Too much and very serious, true, but it is what stops human progress in the world with a good quality of life for the majority. As harsh as it sounds, the figures indicate that those who have governed and managed planet Earth, its life and its riches – perhaps with exceptions – in its different latitudes and countries, have not done so in a way that could have led humanity to a pleasant and full life for the vast majority.
In the world, 1,300 million tons of food are wasted annually, which, in general, ends up in landfills, according to the UN in 2018. This occurs while 821 million people suffer from hunger and about 2 billion are food insecure. Enough food is produced in the world to feed up to 10 billion people, while there are only about 7.5 billion.
Now, as if there were no shortage of evils, humanity is experiencing a Pandemic that has killed thousands, sickened thousands more and caused a very serious economic crisis, which increased hunger and poverty in most countries.
And a study with thousands of different species shows that transforming wild lands for cultivation – food for people – benefits a few animals that harbor many pathogens with the potential to jump to humans.
A study by Brown Providence University, in the state of Rhode Island, United States, estimated that between 1980 and 2010 the number of epidemic outbreaks of infectious diseases increased threefold.
Viruses looming on deforestation
To try to understand how these interactions work, a team led by University College London (UCL) collected information collected from 184 studies, which allowed them to analyze 6,801 ecological groups with more than 7,000 species, of which 376 have pathogens that can also infect humans. Their conclusions, published in the journal Nature, show that when the land is transformed for cultivation, species more welcoming to microorganisms that can cause diseases in people are favored.
Faced with the idea that the virus that will cause the next great pandemic lurks inside some exotic species, in a jungle, the authors of the team led by UCL show that the danger is precisely in the places where the natural environment has been transformed into farmland or cities and those animals that benefit from these changes, explains that report. Recent studies have found a relationship between the loss of biodiversity and an increase in the transmission of diseases.
In the coming years, the population increase will continue and with it the need to transform land and the risk of viruses passing from animals to humans. Every year, two new viruses that previously only infected animals jump to humans.
What does all this mean?
That humanity is doomed to epidemics and pandemics? To live permanently vaccinated (if you have vaccines) to try to survive? To change our nature as social beings? Of course not. The solution, without a doubt, is to eradicate waste so that everyone can eat well and thus not have to use more land for more crops each year.
How to achieve this?
Shifting towards a model of life that uses modern advances in science and technology to do good. A model that guarantees peace, generosity, decency and solidarity. Not out of romance, but out of intelligence to save humanity.