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TED Talks Daily

How to stop the next pandemic? Stop deforestation | Neil Vora

Dec 5, 2023
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10:09
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Physician Neil Vora explains how deforestation contributes to deadly epidemics like Ebola and COVID-19. He discusses how deforestation leads to closer contact between humans and wildlife, survival of animals carrying germs, and increased stress on animals. Vora highlights the importance of protecting tropical forests and implementing solutions such as healthcare and organic farming to decrease deforestation and improve health.
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Quick takeaways

  • Deforestation increases the risk of animal-borne diseases by bringing humans closer to wildlife carrying infectious germs.
  • Protecting tropical forests not only benefits health but also addresses climate change and reduces emissions.

Deep dives

The Link Between Deforestation and Disease Outbreaks

Deforestation is a key driver of new animal-borne diseases, as it brings humans closer to wildlife carrying germs that can infect us. Changes in land use, particularly deforestation, have led to an increase in animal-human interaction. Stress from losing their homes also makes animals more likely to spread disease. Additionally, over half of known infectious diseases in humans have been exacerbated by climate change, which is considered the greatest threat to human health by the World Health Organization. Protecting tropical forests is a solution that can have an immediate impact on both health and climate, as evidenced by successful efforts in the Brazilian Amazon.

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