How Climate Change is Contributing to Skyrocketing Rates of Infectious Disease--Pro Publica #climate #disease

Kim Chaffee


At this time when most of the world is focused on COVID-19 nearly all the time, we are beginning to understand the connection between climate change and the rise of infectious diseases.  This article explains the factors in detail and underscores the importance of addressing them as soon as possible, lest even more dangerous diseases follow this pandemic.  

Here are a couple paragraphs from this article:

"There are three ways climate influences emerging diseases. Roughly 60% of new pathogens come from animals — including those pressured by diversity loss — and roughly one-third of those can be directly attributed to changes in human land use, meaning deforestation, the introduction of farming, development or resource extraction in otherwise natural settings."

"As Christine Johnson, the associate director of the One Health Institute, an interdisciplinary epidemiological program at the University of California, Davis, puts it, global health policymakers have a responsibility to understand how climate, habitat and land use changes lead to disease. Almost every major epidemic we know of over the past couple of decades — SARS, COVID-19, Ebola and Nipah virus — jumped to people from wildlife enduring extreme climate and habitat strain, and still, “we’re naive to them,” she said. “That puts us in a dangerous place.”"

Biochar can help minimize animal-to-human transferred diseases and climate change in several ways.  You can probably identify some other ways that I’ve missed:  

  • Long term exposure to air pollution is being cited as a major contributor to death from Coronavirus and to numerous other chronic conditions, including impaired immunity.  Turning the huge volume of the world’s organic wastes into biochar, instead of burning it, would greatly reduce air pollution.  

  • ‘Enhanced’ biochar can increase crop yields in the degraded soils of many developing countries, lessening the pressure to cut down forests to create new farmland.  Vanishing forests increase animal-to-human contact and are one of the largest contributors to climate change.
  • ‘Enhanced’ biochar can help provide food security for the world’s 500 million smallholder farms; more than 2 billion people depend on them for their livelihoods.  Biochar can help protect crops against droughts and erosion from heavy rains caused by climate change.  It greatly reduces the need for expensive fertilizers.   By reducing poverty and food insecurity, biochar lessens the need for eating bushmeat and poaching wild animals.   
In addition, biochar can help the world meet many of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, including access to clean water.