A recent article by NZ herald referring to a study published in Risk Analysis Journal points to New Zealand as the potential ‘ark’ to restart civilization in case of a global pandemic or extinction event. It also revealed Australia, Iceland, and island-nations with more than 250,000 population as places of refuge.
What does a global pandemic or extinction event have to do with climate change, you might be wondering.
The paper “Climate change and human health, risks and responses” that the World Health Organization published says that climate change has a role to play in infectious disease occurrence.
Excessive rainfall and humidity have enhanced mosquito breeding causing a malaria outbreak. There will be the appearance of various infection disease like:
- cholera from water contamination and urban crowding;
- dengue fever, a mosquito-borne disease that can be fatal;
- consumption of seafood exposed to red tide from toxic algal blooms due to ocean warming; and
- Venezuelan haemorrhagic fever from rodent abundance.
The above are just examples of diseases that can build-up that environmental and climate change cause, according to the World Health Organization study.
Add to it the threats of the human-induced spread of diseases and modified organisms with the potential to exterminate humankind, as stated in the NZ Herald article.
It mentions that Dr. Matt Boyd’s study revealed that humans can wittingly or unwittingly unleash a modified organism with the potential to kill all of the humankind. Boyd is the lead author of the study and research director of Adapt Research.
Threats have never been higher with increasing advances in biotechnology or genetically-engineering disease that would threaten humanity, professor Nick Wilson of Otago University said.
He says that carriers of diseases can easily spread across land borders, but in ‘closed self-sufficient island could harbour an isolated, technologically-adept population that could repopulate the earth following a disaster.’
The article said that the researchers in the study have created a scoring system of each characteristic of each island nations like location, resources and society, and population. Australia is number 1 on the list because of its abundance of energy and food, followed closely by New Zealand then Iceland.
The study has ranked each island nations according to its population from 250,000 and above, the larger the population the better it is to repopulate the earth, the article stated.
Wilson said it’s better to have a mitigation plan for disasters and ‘extinction-level pandemic’, a strategy that needs to be in place ahead of time. The worst scenario Wilson says is the release of multiple genetically engineered pandemic at once.
It follows then that New Zealand (and other countries) invests in resiliency measures and rehearse the rapid introduction of border controls, and to collaborate with other nations like Australia, that would also most likely survive these pandemic threats, the article suggests.