The Ecology of Disease
The current outbreak of SARS is indicative of the global ecosystem being out
of whack. It has been known for years that European and Asian domestication
of animals has provided for unprecedented opportunities for cross species
disease mutation. Contemporary China's system of ducks, pigs and chickens
living in close proximity to humans is a major viral breeding ground.
Granted – there are many more traditional diseases such as malaria and
tuberculosis that pose much more immediate threat than emergent diseases
such as SARS and ebola. Nonetheless, as human population grows, ecological
systems are disrupted, and once isolated disease vectors gain access to global
transportation; we can expect major epidemics. In many regards, this is a
natural response of the Earth to over-population of any one organism. Failure to
address cascading ecological collapse of global ecosystems will mean ever
greater likelihood of worldwide pestilence.Ecological sustainability is indeed
a matter of life and death.