Sustainability Wellness

Sierra Club Explores Pandemics, Environmental Change

On Thursday, June 3, at 7 p.m., the Sierra Club presents The Connection Between Pandemics and Environmental Change, a Zoom presentation by Rachel Muir. Muir, a biologist and Scientist Emeritus with the US Geological Survey, will guide a discussion of zoonotic diseases and their impacts on human and natural ecosystems. A suggested resource for the discussion is the book The Pandemic Century: One Hundred Years of Panic, Hysteria, and Hubris by Mark Honigsbaum. Discussion questions will be shared with participants.

“Emerging Infectious Diseases, or EIDs, are having significant impacts on human populations and economies,” says Muir. Nearly all of these EIDs have one common feature: they are zoonotic, which means shared with other species, or involve an animal vector such as mosquitoes or ticks. “The rapid increase in the number and impact of these diseases is directly related to human-induced changes in landscapes and climate,” says Muir. “Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the fact that new diseases will emerge in the future, an understanding of the origin of EIDs and how human activities affect the spread and impact of these diseases is important. We must understand the science behind emerging diseases and pandemics to successfully address COVID-19 and future public health issues. An informed public will help our community address the current pandemic and prepare for future public health concerns.”

The event is free and open to the public. Register at

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