before, then we should finally acknowledge now that the existing structures cannot be maintained. After all, our habits could lead to an even more catastrophic disaster. Experts believe that the way forward lies above all in local economies. No one has the philosopher's stone, but we could start thinking about solutions together.”