For thousands of years now we have exploited animals to our advantage, whether it be in the domestication of cows, the eradication of an entire species through unwarranted fear or the indiscriminate killing of animals because we simply must adorn ourselves with that poor creatures pelt.

There is also the indirect interference through mismanagement of our natural resources, such as the clear felling of old growth forests so that 400 year old trees (Eucalyptus regnans) can be turned into pulp and returned to us as a $5.00 ream of copy paper.  This indirect interference invariably leads to habitat loss and more often than not the areas are replanted with nonindigenous species with a completely different growth cycle to make the “plantation” more profitable but only after the area is sprayed with herbicide and covered with baits to prevent the endemic species returning.

It would appear that this ongoing and ever increasing exploitation of our resources is not without its payback.  There does not seem to be a year go by where we do not hear of a breakout of some disease or a new strain of a previously “under control” viral agent

Scientists have reported a direct link between deforestation in the Amazon with the increase in numbers of malaria-inducing mosquitoes.  The substantial increase in the mosquito biting rate means that humans are more than 200 times more likely to be bitten.

“By dramatically changing the landscape, we are tipping the balance in a way that is increasing the risk of malaria transmission,” says Jonathan Patz a professor both in UW-Madison’s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and the department of population health.

In the 1980s AIDS came out of Africa and just three years ago scientists pinned its origins on wild chimpanzees in a corner of Cameroon. The first known human case was of a Congolese man whose blood was stored as part of a 1959 medical study.

In 2002-03 there was the near pandemic of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome). In April 2003, the World Health Organization issued a press release stating that a coronavirus identified by a number of laboratories was the official cause of SARS. According to Wikipedia “Coronaviruses are positive-strand, enveloped RNA viruses that are important pathogens of mammals and birds. This group of viruses cause enteric or respiratory tract infections in a variety of animals including humans, livestock and pets.”

There are other incidences where animal born disease has affected humans; Mad cow disease, Lyssavirus, Psittacosis and the latest nasty to rear its head – the Hendra virus.

So what does all this mean?

Maybe, just maybe, nature is trying to get back at the Human Race for the havoc it is wreaking on the planet.

Each day with everything I read, hear and see I become more and more convinced that as we don’t respect what we have, we don’t deserve what we have and maybe Earth would be better off without humans.

At least then the earth might have a chance to recover.

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