February 15, 2021

I can't include the entire thing, but this John Oliver segment about the connection between deforestation, factory farming, and the next pandemics was really important and you should go read the rest. Via Hollywood Reporter:

"Now might be the most important time talk about this because scientists attempted to warn us about the 'next' pandemic long before the current one hit, and we didn't really listen," he said.

He showed a 60 Minutes clip from 2004 — "just after the SARS epidemic was contained" — in which a disease ecologist was he said that what should be "keeping [people] awake at night" was that another disease, more lethal than SARS, would surface, "wiping out people as it moves along."

In fact, since that interview, there have been several infectious disease outbreaks, including H1N1 in 2009, Ebola in 2014, MERS and Zika in 2015 and the current coronavirus pandemic.

"If we're not very careful, the next pandemic could be even worse," Oliver said, showing a clip of another disease expert interviewed last year by Vice explaining that there are several "viruses currently circulating in wildlife [that] kill 60 to 70 percent of the people they infect. … This is not by any stretch of the imagination the worst Mother Nature has to offer us."

Oliver cited research estimating that up to 75 percent of new or emerging infectious diseases come from animals and another study estimating that there are 1.7 million currently undiscovered viruses in mammals and birds, up to half of which could infect humans.

Seriously, go read the rest. Unless we do something now, this is our future.

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