We are at an unprecedented moment in the history of humankind and in the history of our planet. Warning lights—for our societies and the planet—are flashing red. They have been for some time, as we well know. The Covid-19 pandemic is the latest harrowing consequence of imbalances writ large. Scientists have long warned that unfamiliar pathogens will emerge more frequently from interactions among humans, livestock and wildlife, interactions that have steadily increased in scale and intensity, ultimately squeezing local ecosystems so hard that deadly viruses spill out. The novel coronavirus may be the latest to do so, and unless we relax our grip on nature, it will not be the last.

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