Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Dear Common Dreams Readers:
Corporations and billionaires have their own media. Shouldn't we? When you “follow the money” that funds our independent journalism, it all leads back to this: people like you. Our supporters are what allows us to produce journalism in the public interest that is beholden only to people, our planet, and the common good. Please support our Mid-Year Campaign so that we always have a newsroom for the people that is funded by the people. Thank you for your support. --Jon Queally, managing editor

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Swedish climate action leader Greta Thunberg appears in a new film titled "For Nature," about the interconnections of the climate crisis, ecological crisis, and Covid-19 pandemic. (Image: screenshot/Mercy for Animals)

'We Can Change': In New Film, Greta Thunberg Connects Dots Between Animal Exploitation, Climate Crisis, and Pandemics

"We need to rethink how we value and treat nature in order to safeguard future and present living conditions for life on Earth."

Julia Conley

A new short film featuring climate action leader Greta Thunberg highlights the connections between the climate crisis, ecological emergency, and the Covid-19 pandemic as well as other public health crises that are likely to arise from humans' exploitation of animals—and explains how communities and policymakers can repair people's relationship to wildlife while radically changing our food systems.

"For Nature," conceived of by Thunberg and produced by the animal rights nonprofit organization Mercy for Animals, was released Saturday to coincide with the International Day for Biological Diversity.

In the film, Thunberg "connects the dots" for the audience to help explain how people's land use, agricultural practices, and exploitation of animals are all "creating the perfect conditions for diseases to spill over from one animal to another and to us," making it highly likely that even if the global community gets the coronavirus pandemic under control with widespread distribution of vaccines, "the next pandemic could be much much worse."

Watch:

A quarter of fossil fuel emissions come from agriculture and land use, Thunberg explains in the film, and although 83% of the world's agricultural land is used to feed livestock with soy, corn, and wheat—which could be used to feed people—livestock only provide 18% of human's calories. 

"It just doesn't make sense," Thunberg says in the film. "The land requirements of meat and dairy production are equivalent to North and South America combined... We have industrialized life on Earth."

As a number of experts have said since the pandemic began last year, humans' habitat destruction and other exploitative practices have pushed the species closer to other animals, making it more likely that diseases will "spill over from one animal to another and to us," as Thunberg says in the film.

Three-quarters of immune diseases "come from other animals because of the way we farm and treat nature," she adds.

"We need to rethink how we value and treat nature in order to safeguard future and present living conditions for life on Earth," Thunberg said in a statement. "We all, of course, have different opportunities and responsibilities, but most of us can at least do something—no matter how small.”

Thunberg and Mercy for Animals called on viewers to stop supporting the farming of "unhealthy and destructive animal products" and said policymakers should "help farmers transition to a plant-based farming model that is better for their livelihoods, local communities, the environment, and the animals."

"We are all part of nature and can be part of nature protecting itself," said John Seber, vice president of advocacy for Mercy for Animals.

The film comes days after acclaimed conservationist Jane Goodall told Agence France Presse that humans must do away with "very, very cruel intensive factory farms" and urgent world governments to incorporate "a new mindset for our survival" into their plans to recover from the pandemic.

"Let's face it—if we don't change, we're fucked," says Thunberg in the film. "But we can change. We can change the way we farm, we can change what we eat, we can change how we treat nature. Some of us have lots of choices while some have none of them."

"Those with the most power have the most responsibility," she added.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Just a few days left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

'I Don't F—ing Care That They Have Weapons': Trump Wanted Security to Let Armed Supporters March on Capitol

"They're not here to hurt me," Trump said on the day of the January 6 insurrection, testified a former aide to ex-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

Jake Johnson ·


'Morally Bankrupt' G7 Slammed for 'Caving' to Fossil Fuel Lobby on Climate

"People in poverty around the world will pay the highest price for this backtrack by some of the wealthiest countries," one activist warned of the group's new statement on gas investments.

Jessica Corbett ·


Police Brutality on Display as Protesters Rail Against Post-Roe World

"Both the Dobbs decision and state repression of protest against it violate human rights," said the president of the National Lawyers Guild.

Brett Wilkins ·


'Yeah, And?': Ocasio-Cortez Embraces GOP Freakout Over Helping Women Skirt Abortion Bans

"Republicans are mad because I am sharing this information," said Rep. Ocasio-Cortez. "Too bad!"

Julia Conley ·


WATCH LIVE: Top Meadows Aide Cassidy Hutchinson Testifies at Surprise Jan. 6 Hearing

Hutchinson, who has spent more than 20 hours in deposition with the House panel, is expected to provide more damning evidence of the role that Meadows played in Trump's coup attempt.

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo