Will Disease Halt Global Warming?

I'm showing my age here, but I was today reminded of an old British TV series called 'Survivors' that was very popular in the late 1970's (nothing to do with modern reality shows!). It was a bit like Mad Max, but set in Britain, and after a pandemic rather than a nuclear war. The pandemic, incidentally, was a man-made affair. A lab experiment went horribly wrong when a test-tube crashed to the floor releasing a deadly virus. The scientist subsequently spread the contagion around the globe as he flew from convention to convention.

The 1975-77 TV Series 'Survivors'
As a child I was of course suitably impressed with the concept of being one of the few remaining children left on the planet, and being able raid toy shops and supermarkets without fear of reprisal. But, it also left me with a bit of a dog-eat-dog impression of basic human need and survival. This show ran during some of the darkest days of the Cold War, where similar results from nuclear bravado were half-expected.

What does all this have to do with global warming and the environment? As the world heats up, threats of disease will become more pronounced.

China could face problems trying to control bird flu this spring due to abnormally high seasonal temperatures, the country's vice agriculture minister said.

"First, the spring season is usually prone to bird flu. Second, as the average temperature in north and central China is higher than the past, migrant birds may stay longer within the borders of China," Yin Chengjie was quoted by Xinhua news agency as saying....

The H5N1 flu virus remains mainly a virus of birds, but experts fear it could change into a form easily transmitted from person to person and sweep the world, killing millions within weeks or months....

The virus has killed 166 people since 2003, according to the World Health Organisation. - ENN

Our CO2 producing industries warm the world, and also drive people off the land to crowd into cities instead. Our food production is being centralised (the spread of H5N1 is blamed on avian factory farms, see also). All these trends bring the words 'increased vulnerability' to mind.

In regards to Bird Flu in particular, take a look at 'Bird Flu - A Virus of Our Own Hatching'. This is a book you can buy, or read online - and is a sobering exposé, showing how our modern centralised agricultural and factory farm systems are putting our health out on a limb.

The only time I felt truly comfortable about the food I put on my table was when I lived on the farm and grew most of my own... Now, I live in an apartment in the city, and am dependent on nameless, faceless strangers to grow, process and ship my food. It seems as if unethical and unsafe practices grow in direct proportion to how far we have lost the trail of accountability. So I don't always trust them to put my family's best interest over concern for their bottom line. I don't like feeling helpless, as if every trip to the grocery is a crap shoot - Vicki Williams, columnist, USA Today
We live and work out of harmony with nature. We create global warming. Global warming escalates imbalances in nature. We fall prey to the imbalances of natural systems. Global warming slowly subsides.

It's kind of ironic that if a pandemic is triggered, it may save us from global warming by stopping air travel and collapsing industries, unless of course we (like in the Survivors series) quickly hop back on the same horse that brought us here. Do we need to go through this process? Do we need to be killed off so the natural world can 'take a breather'?

Further Reading:

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  • Posted on Feb. 14, 2007. Listed in:

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