In 1965 the world’s population was 3,324 million. 35% of us were hungry. Now it is 7,800 million, only 15% of whom are hungry, which is quite an achievement. But it has come at a sinister price as Daniel Mediavilla explains in El Pais. Every time that we open wild land to cultivation, we destroy its biodiversity. Which opens the way to the rise of those species most likely to harbour pathogens which will jump to humans.
Some of this has been known for some time. Outbreaks of infectious diseases have risen three times in that period, with particular worries about new cultivation setting off outbreaks of Nile fever and Chagas disease. But Daniel points to a new paper by UCL which looks at 184 studies of over 7000 species.**. It seems that species such as bats, rodents and passerine birds, all reservoirs of zoonotic diseases, are particularly favoured by land clearances. Daniel also posts a link to Nature, so our English- speaking friends won’t need a translator.
We at LSS won’t comment on the science, as there are far better qualified persons than ourselves to do so. But we will comment on conspiracy theorists and blame-gamers, whose principle qualifications seem to be heightened emotional anxiety and a firm belief in the infallibility of their own opinions. The origins of coronavirus, and other diseases both past and future lie in the destruction of complex ecosystems and their replacement by monocultures. Which poses an agonising dilemma: how to feed people while keeping them free of killer diseases. It will require masses of deep thought, hard work and lots and lots of humble objective study to resolve that one. But conspiracy theorists don’t have to think at all, really. They know all the answers, and all facts can be plugged into their conspiracy without effort. Thus they can escape from the fear of hard questions, and their own responsibilities, leaving the rest of us to carry the burdens. A pity that we are so few.
#zoonosis #covid-19 # sars-covid-2 #coronavirus #chagasdisease #nilefever