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U.N. report says humans must release grip on nature

U.N. report says humans must release grip on nature
Climate protesters march the streets of Washington, D.C., on November 4. A new United Nations report said humans need to take more aggressive action toward the environment or risk more challenges like the coronavirus pandemic. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 15 (UPI) -- The United Nations Development Program said in a new report released Tuesday the world must "release their grip on nature" and challenges like the coronavirus pandemic may become more common.

The report said humans need to work harder to reduce damage to the environment to protect humanity overall.

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"Humans wield more power over the planet than ever before," Achim Steiner, the program's administrator, said in a statement. "In the wake of COVID-19, record-breaking temperatures and spiraling inequality, it is time to use that power to redefine what we mean by progress, where our carbon and consumption footprints are no longer hidden."

The report said humans have the power to address such issues as the climate crisis, the challenge to biodiversity and ocean acidification, problems that will only get worse if mankind continues on its present course.

"As this report shows, no country in the world has yet achieved very high human development without putting immense strain on the planet," Steiner said. "But we could be the first generation to right this wrong. That is the next frontier for human development."

The report said the pandemic, climate change, and rising inequalities are all intertwined with "each making the other worse." It said humans are straining the systems the species needs to survive, which is why addressing the environment should continue to be a high priority.

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The report said changes can be made in production, pursuing nature-friendly changes like green energy and empowering people to make those changes can have significant benefits.

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