With the world continuing to struggle with the cost of the COVID-19 pandemic, could humanity's continued ill-treatment of nature lead to the emergence of future diseases? What are the issues and questions behind the link between environmental degradation and disease that we need to examine?

This deep dive looks at pandemics and biodiversity and is the third of a short series of WRI podcasts looking at the individual subjects of our Stories To Watch project for 2022.


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Chip Barber, Director of WRI’s Forest Legality Initiative and Senior Biodiversity Advisor

“The cat’s out of the bag. We need to be going further upstream to try to reduce the risk of those pandemic events happening to begin with. It’s a no-regrets strategy anyway because that’s what we need to do to conserve biodiversity, to maintain the ecosystem services that we depend upon for agriculture, pollination, rainfall and things like that, and to reduce the emissions that contribute to climate change.”


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Krista Karch, Stories To Watch Researcher and WRI Senior Editor

“There is lots of evidence that if we can connect the dots on these issues, utilise the research that we have, end deforestation and irresponsible forest management, and really put a cap on biodiversity loss, the incidence of pandemics and zoonotic spill over can go way down.”


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Ani Dasgupta, President & CEO, WRI

"75% of infectious diseases come from pathogens that live normally in the animal kingdom. Zika, ebola, Covid come from this interaction. There’s a whole community of people who work on protecting forests, reducing deforestation, biodiversity. And there’s a whole other community of health experts. And the story really is about bringing these two communities together to think about the long-term prevention of pandemics.”


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