Showing posts with the label Pandemic

Beyond Covid 19. Are we risking yet another pandemic if we continue to embrace "assembly-line" livestock production into the future?

by Larry Powell No one would argue that Covid 19 demands our undivided attention. Surely,  defeating this "beast" has to be "Priority One." But, once it ends, and it will, here’s another key question that needs answering. Are we flirting with more such tragedies down the road if we do not soon end our love affair with an industrial, factory-style model of meat production?  Six years ago,  Dr. Margaret Chan (above), then the Director-General of the World Health Organization, delivered this positively prophetic message to an Asian investment conference.  “The industrialization of food production is an especially worrisome trend.  Confined animal feeding operations are not farms any more. They are protein factories with multiple hazards for health and the environment."                                         Photo credit -  Mercy for Animals, Manitob a "These hazards come from the crowding of large numbers of animals in very smal

Of Pandemics and Climate Calamity. An Opinion Letter.

by Larry Powell I guess you could call this a “what if” letter. Wildfire smoke from hundreds of kilometres away, clouds this Manitoba landscape. A PinP photo.  What if  we humans would listen as intently to our specialists in the earth and climate sciences as we now seem to be doing to those in infectious disease? Except for a fringe few (like the wing-nut "Frontier Centre," which likens Covid-19 to a hoax),  many of us have accepted that this is serious and lives  will be saved  if we follow public health directives during this virus's heartless rampage.   Compare this to the attention given to the decades of warnings of climate collapse and eco-system breakdown from experts in the atmospheric sciences. The differences could not be more stark.   While our Medical Health Officers and other specialists in the field of infectious diseases are, rightly, being hailed as heroes, climatologists and others in similar fields, have been ignored, at best, or

Of pandemics and politicians. (Opinion)

by Larry Powell Politicians need to be judged, not by their words, but their actions. Ontario Premier, Doug Ford has been generally well-received for his press conferences during the pandemic. Sounding good. Saying the right things. But it was under his watch, after all, that inspections of Ontario's personal care homes were slashed to save money. And we all know how tragic and deadly the situation has become within such homes in Ontario and elsewhere. Sadly, Ford's actions are consistent with a neo-liberal agenda that   has dominated the world, notably since the Reagan/Thatcher era. Cut, slash. Get governments "out of the way," Contract out. Lay off. Throw your jurisdictions "open for business" while shrinking public services like education and health. Let the market rule! (Music to the ears of the likes of Mike Harris, former Tory premier of ON. He seems to have done alright assuming the helm of one of the for-profit, private home-care companies in tha

What could our post-pandemic world look like? It depends on you and me!

by Larry Powell Like everyone else, I’m worried.   But not just about the Covid-19 pandemic.  It’s what the future holds once it ends that scares me, too. Man’s assault on our planet s imply cannot pick up where it left off when the virus hit. It’s true that our economy cannot remain at this level of lockdown forever. But, if we just come “roaring back, full tilt” when it’s over, we’ve lea rned nothing. And civilization as we know it will resume its relentless slide, once again.   So what have we learned? Lives can be saved just by slowing the frantic pace of human activity. Pollutants spewing from industrial plants, ground vehicles, jet planes and ocean vessels have dipped dramatically due to the slowdown forced by Covid. And they’re not just greenhouse gases which are dangerously heating up the Earth, spawning violent storms, rising sea levels and devastating floods (think Fort Mac.) that have gone down, significantly. They’re also the kind that get into your lun