Sign the petition: Joe Biden and Congress must stop deforestation in order to prevent the next pandemic

As COVID-19 continues to escalate, policymakers must take action to stop this nightmare from repeating. Deforestation, climate change, wildlife trade and environmental destruction are driving a nearly exponential acceleration of new diseases. There were six times more animal-to-human outbreaks in 2010 than 1980. Without action now, we will face a new pandemic as deadly as Ebola and as contagious as the worst strains of COVIDand more likely within the next decade than the next century.

Pandemics are both accelerating and getting worse, and tropical deforestation is by far the largest cause of new outbreaks. In order to prevent the next global pandemic, we must stop deforestation. Fortunately, we are able to halt deforestation before it’s too late, but it will require legislation and a commitment from the U.S. government to take action now.  We have seen effective models for tackling deforestation, and we know it’s possible.

But we cannot wait -- we must urge Congress and President Biden to act immediately to make up for lost time under the previous Administration.

Turns out, the way to stop looming deadly pandemics, protect rainforests (and take a big bite out of climate change) is to meet basic human rights for healthcare and jobs training at the rainforest edge. Oftentimes, Indigenous and local communities are forced to give up their lands to cover the cost of out-of-pocket medical bills or in search of cash for other necessities. These lands are then razed and turned into cash crops for big polluters while their ancestral protectors are left without.

COVID-19 is conservatively estimated to cost the U.S. economy at least $16 trillion, and the global costs are much higher. Prevention is vastly less costly. If Congress acts now, Joe Biden can leverage funds from other countries at the G7 Summit this year.

We cannot afford continued global pandemics. We demand our government include $2.5 billion in the next COVID relief bill to support healthcare and jobs training for indigenous people in every tropical rainforest community, and support impoverished nations to build the healthcare systems to stop outbreaks before they spread.

Ending deforestation is our best chance to conserve wildlife, one of the quickest and most cost effective ways to curb global warming, and absolutely crucial to prevent the next deadly, global pandemic.

Sign the petition: $2.5 billion to build back better, stop new outbreaks and stop the COVID-19 catastrophe from repeating itself.

Participating Organizations:
Brazilian Rainforest Trust
Consumers United For Fairness
Daily Kos
Endangered Species Coalition
Health in Harmony
The Juggernaut Project
Marked by COVID
Mighty Earth
The Natural History Museum
R2H Action [Right to Health]