Archive for Antipode

‘Big Farms’ Makes Big Reviews

Posted in Ecological resilience, Evolution, Influenza with tags , , , , , , , on December 21, 2016 by rgwallace

bfmbf-final-front-coverReviews of my book Big Farms Make Big Flu are beginning to roll in.

Spatial ecologist Marius Gilbert reviews Big Farms for Lancet Infectious Diseases:

The popular narrative of deadly viruses emerging from wild animal reservoirs clearly appeals to humankind’s deeply rooted fascination with wildlife and its dangers. But isn’t such a focus on the zoonotic origin of emerging infectious diseases distracting attention from the more important social, economic, and cultural forces operating at different spatial and temporal scales and contributing to the chain of causality leading to epidemics?

In his book, Big farms make big flu: dispatches on influenza, agribusiness, and the nature of science, evolutionary ecologist Rob Wallace calls on virology, phylogeography, political ecology, mathematical modelling, and economics to tackle those questions by taking us on a rich and fascinating journey through the multiple layers of causality in the emergence of disease. In parallel to multiple dispatches on influenza and other emerging infectious diseases, Wallace addresses a number of biocultural issues linked to the globalisation of food and fibre markets…

What makes Wallace’s book a must-read for those concerned with emerging infectious diseases, and many other issues emerging from modern food systems, is the breadth of interrelated themes and the richness and thought-provoking nature of the assemblage. Readers will put down this book thinking of emerging infectious diseases in a different light; cognisant of their multiple and intertwined root causes in the context of our rapidly changing agro-ecological environment.

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Breeding Influenza: The Political Virology of Offshore Farming

Posted in Evolution, Influenza, Sustainable farming with tags , , , , , on November 25, 2009 by rgwallace

What better way to medicate against a holiday’s genocidal origins and the hunger now swelling worldwide in the wake of a banker-brought recession than with a bellyful of turkey, stuffing, yams, and pumpkin pie? Despite its dark ambiguities, Thanksgiving remains my favorite American holiday. Take a breath, eat well, love your family, make time for friends, and, a few drinks later, curse God, badmouth your boss, and regroup for the descent into winter. Here in Minneapolis, dusk is approaching its solstice nadir. Five in the afternoon and pitch black.

Thanksgiving obviously reminds us too of the pathogens the livestock breeding that produces the birds most of us will be chowing on also offers. If the bone breaks your way, you might with sardonic irony wish for a way out of this and subsequent pandemics. It isn’t, of course, merely a matter of a little luck (although that would help). There are due causes for the bad things that happen, often specifically related to the decisions people in power and in the money make. I believe we can think through these fixes and with enough courage to act in the face of threats to life and fortune change the world’s course.

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