Ecology is a branch of science concerned with the interrelationships oforganisms and their environment.
An ecosystem is a community, together with itsnonliving factors existing together. Scientifically, a community consists of acollection of creatures that live in a particular place together. The ComingPlague was a novel that outlined how each epidemic has been a direct result ofeach step of human progression. The diseases covered in layman’s terms wereMachupo, Marburg, Yellow Fever, Meningitis, Lassa Fever, Ebola, Swine, Flu,Legionaire’s Disease, HIV/AIDS, Toxic Shock Syndrome, Hantavirus, Malaria,Seal Plague, Tuberculosis and Cholera.
Humans have not been exempt from thecatastrophic results of a disruption in atmosphere nor disruption of the foodchain. By humans viewing themselves master, their methodology in progression hasresulted in devastation. The discovery that most epidemics were bacterial orparasitic came only after a campaign in 1955. Dr. Jonus Salkis established thePolio Vaccine and Americans felt as though nothing could go wrong in terms ofhealth. By 1963 everything fell apart; developing countries such as Indiacontributed as much as 1/3 of their budgets towards Malaria control.
Also duringthat period of “Health Transition” diverse plant life yielded effects ofpesticides and the long term results were overwhelmed with destructive insects. Consequently, resistance amongst insects increased significantly. By the1970’s society acknowledged that there was a direct effect of pollutants onhuman existence. At that point it was recognized that environmental destructioncould not be corrected within a time frame that contemporary humans wouldwitness at their rate of progression, the analogy used for human survival wasthe Cretaceous period dinosaur die-off. The time had come to look at ecologybeginning at the macro-level in order to allow nature to run its course andavoid any further destruction for the sake of progress.
Even still the issueswere even greater than global awareness and cleaning. In 1981 the emergence ofthe human immunodeficiency virus was seen as an indication of things to come. Humans had learned little from prior diseases; response and reaction to newmicrobes that attack the defensive weapons used to protect human beings, was nogreater than thirty years before. The initial responses being that ignoring theseverity of the new microbe would have made it go away. The author provided achronological summary of the emergence of new microbes and the research methodsimplemented in order to isolate the source as well as the support or lack offrom society.
The book was informative and easy reading, while heighteningawareness about the ecosystem and the human role. The author was successful incapturing attention and maintaining interest through simple accounting ofevents. The emotions of those involved were given as the events were presentedand the actual research was detailed and well incorporated. Surprisingly, TheComing Plague was enjoyable and intense. At each new search for the source of anepidemic there was anticipation of what the cause was that particular time.
Theonly aversion with the book was the paranoia that I have developed. The bookstruck an interest to learn more about the ecosystem and made me aware thatlearning need not be agonizing.