Teenage activist Bella Lack, who has been dubbed the British ‘Greta Thunberg’, claims that coronavirus and other zoonotic diseases are a byproduct of humans mistreating the planet.
Environmentalist and conversationalist Bella Lack from South West London is a youth ambassador for The Born Free Foundation and has appeared on the This Morning show to discuss her activism.
In a video link, the 17-year-old said she believes that viruses that come from animals – such as sars, mers and coronavirus, which have a direct link to humans “destroying nature at a high rate” and she says she’s seen “many studies” that prove her point.
The student, who has had to take one year out of school for her activism, has argued that the rapid spread of unknown viruses will “only get more extreme” unless we focus on humans’ impact on the natural world.
Bella stated: “It’s not a belief.
“It’s been shown in many studies, the more we infringe into nature, especially deep into forests where we haven’t been before, we weaken the buffer between us and viruses.
“Because 70 per cent of diseases are zoonotic, come from animals, that really correlates with the fact we are destroying nature at a high rate.
“The more we continue to weaken the natural world, the more we weaken ourselves.
“We’ve already had sars, we’ve had mers and now we have coronavirus and it will only get more extreme, unless we drastically reduce how much we are impacting on nature.”
When asked how her schoolwork was going due to her spending lots of time out of school to attend protests, she admitted: “Not very well, the night before many of my GSCEs I was out doing a protest and my parents would say I need to revise, but I got through it. This year I was off school doing a documentary and I will be back in September.”
At just 11-years-old, Bella began to campaign and fundraise after she was inspired by a documentary, it detailed how the production of palm oil was endangering to the lives of orangutans, an animal she is particularly fond of.
Tackling such issues has been something she has admitted is “overwhelming” but she believes we should “fall in love with the solution” and “strive for a better future”.
Bella said: “I’m not really a therapist. But we can be overwhelmed with the problem or fall in love with the solution.
“Of course we feel anxious when we see the reports of having ten years to prevent catastrophic climate change, but it’s not all about sacrifices. It’s about striving for a better future.
“We saw during the pandemic only 12 per cent of people wanted to return to the normal it was before, it was a portal which showed us a world we had much cleaner cities.”
The student was then quizzed on whether or not she believes the production of single use plastic during the pandemic for PPE has had a negative impact on the planet.
In response, she answered: “I think it’s a double-edged knife. Because there are disposable masks.
“In Paris there has been a huge green wave and change isn’t going to happen overnight and we have to change the narrative and strive for a much more circular economy.
“That’s why we need so much more people, I don’t even like calling myself an activist, I’m just recognising the scale of the problem.”