Around the world COVID-19 has brought everyday life to a standstill. Stay-at-home orders and quarantine policies have effectively shut down economies around the globe. The main group of people suffering from this global impact are those without access to food and resources. This pandemic has shown us the structural inequality present within each country which could potentially double the amount of people globally who go hungry.
Still, the decline of emissions, progressively clearer skies and water sources has given many a sign of hope, that there is light at the end of this tunnel. Experts have determined that now is the time to act to develop strategies integrating Nature-Based Solutions (NBS), using nature to build back a better, safer infrastructure.
Deforestation and landscape fragmentation have caused an increase in the risk of outbreaks with infectious diseases, including COVID-19. Stronger forest protection, agroforestry, ecosystem restoration, and green infrastructure are all part of a system that uses NBS to strengthen socio-ecological growth. The science is crystal clear: healthier forests and agricultural landscapes could significantly impact the prevention of future pandemics. Pandemics do not respect boundary lines, there is no separation from families, they affect everyone.
Economic growth is indeed an important part of creating a sustainable social culture, but without the backing of a healthy living environment there is a great potential to crumble. Investing in companies and technologies that look toward a cleaner, greener way of life could be pivotal for job creation. Nature has always reigned supreme; we’ve seen the backlash of what happens when humans try to control nature—it finds a way. Instead of attempting to control nature, why not harness it for the betterment of our societies?
Using NBS to develop sustainable infrastructures could lead to more malleable society that can respond and adapt easier when another pandemic occurs. Already we can see business adapting to remote work and jobs changing to provide better solutions to health and safety. These changes are only the beginning of what needs to be done globally. Managing natural resources in a sustainable way is critical to protecting communities that are susceptible to virus outbreaks.
Food and agriculture stability are at the heart of this emergency, making it the main priority for any developing nation. Lack of access to nutritious food means that hundreds of millions of people go hungry across the world. Without this access to healthy food or water, communities become susceptible to disease and thus begins the outbreak. Putting efforts into developing sustainable agriculture, for the poorest among us, means a healthier human race.
We are all connected. Nature, humans, animals— we all rely on each other and right now humanity is fragile. Our planet is fragile! Our main priority right now should be using Nature-Based Solutions to construct a better society for the future, and with it a better planet. We cannot, we must not, return to life as it was. A greener society creates a greener planet, and every little bit helps!