We've got to prevent future outbreaks: ' Freeland founder & Green Lake native discusses how to end pandemics.
by Sophia Voight firstname.lastname@example.org
As the coronavirus pandemic continues and the Delta variant is causing a new surge of COVID-19 cases, the non-government organization (NGO) End Pandemics looks toward the future health of the planet by preventing pandemics through ending animal trafficking and protecting nature.
During a presentation at the Green Lake Country Dems and Friends meeting last week Saturday, co-chair of End Pandemics Steve Galster spoke about the NGO believes there is no greater cause in our lifetime than preventing future pandemics.
End Pandemics is working in conjunction with this year’s Freeland Film Festival to promote the NGO’s mission and present solutions to preventing zoonotic outbreaks.
While many countries are working on preparing for the next pandemic, Galster argues that efforts need to be more focused around preventing new pandemics.
“The experts talk about how we’re getting off pretty lightly this time compared to what could happen if this comes again, and it is likely that it will if we don’t address the causes,” he said.
Galster explained how COVID-19 is a zoonotic disease, meaning it started in animals and was transmitted to humans. Zoonotic diseases are transmitted to humans when people tamper with wild animals, most commonly through wildlife trade and destruction of natural habitats.
“These wildlife markets are ticking time bombs and the way we’re destroying habitats is basically pushing the animals out,” he said. “That’s the most efficient way to move them into close contact with people.”
One of the biggest ways humans are destroying habitats is through creating agricultural lands, which also pushes people closer to animals, putting humans at risk of contracting zoonotic diseases, Galster explained.
Zoonotic outbreaks occur when animals transmit diseases common among them to humans whose immune systems don’t have the pathogens to deal with foreign diseases.
Galster said COVID-19 has fortunately connected people across the world to recognize the issue of zoonotic diseases and need for preventing pandemics.
“We’ve got to prevent future outbreaks because everybody’s just talking about where this came from and vaccines, but we’re going to go through this again unless we address the root causes,” he said.
End Pandemics was created in February 2020 with the purpose of preventing future pandemics through protecting nature and stopping wildlife trafficking.
End Pandemics is an organization with four action pillars: Reduce Demand, Protect Nature, Stop Trafficking and Reform Farming.
The four pillars all work for the common goal of investing in the planet’s health by drastically reducing the risk of future zoonotic outbreaks through banning commercial trade in wild animals, transforming the food supply systems with regenerative agriculture and prioritizing nature protection.
Galster explained that prevention measures for pandemics are far less expensive than reactionary efforts.
“The financial invoice that we’re getting from COVID-19 continues to go up and it’s going to be at least $11 trillion,” Galster said. “On average, that’s $54 billion per country in the world. That’s bigger than the GDP of some countries.”
In order to return to a sense of normalcy and ditch masks for good, Galster said countries should be focusing their budgets on preventing pandemics through nature conservation.
“This is really what the world needs to be focusing on because it is a matter of international security,” he said.
Through the “roadmap to end pandemics,” the NGO works with lawmakers and nonprofits around the world with the goal of protecting nature and stopping wildlife trafficking.
End Pandemics also hosts informative presentations throughout the world to educate people on the need to prevent future pandemics.
One of those presentations is slated for Thursday, Sept. 2. Freeland is teaming up with the Vatican, The Independent and United for Regeneration to educate world leaders on preventing pandemics by protecting nature. The presentation will be livestreamed.
This year’s Freeland Film Festival in Green Lake adopted the theme, “A Better World: Beyond Pandemics,” to work with End Pandemics and spread its mission.
The festival will be held Sept. 10 and 11 and will feature films and a series of panels in the Town Square ballroom on solutions to preventing pandemics.
More information may be found about End Pandemic’s prevention efforts at its website, www.EndPandemics.earth.