Shepherd: Lessons on climate from Ebola outbreak

shepherd_crop.jpgAthletics Association Professor in the Social Sciences and nationally-recognized expert on climate Marshall Shepherd took to the pages of the Washingtom Post last week to point out connections between the latest Ebola outbreak and the challenges presented by climate change:

However, before I mention these parallels, I want to establish that I trust the expertise and knowledge of those in the infectious disease and public health communities, respectively. As an expert in weather and climate, I often see  “arm-chair expertise” or Ph.D.’s from other disciplines, questioning weather professionals that work every day in the discipline. That is not my intent here. Yes, I am a scientist. Yes, I have a PhD. But, no, I am not an expert on Ebola or any of the protocols, so I respectfully leave those critical challenges to the experts.

Instead, my perspective is to examine a couple of parallels that I have observed in meteorology that are worth considering.

We are human

In many recent weather disasters — the Moore and El Reno, Okla. tornadoes, Superstorm Sandy, the Atlanta Snowjam of 2014 — the technological or scientific weather forecasts (our “protocols”) were sound. Yet, lives were still lost and societal activities were disrupted due to human decisions, errors, or confusion about what to do.

Read the whole thing. Our thanks to Dr. Shepherd for continuing to speak out, inform and lead on the most pressing issues of the day.

Image: Marshall Shepherd