Animals, Climate Change and Global Health

A series of six seminars with leading experts from around the world, with the aim of inspiring an in-depth conversation – and actions – at the nexus animals x climate change x global health.

COVID-19 has shaken up the entire world in a jiffy: within just a few weeks, we have observed heavy lockdowns, new laws being drawn up, extensive use of emergency powers, shifts in who makes decisions and how they are made, and unforeseen consequences for marginalized and newly marginalized individuals.

Animals, climate change and global health are a nexus of high, contemporary relevance in the context of the coronavirus crisis since most infectious diseases are zoonotic, meaning they move from animals to humans and threaten to cause epi- and pandemics. Habitat loss, industrial animal agriculture, and a collapsing climate all threaten to increase zoonotic disease outbreaks in incidence, number, and severity. This crisis is not a one-time outlier and cannot be studied in isolation. Instead, it forces us to consider the bigger picture, including our relations to nature, our treatment of non-human animals, and the fact that the world, as we have come to know it, is not infinite. 

For this webinar series, we invited experts from a range of disciplines to share with us their knowledge during six interactive sessions.

To see recordings of each webinar, click on the session links below.

Session 1: Animals, Pandemics and Global Health – September 18, 2020

In the first session, we will explore how human use of wild and domestic animals for food, in combination with environmental destruction and habitat loss, leads to an increase in zoonotic diseases. How can we prevent the future development of zoonoses that may turn into epi- and pandemics? More information

Session 2: COVID-19 Research: With or Without Animals? – October 16, 2020

We will use SARS-CoV2 as an example to discuss why using research methods and tools that are based on human biology is crucial to finding effective and safe treatments and cures for human illnesses. How can we create regulatory changes that remove animals from these requirements? More information

Session 3: Animals in Crises – November 11, 2020

The ongoing climate crisis, in combination with the Corona crisis, has made it patently clear that disasters are here to stay. Our future and the future of non-human animals will critically depend on whether, and to what extent, our interests are being considered in disaster regulation. More information

Session 4: Animals Affected by Climate Change – November 20, 2020

We want to gain a deeper understanding of which animals are most vulnerable to climate change and how action in response to climate change is affecting animals. Will climate change do more good or harm to animals, and how can we tell? More information 

Session 5: Animals as Drivers of Climate Change – December 9, 2020

A focal point of this session will be the link between agriculture and climate change. We’d also like to gather thoughts on envisioning a post-animal agriculture future and on the role and status of animals in a changing climate. More information

Session 6: The Future of Animal Politics – January 21, 2021 

We will reflect on the insights from the previous sessions and identify ways of moving forward in theory and practice. Specifically, we are looking to assemble scholars to map future areas of research at the juncture of animal studies, climate change, racial injustice  and global health.  More information

All photos: © Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals, except header photo: © Kelly Guerin / We Animals. Used with permission of We Animals Media