Archive for One Health


Posted in Ecological resilience, Evolution, Influenza with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 30, 2016 by rgwallace


dayton-turkeyThe explosion, at last, lies down. As if, though–the two drug enthusiasts who got in and out of its last moment insist–out of pity, rather than because it must. –China Miéville (2015)

A season’s greetings may mark as much a farewell as a salutation.

By a full-throated onamonapia we channel our near-national bird, which, when the other national holiday is upon us, is suddenly lined up for death in the millions. And gobble gobble we continue throughout the day–and into the new year–gnawing Viking drumsticks while watching Meat Packers bludgeon Rust Belt Steelers into what for the team owners are lucrative cases of chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

By way of zooarchaeologist Stanley Olsen, Heather Horn dates our enthusiasm back before the country, to the Mayans, who among others domesticated the ocellated turkey long before the arrival of the conquistadors. Raising them caught on so wildly in Europe that the birds–mislabeled Turkey in origin by explorers who once thought themselves in India–were brought back to America by colonial Patriots bound for Massachusetts and Virginia.

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Dawn of a New Science

Posted in Ecological resilience, Evolution, Revolution with tags , , , , , , on October 6, 2014 by rgwallace
Globalized croplands

Globalization of croplands, 2004. Percentage of landscape area occupied by croplands whose products are incorporated as part of commodity chains (agricultural or otherwise) whose first consumers are located internationally. Calculations by Bergmann and Holmberg (c.f. Bergmann 2013a, Bergmann 2013b).

Bestselling David Quammen, who I skewered on Ebola, has a new book out on the virus. It’s an extract from his tome on spillovers I reviewed here.

While Quammen pays lip service to generalized poverty as one means by which the West African strain emerged, he diligently propagates the fallacy of the culture of infection.

In this ooga-booga interview he’s practically giddy with the notion proximate indigenous practices–sorcery and bushmeat–are to blame for Ebola, offering nary a word on the neoliberal policies driving deforestation and land grabbing.

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The One Wealth Approach

Posted in Ecological resilience, Evolution, Influenza, Revolution, Sustainable farming with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2014 by rgwallace

One Wealth 2I’ll be speaking on Structural One Health at the University of Minnesota this Wednesday, April 16, as part of the Institute on the Environment’s ‘Frontiers in the Environment’ speakers series.

If you are unable to make the talk in the flesh, you can watch it live online here.


Global Capital and Disease Hot Spots

Rob Wallace, Visiting Scholar, Institute for Global Studies, University of Minnesota

Wednesday, April 16, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.
IonE Seminar Room R380, Learning & Environmental Sciences Bldg., St. Paul campus, University of Minnesota

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Gordon Gecko

Posted in Evolution, Revolution with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 17, 2014 by rgwallace

Americans have dissipated their racial energy in an orgy of stone breaking. In their few years they have broken more stones than did centuries of Egyptians. And they have done their work hysterically, desperately, almost as if they knew that the stones would some day break them. –Nathanael West (1933)

I must say I disagree with Slavoj Žižek’s Lacanianism that sinthomes, the deeper jouis-sens of meaning at the heart of the materiality of the written word, qualitatively differ from mathemes, their mathematical analogs. For mathemes also carry libidinal investment and are also subjectivized not only along historical trajectories long and short but by deeply personal jouissance.

That doesn’t spoil mathematics. It just makes it part of the fabric of human experience, for better and, as the strange video here demonstrates in form and content, for worse.

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We Need a Structural One Health

Posted in Ecological resilience, Influenza, Revolution, Sustainable farming with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 3, 2012 by rgwallace

No one ever says to you, “Lie to me.” The enemy says, You will do and believe certain things. It is your decision to falsify, in the face of his coercion. I am not sure this is what the enemy wants, or anyway the usual enemy. Only a Greater Enemy, so to speak, would want that, one with greater objectives, and a clearer idea of what the ultimate purpose of all motion is. –Philip K. Dick (1974)

Perhaps unbeknownst even to themselves, many an epidemiologist, veterinarian and wildlife biologist confounds episodic and structural crises.

The good doctors gun from outbreak to outbreak, isolating samples, sequencing genetic markers, administering prophylaxes, and, for epizooses, culling the sickest and burying the dead. To be sure, that kind of firefighting is critical. We can’t have deadly pathogens running amok now, can we?

But the oft-difficult mechanics of an intervention do not lend credence they address the cause of the outbreak. Disease isn’t synonymous with its etiological agent or the map of its victims, whether or not either is placed within a One Health context that acknowledges the functional ecologies humans, livestock and wildlife share.

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Whose Food Footprint?

Posted in Ecological resilience, Evolution, Influenza, Organic agriculture, Revolution, Sustainable farming with tags , , , , , , , , on May 23, 2012 by rgwallace

Inside the network of NGOs and intergovernmental agencies addressing food insecurity, disease, and environmental crises, the ‘c’-word–and it isn’t ‘cancer’–is rarely, if ever, publicly uttered.

Last year a trio of us attempted to say the word plainly, if only in passing, in a broad history of food crises we submitted to an OIE bulletin. But the piece was bowdlerized in its editing and all references to capitalism and critiques thereof excised.

More recently, in a more informal venue, my politic comments on the capitalist origins of epizootic outbreaks were repeatedly deleted from what was until then an ecumenical One Health Facebook page.

It is in this context we wrote a paper, now just published in Human Geography, explicitly connecting capitalism, agriculture and the environment. HG is put out by a non-profit foundation in an effort to skirt academic profiteering by multinational media conglomerates. It is at this point one of the few journals willing and able to publish such a piece.

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Fork in the Road

Posted in Ecological resilience, Organic agriculture, Sustainable farming with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2011 by rgwallace

This is the final installment of the ‘big picture’ on global food crises I co-authored with Richard Kock and Robyn Alders. The first two installments can be found here and here.

We learned food insecurity and disease outbreaks can serve as a cover for a particular capital-securitized science tied into spreading the Livestock Revolution, with profound effects on diet and health worldwide.

Studies of bird flu outbreaks, for instance, at one and the same time repeatedly embody the premises of and serve as tautological arguments for the transition into highly capitalized farming. ‘Biosecurity’ effectively permits agribusiness, a likely source for pathogenic influenzas, to dispossess indigenous farmers, spreading hunger and disease and despoiling local agro-ecologies. The resulting environmental collapses are treated as due cause for subsequent dispossession.

That is, agricultural pathways are as much, if not more, about controlling the means of food production as they are about the food produced.

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