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This month marks the one year anniversary of the Covid-19 pandemic, following a grim milestone of half a million deaths in the United States alone. As we learn more about the origins of Covid-19, the link between deforestation and public health has become clear.

The destruction of wild ecosystems for human use through deforestation, logging and industrial farming decreases biodiversity and impacts human health. The result, we are learning, is the emergence and spread of ever more new viruses.

According to an essay published in the journal Science, “The clear link between deforestation and virus emergence suggests that a major effort to retain intact forest cover would have a large return on investment even if its only benefit was to reduce virus emergence events.”

Business as usual and the push to return to normal, however, wages on.

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought to light the dangerous impacts of deforestation and given us an opportunity to prevent future pandemics. This is also an opportunity to recreate our relationship with nature, defend our environment and protect wild forests. 

For the Earth Minute and the Sojourner Truth Show, this is Theresa Church from Global Justice Ecology Project.