Lecture: Climate Change and Emerging Infectious Disease from Daniel Brooks

On March 18th, 2020, Daniel Brooks was slated to give a lecture on Climate Change and Emerging Infectious Disease: Three Things Most People Don’t Know. Following the spread of COVID-19 and CUNY-wide transition to fully remote operations, Mr. Brooks could no longer visit the City College campus to give such a timely lecture. Instead, more than 100 people attended remotely via Webinar and the session was recorded.

Watch the lecture here.

It can also be viewed and shared here: https://bluejeans.com/s/aMGUv/​. Additional information is below.

About the Lecture

Emerging Infectious Diseases in humans, livestock and crops currently cost the world 1 trillion dollars a year in production losses and treatment costs, more than the GDP of all but 15 countries. Evolutionary analysis of this crisis, based on what is called the Stockholm Paradigm, links the potential for emerging infectious disease outbreaks directly to climate change. Highly specialized pathogens evolve in localized settings in association with one or a few hosts. Climate change and ecological disruption alters geographic distributions, bringing those pathogens into contact with susceptible but previously unexposed hosts. This has been true throughout the history of life on this planet. Human activities during the past 15,000 years, including domestication and agriculture, population growth, conflict and migration, urbanization and globalization have all increased the risk. Technological humanity thus faces an existential crisis in global climate change and emerging infectious disease, in particular high density urbanize settings. The time is short, the danger is great, and we are largely unprepared. But we can change that and become proactive. The very evolutionary specializations that make pathogens a threat for widespread emergence also provide insights into how we can find them before they find us. The DAMA (document – assess – monitor – act) protocol links activities from neighborhood gardens to global surveillance systems that can allow us to anticipate to mitigate emerging disease. We can lower costs to society, limiting the global impact of pathogens and slowing the expanding and accelerating crisis, while buying time for traditional efforts to medicate, vaccinate and eradicate.

About Daniel R. Brooks

Daniel R. Brooks is Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto, and Senior Research Fellow of the H.W. Manter Laboratory of Parasitology, University of Nebraska State Museum. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (Academy of Science) and Fellow of the Linnaean Society of London. He has been awarded honorary doctorates from Stockholm University and the University of Nebraska and has been a Senior Visiting Fellow of the Collegium Budapest, Stellenbosch Institute of Advanced Study, Institute of Advanced Studies, Köszeg, and the Hungarian National Institute of Ecology. Dan is an evolutionary biologist whose work ranges from field studies of the evolution of host-pathogen systems in tropical wildlands to foundational studies of evolutionary theory. His current focus is integrating evolutionary principles into understanding the relationship between global climate change and emerging disease, using those insights to develop proactive public policy for coping with the emerging disease crisis. Author of more than 375 scientific publications, including more than half a dozen books, Dan is one of the top 200 most cited biologists according to Google Scholar (citations: 15,907; 30 articles cited more than 100 times; H index 59 (59 articles with at least 59 citations); i10 Index 206 (206 articles with at least 10 citations), and among the top 1% of scholars on Research Gate (TRI: 6,924, more than 57,000 reads). His newest book is The Stockholm Paradigm: Climate Change and Emerging Disease (University of Chicago Press).

CUNY has a legislatively mandated mission to be “of vital importance as a vehicle for the upward mobility of the disadvantaged in the City of New York … [to] remain responsive to the needs of its urban setting … [while ensuring] equal access and opportunity” to students, faculty and staff “from all ethnic and racial groups” and without regard to gender.

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