Humanity will be “finished” if we fail to drastically change our food systems in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the climate crisis, the prominent naturalist Jane Goodall has warned.
She blamed the emergence of Covid-19 on the over-exploitation of the natural world, which has seen forests cut down, species made extinct and natural habitats destroyed. The coronavirus is thought to have made the jump from animals to humans late last year, possibly originating in a meat market in Wuhan, China.
Intensive farming was also creating a reservoir of animal diseases that would spill over and hurt human society, said Goodall, one of the world’s foremost experts on chimpanzees and a longtime conservation campaigner, speaking alongside two European commissioners at an online event held by the campaigning group Compassion in World Farming, on Tuesday.
People must move away from factory farming and stop destroying natural habitats as a matter of urgency, she said, because of the threat of diseases and of climate breakdown. Factory farming is linked to the rise of antibiotic resistant superbugs, which threaten human health.
“If we do not do things differently, we are finished,” she said. “We can’t go on very much longer like this.”It is becoming increasingly painful to post these warnings when it is plain that the political and popular will for change does not exist. Without the will to change, we're just along for the ride.
It is also becoming increasingly clear, to me at least, that there is only one way to respond to this plethora of existential threats. We have to accept that humanity must retreat back into the sustainable limits of our very finite biosphere because we're finished unless we do. In all things we must live in harmony with nature, modifying humanity in numbers, consumption and pollution and waste of all descriptions. We're not poisoning nature. It will bounce back. We're poisoning ourselves.