Swansea West MP Geraint Davies has joined Caroline Lucas and other MPs in calling on the Chancellor to protect nature.
The call comes amid concerns raised by some of the world’s top scientists that the destruction of nature will lead to increased pandemic risk.
Professors Josef Settele, Sandra Díaz and Eduardo Brondizio, working for the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), said:
“There is a single species responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic – us.”
“Recent pandemics are a direct consequence of human activity, particularly our global financial and economic systems that prize economic growth at any cost. We have a small window of opportunity, in overcoming the challenges of the current crisis, to avoid sowing the seeds of future ones.”
The letter argues that deforestation, exploitation of wild species and the expansion of farming, mining, infrastructure and global air travel has created a ‘perfect storm’ for the spill-over of diseases from wildlife to people.
Mr Davies said: “The unrelenting expansion into our natural environment poses a long term threat to how habitable our planet is.
“But in the short term it poses significant risks too, from air pollution that kills tens of thousands a year in Britain alone to pandemics being generated by a loss of biodiversity.
“The Coronavirus pandemic should serve as a wakeup call to us all that whatever we do once the crisis is over, it cannot go back to the business as usual approach from before.”
The letter is calling on the government to strengthen and enforce environmental regulations; properly funding health systems on the frontlines of pandemic risk; adopting a ‘one health’ approach at all levels of economic and development decision-making and embarking on a fundamental system reorganisation of economic and financial systems.
A full copy of the letter can be found here.