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Climate Change and Risks of New Pandemics


As an Undergraduate Biological Sciences or Environmental Sciences teacher, you can use this lesson plan to teach your students about zoonosis, the increased risk of inter-species virus spillover due to climate change, infectious diseases such as COVID-19 and their modes of transmission.

In this lesson plan, students will be taught how the occurrence of newly emerging infectious diseases like COVID-19 with zoonotic (vertebrate animal to human) transmission are rising due to the closer interactions of humans and wild animals that result in an increased exposure to animal viruses. Greater human-animal conflicts are largely due to environmental changes such as habitat degradation and biodiversity loss caused by anthropogenic activities. Through this lesson plan your students will learn that human activities induced climate change in turn causes biodiversity disturbances and could be responsible for the increased risk of animal virus spillover into human populations.

Thus, the use of this lesson plan allows you to integrate the teaching of a climate science topic with a core topic in Biological Sciences and Environmental Sciences.

Learning Outcome

The tools in this lesson plan will enable students to:

  1. Learn about the influence of environmental disruptions and climate change on the occurrence of infectious diseases
  2. Describe the role of biodiversity loss and habitat degradation on altering species distribution
  3. Explain the possibility of zoonotic virus transmission due to species range shifts leading to increased human-animal interactions
  4. Discuss the impact of climate change on habitat loss, altered biotic interactions and therefore, the higher risk of inter-species virus spillover

Mapped Sustainable Development Goal(s), apart from 4 and 13


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