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Coronavirus and the Sin Tax

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Sometime during the 1920s, it is said, the HIV virus jumped from a wild chimpanzee to humans. It fest
 

The Unearth Bulletin

January 29 · Issue #79 · View online
Towards a Sustainable & Inclusive World

Sometime during the 1920s, it is said, the HIV virus jumped from a wild chimpanzee to humans. It festered and mutated for many decades until the new integrated global economy carried it across boundaries, oceans and continents. HIV, Ebola, Swine Flu, Avian flu, and now Coronavirus, are only some of many lethal diseases that have threatened human survival.
 How animals are reared, killed, stored and distributed lie at the core of this story. The economics of low cost food for the masses, requires high density ‘packing’ of animals, use of many different kinds of antibiotics, feeding of excessive calories, etc. Essentially these animals have little ability to fight off infections because they are designed for other purposes. If a new pathogen emerges and if the antibiotics are not effective in addressing the problem, the pathogens spread. Many soon become more lethal and quickly jump into the human domain, from where they spread even faster.
 As humanity increasingly consumes more dead animal flesh the risk of transmission from animals to humans has increased. Moreover, as humanity lives in a far more integrated globe, the risk of fast spreading of disease has also increased. Coronavirus will no doubt kill many more by the time a vaccine or treatment is found. But unfortunately there will be another pathogen sometime over the next few years which could be as lethal, and another after that, and so on.
The environmental mess is just one symptom of a larger problem, and the coronavirus and its other lethal cousins are another set of symptoms from the same underlying problem.
In the interest of low cost production, humanity has let technologies and methods prosper that are harmful to our planet, its ecology, its environment and also to us. But now the international economic order is addicted to this sugar high and will not give them up. Modern democrats and dictators alike are both addicted to this illusion of prosperity driven by low cost mass production that forgets, to add on ecological damage into its costs.
So what should you do? If you are a non-vegetarian start by reducing your meat consumption. If you are a vegetarian reduce dairy. For no government will listen if you propose a sin tax on meat or animal derived products.
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-Laveesh Bhandari

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I enjoyed giving a keynote address and interacting with Dr Jaya Prakash Narayan for this much-needed discussion on urban governance. I spoke about three key issues - empowerment of mayor, proper institutionalized city governments and informed and trained young local elected representatives.
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