September 2020 (bonus episode for podcast launch)
This episode explores the links between nature and COVID-19, and between nature and zoonotic disease in general. We examine the common assertion that the degradation or destruction of ecosystems is a cause of pandemics, and not just correlated with them. David helps to alleviate some (but perhaps not all) of my concerns about the accuracy of the literature on this subject.
David Duthie is a conservationist who worked on biodiversity for many years in the United Nations in Nairobi, Geneva and Montreal. Although he is now retired he remains involved in conservation at the local level, in Oxford, and he has built an electronic library of (at time of writing) almost 75,000 publications related to biodiversity.
Links to resources:
SARS-CoV-2 and the three steps necessary to prevent the next pandemic - A piece by David in his capacity as senior management consultant to BES-Net, an initiative of the United Nations Development Programme.
Time to exonerate the pangolin from the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to humans - We found this peer-reviewed paper after our discussion - it regards evidence that the pangolin may, in fact, not be involved in the zoonosis of COVID-19.
Understanding China’s wildlife markets: Trade and tradition in an age of pandemic - Discusses how wet markets are returning across China despite a ban, and tries to clarify their historical and cultural significance.
Rampant destruction of forests ‘will unleash more pandemics’ - A Guardian article that makes the claim investigated in our discussion, with a more comprehensive explanation than others I have read.
‘Heinous!’: Coronavirus researcher shut down for Wuhan-lab link slams new funding restrictions - An article in the journal, "Nature", elaborating on a point made by David in the episode.
Perspectives on the Economics of the Environment in the Shadow of Coronavirus - An entire issue of the journal, "Environmental and Resource Economics", on the many facets of the environmental economics of the coronavirus.
U.S. Will Revive Global Virus-Hunting Effort Ended Last Year - A New York Times article about plans to re-start the scientific network that for a decade watched for new pathogens dangerous to humans, after the current administration let the initiative "die".