By Deborah Thomson, DVM
There is hope in the goodness of people. Hope in the future. Let me explain.
Let’s start with the reality: we are living a tragedy. There is so much death. Many people are wanting only the best for themselves, their families and their communities, yet they still feel unsure about how to function each day.
Let’s continue with some background: scientists agree that COVID-19 is a disease that originated in a bat but the pandemic is due to the SARS-CoV-2’s mutation that propagated the transmission between people. The bat either was in a wet market or was displaced from a shrinking natural habitat (due to deforestation and/or climate change) and was forced to look for food and shelter near people. (Isn’t that what you would do if your home disappeared?) Whenever there are species that are inappropriately close to each other, there is increased risk of viral mutations and disease spread between species. This scenario includes animal health, environmental health and human health.
This is how One Health affects COVID-19. One Health is the collaboration of people working with animal health (veterinarians, public health experts, wildlife specialists, veterinary epidemiologists), environmental health (ecologists, conservationists, climate change specialists, water analysts) and human health (physicians, public health experts, epidemiologists, sociologists).
The COVID-19 pandemic highlights why teaching children about One Health is important. If more people grow up appreciating and understanding that our health heavily relies on the health of animals and the environment, society’s view of the environment will change.
While the world surpasses 10 million cases of COVID-19, there is an inspirational global volunteer One Health educational initiative that is translating free, online and interactive COVID-19 lessons from OneHealthLessons.com into over 30 languages to teach children and adults about this holistic One Health view. This collaborative action can change the world!
The translated lessons teach students (from the age of 6 years old) where the virus likely came from, how to protect ourselves today, what scientists are doing today to keep us safe in the future and spark general interest in science.
This world-wide initiative is truly One Health in action- with volunteers from many backgrounds working together to promote the health of people, animals and the environment. After all, the COVID-19 lessons were not created merely for the English-speaking world. They were made for The World. And people from around the world are coming together, despite our many differences, to reach the next generation and beyond. And this gives us hope.
Deborah Thomson, DVM is a veterinarian and founder of OneHealthLessons.com.
One Health Lessons http://www.onehealthlessons.com/