2020 was a test of our resilience, forcing the world to change its way of life and work on the fly. On the eve of 2021, when we have already received a set of vaccines, we face a new test: we will need to decide what kind of post-pandemic world we want to build for ourselves and for future generations.
A vaccine will help to end the pandemic, but it won’t address the vulnerabilities that lie at its root. There’s no vaccine for poverty, hunger, climate change or inequality.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made clear that our health is inextricably tied to larger environmental issues. Increased population density, global travel, deforestation, large-scale farming and melting of the permafrost has disrupted animal habitats, bringing them in closer contact to humans. This has raised the risk of more frequent zoonotic disease outbreaks, and therefore a higher potential for another pandemic.