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  • - Do you think it's more correct

  • to say that pandemics may increase with climate change,

  • or will increase with climate change?

  • - I feel comfortable saying will increase

  • with climate change.

  • - Hello, I'm Auri Jackson,

  • connecting with you from my bedroom because of coronavirus.

  • This is actually not a desk, it's a $20 dresser from Ikea.

  • I live in Los Angeles, where myself and other Angelenos

  • are currently sheltering in place

  • and are working on our screenplays at home

  • rather than in cafes.

  • In this video, I'm gonna be explaining to you

  • why pandemics may increase in a warming world

  • and interview an expert about it.

  • I'm also going to be telling some mediocre jokes

  • because this (beeps)

  • is scary as (beeps), (heavy metal music)

  • and humor is my coping mechanism.

  • See, I know (upbeat music)

  • that your grandparents and parents have been talking to you

  • just so much about climate change

  • that I thought it might be refreshing

  • for you to hear a young person tackle the issue

  • and explore how it relates to COVID-19.

  • - Hi, I'm Alanna Shaikh and I specialize in global health

  • and particular in strengthening global health systems

  • and what happens to those systems

  • when they face a severe shock.

  • I think there's an interesting parallel

  • between our response to COVID-19

  • and our response to climate change.

  • I think in a lot of ways, the response to COVID-19

  • has been like climate change at high speed.

  • First you get the experts saying,

  • "There's a massive problem coming."

  • And governments and regular people saying,

  • "Don't be silly, you're overreacting.

  • "We're not understanding the data

  • "or choosing to ignore the data

  • "because it's too frightening."

  • And then you see it start affecting people

  • that are more distant to you.

  • And then suddenly it's in your backyard

  • and everything's on fire.

  • - In case you missed it, our world has warmed

  • by about one degree Celsius

  • or 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit from preindustrial levels.

  • Since the industrial revolution,

  • we've been burning unprecedented amounts of fossil fuels

  • that release greenhouse gasses like CO2,

  • into our atmosphere and trap heat from the sun,

  • causing our average global temperature to rise.

  • So basically, (heavy metal music)

  • it's like we live in a house where none of the windows open

  • and we don't have A/C and we decided it was a good idea

  • to feed everyone beans and burn all our (beeps) furniture.

  • Now, a one degree difference (inquisitive music)

  • doesn't seem like a lot,

  • but even half a degree of warming

  • can mean more deadly heatwaves, increased water scarcity,

  • entire island nations disappearing,

  • more climate refugees trying to find homes,

  • more floods, droughts, fires, hurricanes, and diseases,

  • but it's fine, right?

  • (carefree music)

  • Let's just watch "Love Is Blind" on Netflix.

  • (record scratches)

  • Okay, so let's get into the reasons why pandemics

  • may increase in a warming world.

  • (inquisitive music)

  • There may be an increase in epidemics

  • when there is a loss of natural habitat

  • due to climate change,

  • which could cause humans

  • and animals to compete in closer proximity for resources,

  • potentially spreading disease.

  • This does sound like a bummer,

  • however, I would love to watch Gwyneth Paltrow wrestle

  • a green juice from the jaws of a mountain lion,

  • but that's an unlikely outcome

  • of climate change, unfortunately.

  • - So one of the big challenges around climate change

  • and infectious disease and zoonotic diseases in particular

  • is that extreme weather events

  • and other kinds of climate alterations

  • also change animals' lives and animals' habits.

  • On the one hand, we have people forcing themselves

  • into animal territory that they've never been in before

  • and on the other hand, they see animals being disrupted

  • by a confusing, incomprehensible climate

  • then start blundering back into human environments

  • that they were previously avoiding.

  • And those kinds of contacts between animals and humans

  • are what bring us zoonotic diseases

  • and what could well be part of our next pandemic.

  • - In the 2014 Ebola epidemic,

  • climate change contributed to the destruction

  • of natural habitats for animals like bats in West Africa,

  • forcing the bats into closer proximity to humans.

  • Some hypothesize that this

  • is how the Ebola outbreak began in Guinea.

  • (inquisitive music) (bubble popping)

  • - Part of the body's immune response

  • is our ability to kill off pathogens

  • like bacteria and viruses that cause disease

  • by becoming feverish and creating an environment

  • that is inhospitable for pathogens to survive.

  • Or that will make you wanna take off all your clothes,

  • as Nelly would say.

  • However, as the planet warms,

  • pathogens evolve to become more resistant

  • to high temperatures.

  • For example, on a very hot summer day,

  • many bacteria might die.

  • But those that do survive are the stronger

  • and more adaptable bacteria and go on to reproduce,

  • and pass on their heat resistant genetics.

  • Theoretically one day as external temperatures

  • continue to rise,

  • our bodies' ability to kill off bacteria

  • with the natural heat of a fever will become less effective,

  • just like our ability

  • to resist recreating embarrassing TikTok dances has.

  • Often times, disease is carried by animals

  • before it spreads to humans.

  • However, animals can have differing body temperatures

  • at which they can sustain or fight off pathogens,

  • which are not always equal to ours.

  • For example, it is believed that COVID-19

  • may have spread from humans to bats.

  • Bats run a lot hotter than humans.

  • Their body temperature is commonly

  • as hot as 105 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • So they can carry pathogens that don't hurt them,

  • but that can be hugely detrimental to humans.

  • Theoretically as a the planet warms,

  • bats and Joe Exotic will still be protected

  • by their high body temperatures

  • but we will be far more vulnerable.

  • Just kidding about Joe Exotic,

  • but I don't know about the Carole Baskin.

  • (inquisitive music) (bubble popping)

  • As the world warms, we could see the spread

  • of tropical diseases like Yellow and Dengue Fever

  • in places that they haven't historically been,

  • like in North America.

  • To be clear, COVID-19 is not a tropical disease

  • or a thing to mock, by touching a bunch of microphones.

  • - A warming planet expands the range

  • that certain pathogens are comfortable in.

  • Right now there's a category of diseases

  • called Tropical Diseases.

  • And as more of the world falls into a tropical zone,

  • those Tropical Diseases will spread.

  • There are places in the world right now

  • that you don't get malaria

  • and we'll start seeing malaria there.

  • - According to Maria Di Aguasar

  • at the Yale School of Public Health,

  • global warming caused by humans

  • is likely to increase infection rates

  • of mosquito borne diseases like malaria,

  • Dengue Fever, and West Nile Virus,

  • this would occur because a warmer planet

  • could create more mosquito friendly habitats,

  • increasing the chances of humans getting bit

  • by mosquitoes carrying diseases.

  • And unfortunately, it won't be

  • just the party-loving spring breakers

  • who refuse to social distance who get bit.

  • (inquisitive music) (bubble popping)

  • Global drought could also lead to massive loss of homes,

  • force migration into urban areas

  • and increase vulnerability to sickness

  • due to overcrowding and lack of resources.

  • In Syria, a drought from 2006 to 2010

  • killed off 80% of the country's livestock,

  • forcing over 1.5 million Syrians

  • into already crowded urban centers

  • and further stressing the resources

  • of a nation on the verge of social uprising,

  • war, and a humanitarian crisis.

  • - I believe the way we treat climate refugees

  • is going to lead to disease outbreaks.

  • Because when people start moving around

  • and then instead of putting them in decent conditions,

  • we pack 'em into things like refugee camps,

  • with limited access to water

  • and limited access to decent toilet facilities.

  • You're going to get disease outbreaks

  • and those are going to spread.

  • (inquisitive music) (bubble popping)

  • - Another fun thing for us to worry about,

  • is the Arctic permafrost melting

  • at increasing rates due to our earth getting hotter,

  • which may unleash ancient viruses and bacteria

  • that haven't been seen in centuries.

  • Like The Dougie, I miss that dance.

  • Frozen permafrost is the perfect environment

  • for microbes, bacteria, and viruses

  • to remain alive for thousands of years.

  • Maybe even up to a million years

  • because it is cold, dark, and lacks oxygen.

  • Like all the comment sections on YouTube.

  • Some viruses that may emerge could even predate human life

  • and be viral diseases experienced

  • by now extinct species like Neanderthals.

  • But your friend who's D.N.A. test came back

  • with 1% Neanderthal will be fine.

  • Or they won't, I don't know.

  • In 2005, N.A.S.A. scientists were able

  • to revive bacteria that had been frozen

  • in an Alaskan pond for 32 thousand years.

  • The microbes they released had been frozen

  • since wooly mammoths were alive.

  • And once thawed from the ice,

  • the microbes began just swimming around,

  • seemingly unaffected.

  • The same scientists tried to revive Vine,

  • but were unsuccessful.

  • (inquisitive music) (bubble popping)

  • Wow, what a bevy of exciting,

  • new ways for the human species to perish

  • that we have to look forward to.

  • Unfortunately the climate crisis isn't a far off reality,

  • like One Direction getting back together,

  • but something that we're already experiencing

  • and will sadly continue to experience in our lifetimes

  • like forgetting to cancel a free trial of something

  • when you only really wanted to watch that one show.

  • In case this video really stressed you out, I'm sorry.

  • But there are things you can do.

  • Without a doubt, governments

  • and corporations should be the ones

  • that are doing the big moves to address the climate crisis.

  • But individuals can act to.

  • This crisis is so big and crazy

  • like all the drama in Joe Exotic's life,

  • that we need everyone doing everything they can

  • on every level, big and small.

  • I literally can't stop talking about Joe Exotic, I'm sorry.

  • During this time at home

  • when a lot of us are online shopping,

  • a small thing you can do right away

  • is to consider consolidating your orders together.

  • Instead of ordering rolls of toilet paper separately,

  • order them together and opt for slower shipping times

  • to help cut down on emissions.

  • Maybe you really need a vagina candle in two days,

  • who am I to tell you you don't, but think about it.

  • And next time you're on the toilet,

  • look and see if your favorite brand

  • has a sustainability plan.

  • And if it's a B.S. green washing one,

  • consider supporting a sustainable brand instead.

  • Yes, there's more you can do. (record scratching)

  • But I'm pleading with you to start somewhere, anywhere,

  • to help this blue marble we call home.