Episode from the podcastAll Things Connected

#9: The Link Between Ecological Destruction and the Current Pandemic

Released Tuesday, 28th July 2020
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Expert in the ecology of infectious diseases and wildlife ecology, https://seas.umich.edu/research/faculty/johannes-f… (Dr. Johannes Foufopoulos )joins the podcast to discuss fundamental topics related to infectious diseases, including what distinguishes a virus from a pathogen and parasite and the difference between virus and bacteria.
We also discuss the link between COVID-19 and anthropocentric pressures on the planet and its species, including wildlife trade, deforestation, and land use change. We discuss the abhorrent practices in the wildlife trade including bear and tiger and pangolin farming across southeast Asia, the origins of the AIDS and SARS pandemics and the parallels of those stories to COVID-19, the ethics of bush meat hunting versus farming wildlife for medicinal purposes, whether humans recognize and will change in response to the existential threats posed by pandemics and climate change, the importance of individual action to create environmental change but also the role of institutions, and Johannes' interpretation of the first law of ecology, that everything is connected.
Background reading:
-https://sustainabilitycommunity.springernature.com… (How the current coronavirus pandemic links to questions of ecological sustainability in the anthropocene)
-https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/27/science/coronav… (China’s Ban on Wildlife Trade a Big Step, but Has Loopholes, Conservationists Say)
-https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/24/viet… (Vietnam bans imports of wild animals to reduce risk of future pandemics)
-https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/05/science/animal-… (Asia’s Illegal Wildlife Trade Makes Tigers a Farm-to-Table Meal)
-https://www.newscientist.com/article/2239913-how-r… (The realistic, factual scenario underlying the plot of the movie Contagion)
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