On Feb. 8, I attended the "Climate to COVID: Seeing the Syndemic" lecture held by Dr. Kahl Maher. This was part of the virtual "Changing Climate, Changing World Lecture Series" which takes place weekly on Mondays at 7 p.m. The series is open to students, who can receive credit for the course, and is available to the public as well.
The main topic of the lecture was syndemics which was defined as the adverse interaction of diseases and other major world afflictions. These include infections, chronic non-communicative diseases, mental health problems, behavioral conditions, toxic exposure and malnutrition.
We are currently experiencing a syndemic due to COVID-19 and climate change. Dr. Maher discussed how the two do not cause one another, but the consequences of their simultaneous occurrence need to be explored.
One possible effect of climate change on pandemics in general is the movement of animal populations. Organisms carrying diseases may come into contact with humans as their habitats shrink and change due to rising sea levels, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.
Salisbury University should continue to monitor its surrounding environment and animal population migrations as global warming continues. When COVID-19 becomes more manageable, the college should keep its disease-fighting tactics on standby.
Pandemics could become a more frequent phenomenon in the near future with encroaching animal migration.
COVID-19 and climate change will have lasting, harmful effects on each of us and our environment.
The initial outbreak caused various changes in our daily lives. Some of those changes might not disappear as quickly as we want them to. Others may be here to stay.
I found this lecture to be an eye-opening experience that covered topics otherwise left unmentioned in classrooms. Other ways that COVID-19 and global warming impact our world will be covered throughout the semester in this series.
More information on the "Changing Climate, Changing World Lecture Series" can be found at the Fulton school website.
By HAYLEE OLLEY
Featured image courtesy of Brad Boardman.