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Nature Nuggets

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Pandemics- The Boomerang Returns

Would you believe us if we say that everything on this planet is connected! According to the theory of chaos, when a butterfly flaps its wings in New Mexico it has the power to cause a hurricane in China!

Research suggests that the increasing frequency of disease outbreaks is linked to climate change and biodiversity loss! Yes, you read it right.  The emergence of the ongoing pandemic, COVID-19, is the dramatic result of our prolonged actions towards the biodiversity. It’s beyond doubt that SARS-CoV-2, originated in wildlife, managed to break the species barrier into humans. A species of Horseshoe Bat is currently the principal suspect. However, researchers also suspect the bat transmitted the virus to an intermediary host, with an early theory pointing at pangolins, the most trafficked mammal worldwide. Human contact with the intermediary host facilitated the final leap of the pathogen, causing the pandemic!

As the coronavirus outbreak shows, zoonosis, originating from wildlife, poses huge public health, biosafety and even global security risks.In this latest edition of Wisdom Nuggets, let us learn more about how humans’ act of destructing the nature may cause worse pandemics.

The SARS epidemic in 2003 was transmitted to humans from civet cats, sold in markets as pets and as a delicacy. MERS was transmitted to humans from camels in 2012. Avian influenza, Nipah virus, Ebola, HIV and many other Emerging Infectious Diseases (EIDs) originated in animals and were transmitted to humans – a phenomenon called zoonosis.

Studies show that there are 2 main ways by which amplification of epidemics and pandemics happen:

  1. Getting too close to wildlife: By cutting down forests and jungles and destructing their habitat for encroachment and usage of land.
  2. Bringing wildlife too close to us: By illegally trafficking wild animals for our own benefits.

As the outbreak continues to spread, the encouragement of environmental health as a key element of our own health and activities that severely limit human exposure to wildlife are more urgent than ever! Get inspired and Watch this video to know why environmental health is so important.

Get creative and link the environmental education with your favorite subject in the curriculum!

  1. Language–Read the poem Keeping Quiet” by Pablo Neruda. Discussin your groups about the impact on nature if truly all human activities around the world stopped for a day.Will it be positive/negative. If positive, how can we sustain this positive impact without causing any loss to livelihoods/development.

2. Social Studies- “Loss of biodiversity & habitats is directly related to the socio-economical conditions of a region”. Create a 10-question quiz for your classroom. Refer to this article

3. Math- Find out how many major disease outbreaks (pandemic & epidemic) we have had in the last century (100 years). Find out the number of people affected and plot them on a bar graph.

4. Science- In the table below, list down the various SARS viruses that have affected humans, and their details in the corresponding columns-

S. NoSARS VirusMode of transmissionVectorSymptomsPrecautionsCure
       
       
       

Primary drivers of Biodiversity loss on our planet, which is ultimately leading to pandemics and epidemics, are habitat loss, pollution, overexploitation of resources and climate change! And to no surprise, the influences behind these primary drivers are human activities and population growth!

Pledge your support today and take these easy actions to eliminate the primary drivers of biodiversity loss.

Waste
1. Promote the 4Rs (Refuse, Reuse, Reduce, Recycle) among your family and friends

Energy
2. Use energy-conserving light bulbs at home. Always switch off lights and appliances when not in use.

Water
3. Keep a watch on leaky pipes/taps in home. On an average, a leaky tap can waste roughly 3 liters of water in a day and 90 liters of water in a month!

Food
4. Choose organically grown food items or grow your own kitchen garden. This helps to reduce the negative impacts of pesticides/fertilizers on the environment.

Remember, every small action counts. Stand with us as we together eliminate climate change and biodiversity loss from our planet.

Did you know that the “corona-waste” is the next big cause of plastic pollution in our oceans?! Yes, around 129 billion single use face masks are dumped in our oceans every month! Let’s not forget, our actions are the reason we are in the middle of a pandemic!

Here is an easy DIY face mask activity for you this week. Reuse your old Tee-shirts and make these easy reusable face masks at home. Remember, face masks can be used multiple times if proper hygiene is maintained regularly, like washing your masks after every use. Let’s fight this pandemic without harming our environment.  

Let’s take this pop quiz and test your knowledge about Pandemics, Biodiversity and Humans! Get ready and gear up for Wild Wisdom Quiz, 2020 as we Re-imagine our Planet together.

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