COVID-19 pandemic shows that passive restoration is globally feasible but… do most decision makers agree?

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Gustavo Zuleta, Eugenia Castro, Olivier Hamerlynck, Ingrid Zuleta, Junguo Liu, Alejandro Dorado, Narkis Morales

Publication Date:

During early-mid 2020, the ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease shows that (A) substantial changes in the consumption/production habits are feasible without the “catastrophic” consequences predicted by market economists, and, as a result, (B) environmental degradation can be reduced significantly (air > water > wildlife). This (C) unplanned “passive restoration” is occurring worldwide for the first time in human history and at a similar rate. We analyzed how key stakeholders reacted to ABC facts (e.g. United Nations, scientists, media/influencers). We conducted a systematic literature review. A set of 157 documents published during 2020 was analyzed including papers and grey literature (50% each). We identified 115 statements related to public health, degradation and restoration. Based on our experience 10 major statements/solutions were selected. Their evidence or lack thereof was discussed in consultations to field experts. Text in brackets denotes our conclusion: (1) ecosystem degradation is a major driver of emerging pathogens (true in particular cases), (2) degradation is responsible for the pandemic spread (disagree: human transportation), (3) high biodiversity mitigates viruses´ transmission by zoonosis (not yet demonstrated), (4) land use intensification facilitates “jumping” of wildlife-human barriers (weak validations), (5) wildlife meat in food markets must be reduce/eliminated to avoid risks of emerging infectious diseases (dubious evidences), (6) healthcare access restrictions increase mortality in other diseases (hypothesis based on previous epidemics), (7) economy is first (disagree: people´s welfare is first), (8) reduce 50% the ecological footprint of energy and technology (agree), (9) restore Nature and (10) change our habits of over-consumption (fully agree).

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program