You must be wondering, why am I writing a post on Glaciers, Greta and Bill Gates for G while the theme is “Life in the times of Corona”. I am writing because there is a strong relationship between these three and Coronavirus or any new virus in the future.
Researchers from China and the U.S. embarked on a field trip to Tibet in 2015 and discovered 28 previously undiscovered virus groups—in a melting glacier. In total, they identified 33 virus groups—28 of which were completely new to science. From Tibet to the Arctic to Antarctica, glaciers and ice caps around the world are melting at alarming rates. Meltwater from glaciers and ice caps could ferry harmful pathogens along streams, rivers, and other important waterways, potentially exposing humans to new microbes, the researchers report. In recent years, researchers have pulled samples of smallpox, Spanish flu, bubonic plague, and even anthrax from thawing permafrost.
As the planet warms and the ice thaws, scientists warn we could see the re-emergence of ancient pathogens currently unknown to science. These viruses, which have laid dormant and locked away in glaciers and permafrost—permanently frozen soil—for hundreds if not thousands of years, could “wake up“.
We know the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world, while ice sheets across the planet have shown consistent thinning linked to climate change and changing weather patterns. Unless we control Climate Change we cannot stop glaciers from melting.
Greta Thunberg a seventeen-year-old Swedish girl, started the school strike for climate. She became the new face for protest against climate change. She gave a speech at the United Nations Climate Action Summit that earned her praises from common people but indifference from Global Leaders, especially Donald Trump. In her speech, she said,
“People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!“
In 2015, Bill Gates during a TED Talk five years ago, had also warned us about a global pandemic that would be too difficult to control.
He said “If anything kills over 10 million people in the next few decades, it’s most likely to be a highly infectious virus rather than a war – not missiles, but microbes,”
I do not want to create panic, but if we do not change our ways, if we do not control Climate Change then Covid19 may be just the beginning and we may come across numerous such pandemics in the future. This crisis showed us how vulnerable and helpless we are when it comes to epidemics.