The coronavirus has deep roots in climate crisis and breakdown. In a word: Zoonosis.
Zoonoses are infectious diseases that fatally strike back after humanity extracts too deeply from non-human environments, which are under repeated siege from capitalism and worse.
Wildlife trade and habitat encroachment have slowly come into focus, as the threat analysis and response to coronavirus extends beyond the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market where it likely originated.
However, the focus on encroachment and trafficking is evidently not sharp enough for a technocracy too reliant on pharmaceutical, defense and other STEM industries to save enough lives to make a significant impact on the disease’s exponential spread.
Indeed, the unfurling nightmare of coronavirus shines a searing light on what happens when humanity ignores, on purpose, the lethal blowback of biodiversity extinction.
Also designated an infodemic by the World Health Organization, COVID-19 outbreak follows a similar pattern of other contagion cli-fi, like Ebola and SARS. The latter was traced to horseshoe bats, while the former was traced to a long-fingered bat near, tellingly, a mine shaft. This disturbing nexus of capitalism and extinction will only intensify and worsen, as mining and other invasive extraction industries annihilate species and habitats, setting off epidemics and perhaps even pandemics.
The more specific language is simple: We must repair and accelerate our efforts to protect habitat and biodiversity conservation as specifically scientific solutions to these outbreaks.
This specificity makes much more sense, and will save many more lives, of humans and non-humans, than the conventionally accepted scientific solutions of patented vaccines and international threat response. The former attacks the cause, while the latter attacks the effects.
If you analyze the mainstream responses, they mostly point toward these technocratic escape hatches, rather than existentially necessary environmental remediations. CNN argues that we need scientists to work more cooperatively to create stronger vaccines, and other disease prevention efforts – without noting the need to stop creating the pathways for these infectious diseases to transcend their natural habitats and hosts as a first principle.
Secretary of Commerce (and investment banker) Wilbur Ross said the quiet part out loud, when he asserted that the coronavirus outbreak is a business opportunity to increase American jobs. The devastating consequences – over 2,000 deaths so far, and exponentially rising – of this environmental crisis is actually a good thing, to those who would lean on technocracy and capitalism.
And so the race is on to create the best vaccine and cash in. It’s a self-fulfilling extinction until we shut down the extraction industries unleashing the monsters haunting our sleep of reason.