The Climate for Corona – our warming world is more vulnerable to pandemic – Professor Jem Bendell
For instance, climate changes have contributed to one fungal pathogen, white-nose syndrome (WNS), spreading to new regions. It has been found to reduce antiviral responses in bats, which means they shed more coronavirus (Davy et al. 2018). Not being an expert, nor wanting to do any up-close research for this blog, I don’t know if bats cough or sneeze, but with Covid19 their extra ‘shedding’ of the virus meant that ultimately humans became ill. “Thus, a pathogen predominantly infecting wildlife may additionally have cascading effects on spillover of other pathogens of significance for human health” wrote a large team of experts in a peer reviewed study earlier this year (Evans, et al 2020). They report that the same processes are occurring for other wildlife and pathogens, to “impact complete wildlife–livestock–human systems (e.g., avian influenza, tuberculosis)” (ibid, 2020).
Fourth, the impact of this pandemic is far greater on society than it needed to be, because of the nature of our economic system, which is dependent on financiers’ confidence of an increasing volume of trade, transactions and debts. In a world where disease and other disruptions are likely to increase, we need a different economic model which does not multiply and prolong the harm.
Fifth, risk from disease is multiplied in societies that do not look after each other or the vulnerable. Populations need to be healthy and cooperative, to avoid or overcome a pandemic. In many societies there are people who are poorly nourished, over-worked, stressed, having to work while sick, or so fed up with life they don’t self-isolate or physically distance when asked.
Sixth, recognising the climate-covid connection is an invitation to an awareness that humanity and nature are an interconnected whole, so that what we do the whole we will do to ourselves. People are dying today because of centuries of an unrestrained culture of separation and domination.