POLÁNYI CENTRE/ – iASK WORKING PAPER I.WP01
Executive Summary: Climate change is a global phenomenon that recognizes no national boundaries, political, social, religious, or economic systems, or ethnic origins. One element of climate change is the crisis of emerging diseases. This represents an existential threat to humanity; technological, heavily urbanized humanity may be at particular risk. Substantial actions can be taken to mitigate the impacts of emerging diseases. These range from the local, boots on the ground activities of citizen scientists to the most sophisticated technologies of molecular biology and satellite surveillance. These actions will not be short-term interventions, but rather will require permanent societal investments in new forms of education, scientific research, and clinical practices. Implementing them will not be cheap, but not implementing them dooms us to continue current economically unsustainable practices. A protocol with the acronym DAMA (Document, Assess, Monitor, Act) serves as the umbrella framework for achieving the goal of “anticipate to mitigate,” thereby buying time and extending human and material resources devoted to coping with the wave of emerging diseases that is only beginning. Further cost savings can be realized through necessary but unprecedented levels of cooperation both internally – among national institutions – and externally – among national and NGO organizations.