COVID-19, monkeypox, bird flu, SARS, HIV, AIDS, Ebola; we are living in the Age of Pandemics – one that we have created. As the climate crisis reaches a fever pitch and ecological destruction continues unabated, we are just beginning to reckon with the effects of environmental collapse on our global health.
Fevered Planet exposes how the way we treat nature – through exploitation, profiteering and destruction – is leading to the emergence of deadly new infectious diseases that spread faster and further than ever. Drawing on the latest scientific research and decades of reporting from more than 100 countries, former Guardian environment editor John Vidal takes us into deep, disappearing forests in Gabon and the Congo, valleys scorched by wildfire near Lake Tahoe and our densest, polluted cities to show how closely human, animal and plant diseases are now intertwined with planetary destruction.
From fossil fuel use raising the global temperature to increased logging polluting our landscapes, Fevered Planet exposes the perils of reckless environmental destruction – not just to our planet but to ourselves. As Vidal expertly argues, unless we transform our relationship with the rest of the natural world, the pandemics we are facing today will just be the tip of the iceberg.
John Vidal was born and brought up in West Africa. One of the world's most experienced environment journalists, he has worked for over 30 years on the frontlines of the global war against nature. As environment editor of the Guardian, he has reported on the climate crisis, disease and ecological change from more than 100 countries, during which time he has been attacked by loggers and farmers, imprisoned by whalers and sued by oil and chemical companies. Vidal has won many national and international awards for his writing and filmmaking. He is the author of one previous book and has contributed chapters to books on war, famine and conservation.
"John Vidal has travelled far and wide, and we would be wise to take seriously the reports he sends back; human lives, particularly of the rich, are not just altering the plane tin devastatingly predictable ways, they are setting us up for some nasty surprises"
– Bill McKibben
"A searing, vital work. Plagues and epidemics determine human history – now it is time to learn that how we live today is driving disease on a planetary level"
– Bettany Hughes
"Drawing on a lifetime's experience as a frontline journalist, John Vidal compellingly joins the dots between accelerating climate change, population growth, dangerously disrupted ecosystems, our obsession with economic growth – and the inevitability of future pandemics. Fevered Planet is the most illuminating and disturbing book I've read in years"
– Jonathon Porritt
"Vital, urgent, and forensic – John Vidal's unflinching examination of pandemic risk should be a wake-up call in capitals throughout the world. Unless we change course, COVID could be just the tip of an iceberg of even more deadly and disruptive diseases to come. Transforming our relationship with the natural world is essential for both human and planetary health – Fevered Planet expertly shows us how"
– Caroline Lucas MP
"John Vidal has written a compelling analysis of the links between our planet and environment and our health. I found it hard to put down, and it brilliantly mixes his personal experience covering environmental issues for the Guardian with novel insights into how we can and should be doing better. A must-read for all those interested in pandemics, the environment and the animal-human nexus"
– Devi Sridhar
"This beautifully researched book, including Vidal's own travels around the world, takes us through the rising number of pandemics, up to COVID-19 and beyond, to a disturbing account of our political inability to grasp what is happening and manage a safe future for our civilisation [...] Global, national and local policy makers should all read and absorb this very important contribution to the current state of the world. We must learn to understand that we are a part of Nature, not apart from Nature"
– Professor Sir David King, Former Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government and Founder of the Climate Crisis Advisory Group and Centre for Climate Repair at Cambridge
"Urgent, fascinating and essential, Fevered Planet tells a crucial story that most of us have missed"
– George Monbiot
"In his impressive yet scary book Fevered Planet: How Diseases Emerge When We Harm Nature (Bloomsbury), environmental journalist John Vidal makes a compelling case for humanity to transform its relationship with the natural world"