The surprising link between our consumer habits and deadly diseases ranging from malaria to the novel coronavirus

From age-old malaria to COVID-19, markets influence systems that drive pandemic risk. Here’s what we can do about it.

Tiger Image: Public Domain; Deforestation Image: A.Davey from Flickr licensed under CC BY 2.0; Ivory Image: Gavin Shire / USFWS from Flickr licensed under CC BY 2.0; Coffee Image: Public Domain.
The transformation of rainforests into farmland to produce coffee and other crops creates opportunities for novel diseases to breach the border between wild animals and humans. Photo courtesy of Rod Waddington from Wikimedia, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Chocolate and infectious disease may seem unrelated, but clearing land to produce cocoa beans can increase the risk of illness-spreading interactions between wild animals and humans. Photos © iStockphoto.com/skynesher
Loss of tree cover due to human activity and natural causes at the Landsat pixel scale, 2001–2017. Data from the Global Land Analysis & Discovery lab at the University of Maryland, Google, USGS and NASA. See ResourceWatch for interactive graphics and details.

Adams says the pandemic will now “absolutely” increase the urgency of efforts that offer benefits to both the environment and human health.

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