What can Business do to help slow more of these viruses 🦠 from becoming pandemics in future?
An expert says many come from species in rainforest areas such as the Congo in Africa, released when the areas are opened up for mining, often for minerals for our new phones, laptops, cars, equipment.
There are Steps Responsible Business can take to be part of preventing more.
A recent article on CoronaVirus “The Man Who Saw the Pandemic Coming” interviewed Dr. Dennis Carroll the former Director of the US Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Global Health Security and Development Unit, where he was responsible for providing strategic and operational leadership for the Agency’s programs addressing new and emerging disease threats until the unit was shut down by the Trump administration.
Dr Carroll discussed the threat of “zoonotic spillover”, the transmission of pathogens like COV-19 from nonhuman animals to humans. The article states that “Scientists are confident the current outbreak, which began in Wuhan, China, stemmed from a virus inherent in bats.” After years of studying infectious diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and USAID, Carroll had formed the USAID program PREDICT, where he guided trailblazing research into viruses hiding, and waiting to emerge, in animals around the world.
Dr Carroll explained that “in Africa, we see a lot of incursion driven by oil or mineral extraction in areas that typically had few human populations. The problem is not only moving workers and establishing camps in these domains, but building roads that allow for even more movement of populations. Roads also allow for the movement of wildlife animals, which may be part of a food trade, to make their way into urban settlements. All these dramatic changes increase the potential spread of infection.”
Why is oil or mining extraction needed from Rainforests from which viruses such as CoronaVirus might emerge? Oil extraction fuels our cars, planes, other vehicles, and some industrial manufacturing. Travelling less, or by renewables powered electric vehicles (EVs) can help reduce our need for oil extraction. Mineral extraction, generally known as mining has, especially in areas like the Congo jungle of central Africa, been increasingly for the raw materials such as the “3TG” and Cobalt “Conflict Minerals” which are needed for our smartphones, laptops and technical equipment, new cars, and other electronic equipment or components.
What steps might we in the Sustainability world take to be part of slowing (towards ending) the oil and mineral extraction and mining which is destroying irreplaceable biodiversity of lush rainforest and habits (as it takes 100s of years to replace, and some species could be lost forever) which can also release Corona type viruses?
These are homes for endangered wildlife species including forest elephants, chimpanzees, bonobos, and lowland and mountain gorillas inhabit the lush forests, and the “approximately 10, 000 species of tropical plants in the Congo Basin, 30% are unique to the region, and 400 other species of mammals, 1,000 species of birds and 700 species of fish”.