EARTH FIRST | The need to be ‘wild’ as nature intended

What is the current pandemic telling us?

Scientists believe the COVID-19 pandemic will not be a one-off and they expect 5 new diseases to emerge every year. It’s our relationship with nature and how we’re interacting with it that has driven the pandemic. Humans have changed the planet’s biodiversity making it more likely for viruses to jump from animals to humans.

Understanding how we got to this point is critical.

We were “hunters & gatherers” living within resources available and in balance with nature. Nature determined our survival but now, in this “age of humans”, we are determining nature’s, living totally out of balance.

Population increase and our huge demands have altered the earth. Our destructive relationship with nature puts us at greater risk of eg. Swine Flu, SARS, Ebola and Covid. We are behind every one of these pandemics as human impact on the environment is driving emerging disease.

We have increased contact with wildlife through live markets, wildlife trading, fur farms – where stressed animals shed more virus. We are intruding into wildlife habitats by clearing forests.  Thousands of viruses exist in forests which we log to live and graze domestic livestock in. Coronavirus, an animal virus originated in bats in south China forests where humans encroached building roads, houses and schools. We have destroyed biodiversity in these forests, delved deeper into these wild areas and come into more regular contact with species that harbor the virus.

We have reduced the population of wild animals by 60% (1 million species extinct) replacing them with ourselves, domesticated animals and plants. There is not enough “wild” left. When biodiversity is lost the world doesn’t work, as every single component is part of earth’s machine. Only if all parts are healthy can the planet run smoothly. Biodiversity gives stability.

On our doorstep, significant biodiversity occurs throughout the Mt Canobolas State Conservation Area (SCA). No area of the SCA is without biodiversity. The Canobolas Conservation Alliance Report concluded that significant damage to biodiversity is inevitable if a network of mountain bike trials in the Mt Canobolas SCA goes ahead as Orange City Council proposes. We must protect this area in its entirety from ALL development or we risk adding to the instability of our planet. Let’s keep our SCA wild as nature intended.

Ref && David Attenborough Extinction: The Facts

By Jenny Pratten, Secretary, Canobolas Conservation Alliance. This post appeared as an article in the Earth First column of the Central Western Daily on Saturday 11 September, 2021.