(Illustration found here).
Despite the breakdown of a lot of democratic shit this past few years in many places worldwide, including the US, along with other social/cultural aspects, we’re all bound together by the only-one planet we inhabit.
Climate change is a shared problem, and it’s an issue maybe also resulting in the COVID-19 pandemic.
A new study found warming temperatures might have shifted animal living zones — via ScienceAlert yesterday:
If last year’s climate change fueled megafires and the global pandemic have taught us anything, it’s how interconnected we all are with each other and our environment.
Now, we have some early hints that both climate change and the cause of the pandemic may also be intertwined — through bats.
Bats have a notorious ability to live with viruses that destroy other animals.
While their superpowered immune systems have been a blessing for them — allowing these airborne mammals to thrive around the world — it’s a curse for the rest of us, as they carry these viruses with them wherever they go.
Now, a new study found that as the climate has warmed over the last century, the increase of sunlight, carbon dioxide, and changes in precipitation converted southern China’s tropical shrublands to savannas and woodland — prime habitat for bats.
And over 40 new bat species moved in.
“Understanding how the global distribution of bat species has shifted as a result of climate change may be an important step in reconstructing the origin of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said zoologist Robert Beyer from Cambridge University.
“As climate change altered habitats, species left some areas and moved into others – taking their viruses with them,” explained Beyer.
“This not only altered the regions where viruses are present, but most likely allowed for new interactions between animals and viruses, causing more harmful viruses to be transmitted or evolve.”
Three out of four emerging infectious diseases in people are zoonotic diseases — they come from animals.
And coronaviruses compose over a third of all sequenced bat viruses.
The building blocks of the 2002 SARS pandemic were found within bats from a single cave, and now their bodies are prime suspects of having brewed the precursors of SARS-CoV-2.
Between them, the 40 relatively recent migrant bat species to China’s Yunnan province carry more than 100 types of coronaviruses.
Genetic evidence suggests the ancestor of SARS-CoV-2 comes from this same region.
And note to world: ‘“The fact that climate change can accelerate the transmission of wildlife pathogens to humans should be an urgent wake-up call to reduce global emissions,” said biogeographist Camilo Mora from the University of Hawai’i, Manoa.‘
Last month, a 10-member World Health Organization team started an investigation in the Chinese city of Wuhan to determine the origins of the COVID outbreak, which reportedly came from a bat (BBC):
Team leader Peter Ben Embarek told AFP news agency just before the trip that it “could be a very long journey before we get a full understanding of what happened”.
“I don’t think we will have clear answers after this initial mission, but we will be on the way,” he said.
China has been foot-dragging in opening-up about the start-point/details of the pandemic, but apparently the research is still on-going — the group and has visited a hospital where many of the first victims were treated, and the wet food market where the virus emerged in December 2019.
And last week (per the Guardian):
The team, led by WHO virus expert Peter Ben Embarek, arrived at the heavily guarded Wuhan Institute of Virology at about 9.30am on Wednesday.
“I am looking forward to a very productive day, meeting the key people here and asking all the important questions that need to be asked,” team member Peter Daszak, who is the president of the EcoHealth Alliance, said on arrival.
Notwithstanding the ugly shit, people of earth are way-interconnected, and like climate change, it’s only going to get worse…
(Illustration found here).