What Can You Do To Keep Your Health–And Our Planet–Safe?
There are more than 1.5 million unknown viruses in the world; we're seeing new ones emerge faster then ever before. Seventy-five percent of emerging diseases affecting humans originate in animals. Many of these diseases have mortality rates as high as 70, 80, or even 90 percent.
It sounds scary, but the good news is: you can do something about it. Here are five ways that you can help stop the next disease outbreak before it even starts.
EcoHealth Alliance trains scientists all around the globe (Photo: EcoHealth Alliance)
Deforestation and land-use change spread diseases. But so does human behavior, like wildlife trade and hunting. And the solution isn't as simple as ending these practices. For instance, the palm oil industry is a major driver of global deforestation, but it's also a major source of income for people around the world. To eradicate it entirely would be to erase many people’s livelihoods.
It would be nearly impossible for the average person to become an expert in each of the ways that pandemics can begin, and then to study the many nuances associated with each. Pick the one that moves you the most. Learn about it. No one person can fix every problem, but a lot of people working passionately to tackle individual problems can certainly get a lot done.
EcoHealth Alliance scientists test samples from wildlife for pathogens (Photo: EcoHealth Alliance)
Spread the Word
Once you’ve identified something you truly care about, be an advocate for it. Tell your friends, explain to them why it’s such a big issue. Odds are if it moved you, it will move them as well.
Get Involved Locally
Other laws aimed at conservation, like bans on plastic bags and restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions, are most often passed at the city level. Get involved at the local level, too. Go to city council meetings. Don’t be afraid to speak up about what you care about. Passion is contagious.
EcoHealth Alliance thanks you for your support (Photo: EcoHealth Alliance)
Find organizations doing work you respect and help them take that work even further. There are ways to assist beyond a simple donation. These days there are a good many tools out there to help you activate things you're already doing for a good cause.
Amazon Smile, for one, is a simple way to help while you're doing your regular shopping. Amazon Smile works just like Amazon, except that a charity of your choice will get 0.5 percent of your purchase as a donation.
Facebook, too, now makes it easy for you to start a fundraiser. This year, consider donating your birthday to a charity of your choice. Rather than buying you gifts, friends and family can make a donation in your name. It costs you nothing and makes you feel great.
It can be a scary world and sometimes it’s hard to know how to make it a better one. The key, though, is not to focus on how you can’t make an impact on everything but how you can make an impact on something.
At EcoHealth Alliance, we’re working around the clock to prevent disease spread and keep our planet, and all who live here, safe.
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