'“The time has come to close the book on infectious disease,” US Surgeon General William Stewart told Congress in 1967. “We have basically wiped out infection in the United States”.
The disturbing news this week that the world is on the cusp of a “post-antibiotic era” makes this breezy claim now seem almost comically naive.
You can’t say we weren’t warned. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) already accounts for roughly 700,000 deaths per year globally and has been forecast to rise to 10 million deaths by 2050. That’s more than cancer, diabetes or cholera. And that prediction was made when we still had effective drugs.
The costs of dealing with such a crisis would be astronomical; estimates suggest it could cause a reduction of 2% to 3.5% in global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and cost the world up to $100 trillion USD.
The scariest thing is that we’ve known about this possible outcome for decades and done nothing to prevent it. It’s because our established economic models, founded on the misplaced belief that infinite ‘growth’ is both possible and desirable, are funnelling us towards oblivion.'
The independent review on The Economics of Biodiversity led by Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta has now been delivered to the government. The report underlines our failure to grasp that our economies are “embedded within Nature, and not external to it.” We rely on nature to “provide us with food, water and shelter; regulate our climate and disease; maintain nutrient cycles and oxygen production; and provide us with spiritual fulfilment and opportunities for recreation and recuperation which can enhance our health and well-being.”Read More
On 4 August 2020, a massive explosion at Beirut’s port killed at least 200 people and caused up to $15bn in damage to buildings and infrastructure – including the destruction of the public electricity company building. It was the latest blow for a country battling a 30-year energy crisis and facing chronic shortages as a result of an ageing infrastructure based around fossil fuels.Read More
In 1945, the UK’s welfare state was set up to address the want, need and misery caused by unemployment. Seventy-five years later, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, we had almost full employment in the UK – and yet we still have massive levels of poverty and precarity experienced by people in work.Read More