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Environmental activist, 17, says coronavirus is a byproduct of mistreating the planet

A teenage activist has claimed that coronavirus and other Zoonotic diseases are a byproduct of mistreating the planet.  

Environmentalist and conversationalist Bella Lack, 17, from South West London, is a youth ambassador for The Born Free Foundation and appeared on This Morning today to speak about her activism. 

Speaking via video link, the teenager claimed that ‘many studies’ have shown that virus’ which come from animals, such as sars, mers and coronavirus, have a direct link to humans ‘destroying nature at a high rate’. 

The student, who admits her work as an activist has meant she has had to take a year out of school, argued the rapid spread of unknown viruses ‘ will ‘only get more extreme’ unless we address the impact human’s are having on the natural world.   

‘It’s not a belief’, said Bella, ‘It’s been shown in many studies, the more we infringe into nature, especially deep into forests where we haven’t been before, we weaken the buffer between us and viruses. 

‘Because 70 per cent of diseases are Zoonotic, come from animals, that really correlates with the fact we are destroying nature at a high rate. 

‘The more we continue to weaken the natural world, the more we weaken ourselves. 

‘We’ve already had sars, we’ve had mers and now we have coronavirus and it will only get more extreme, unless we drastically reduce how much we are impacting on nature.’ 

Speaking about how the her activist work has affected her education, she admitted: ‘Not very well, the night before many of my GSCEs I was out doing a protest and my parents would say I need to revise, but I got through it. This year I was off school doing a documentary and I will be back in September.’

Bella began campaigning and fundraising at just 11, after being inspired by a documentary, which detailed how the production of palm oil was endangering the lives of the Orangutan, an animal particularly close to her heart. 

She went on to argue that while it can be ‘overwhelming’ to tackle the issues the environment faces, we should ‘fall in love with the solution’ and ‘strive for a better future’. 

‘I’m not really a therapist’, said Bella, ‘But we can be overwhelmed with the problem or fall in love with the solution. 

‘Of course we feel anxious when we see the reports of having ten years to prevent catastrophic climate change, but it’s not all about sacrifices. It’s about striving for a better future. 

‘We saw during the pandemic only 12 per cent of people wanted to return to the normal it was before, it was a portal which showed us a world we had much cleaner cities.’  

Bella was then quizzed on whether the production of single use plastic during the pandemic for PPE had a negative impact on the planet.  

‘I think it’s a double edged knife, she responded, ‘Because there are disposable masks. 

‘In Paris there has been a huge green wave and change isn’t going to happen overnight and we have to change the narrative and strive for a much more circular economy . 

‘That’s why we need so much more people, I don’t even like calling myself an activist, I’m just recognising the scale of the problem.’  

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