Archive for public talk

Bidding Up Bird Flu

Posted in Ecological resilience, Evolution, Influenza, Organic agriculture, Sustainable farming with tags , , , , on June 22, 2015 by Rob Wallace

Twenty-one thousand turkeys in Otter Tail County. Forty-five thousand in Meeker County. Fifty-thousand in Kandiyohi. Fifty-six thousand in Redwood. Sixty-seven thousand in Stearns. Do I hear 76,000 in Stearns?

Here’s the talk on H5N2 I gave at the Institute on Agriculture and Trade Policy June 11. Although it’s only a half-hour, I manage to cover a lot.

I’d say there are two key take-homes. First, by dint of its industrial model, rather than a bit of bad luck, the poultry sector is well placed for selecting for and sustaining outbreaks of virulent influenza.

Second, externalizing the costs of such outbreaks–and other sources of health, ecological and economic damage–lards the sector with moral hazards of perhaps one day apocalyptic proportions.

Like an outbreak that kills a billion people.


Cafe Scientifique: The Political Science of Bird Flu

Posted in Ecological resilience, Evolution, Influenza with tags , , , , on March 6, 2009 by farmingpathogens

For those in and around the Twin Cities area:

Cafe Scientifique: The Political Science of Bird Flu
Tuesday, March 17, 2009, 7 p.m.
Bryant-Lake Bowl
810 W. Lake St., Minneapolis
$5-$10; pay what you can

H5N1, otherwise known as the bird flu virus, appears to be a leading candidate for a global pandemic. With good cause, much attention has been focused on H5N1’s molecular properties and geographic spread. In contrast, little effort has been spent in describing the virus’s social origins. Join University of Minnesota visiting assistant geography professor Robert Wallace as he relates bird flu biology to the political economies of agribusiness, global finance, and environmental degradation.