Scientists Warn of More Deadly Pandemics if Nature Not Protected

2020/11/23 17:00

Today's Vocabulary

1. warning (n)
something that makes you understand there is a possible danger or problem, especially one in the future

2. biodiversity (n)
the number and types of plants and animals that exist in a particular area or in the world generally, or the problem of protecting this

3. habitat (n)
the natural environment in which an animal or plant usually lives

4. wildlife (n)
animals and plants that grow independently of people, usually in natural conditions

5. urbanization (n)
the process by which more and more people leave the countryside to live in cities

6. poaching (v)
to catch and kill animals without permission on someone else’s land

7. urges (n)
a strong wish, especially one that is difficult or impossible to control

Scientists Warn of More Deadly Pandemics if Nature Not Protected

Scientific experts have warned that deadly pandemics are likely to keep happening if action is not taken to protect natural environments.

Future pandemics will happen more often, spread faster and kill more people than COVID-19, the experts said. Such events are also expected to cause lasting harm to the world economy.

The warning came in a report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, an international expert group that advises governments. The group has more than 130 member states.

The experts called for major efforts aimed at preventing pandemics rather than trying to contain them after they happen. The report urges major worldwide efforts to stop habitat destruction that can lead viruses to jump from wild animals to humans.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that three out of every four new or emerging infectious diseases in people come from animals. Scientists have said COVID-19 probably started in bats and began spreading among humans at a market in China.

In their report, the experts predict that about half of an estimated 1.7 million undiscovered viruses in nature might be able to infect people. Activities such as poaching or clearing forests to grow soy or palm oil can bring humans and disease closer together.

Deforestation, agriculture expansion, urbanization and other land-use changes are responsible for about one-third of all new diseases that have emerged since 1960, the report says. The $100 billion global wildlife trade is also responsible for the spread of new and existing diseases.


  1. What are some of the most serious environmental problems?
  2. What kinds of technologies do you know of that might help stop environmental problems?
  3. What are some local environmental problems you have noticed?

“The Earth is what we all have in common.”

Wendell Berry