Extreme weather events and scientific research in the Anthropocene epoch

The catastrophic flood which dramatically affected last May a large area of Emilia-Romagna region, in northern Italy, reminds us once again of the Italian territory's intrinsic fragility.
Published in Microbiology
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Indeed, this is the most recent within a long series of similar tragic, extreme weather events which have hit Italy throughout the last 13 years. Within such context, the main driver of which appears to be climate change, special emphasis should be placed upon global warming, keeping well in mind that the last 8 years (2015-2022) have been the hottest ever experienced by Mother Earth across the last 140 years (Di Guardo, 2023).

"How can we imagine to stay healthy in a sick world?", asked Pope Francis in his missive written three years ago to the President of Columbia for the "World Environment Day", while the entire globe was dramatically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, a clear-cut example - at least in part - of a climate change-driven "public health emergency of international concern" caused by the SARS-CoV-2 betacoronavirus!

And, while the catastrophic Emilia-Romagna's flooding event once again underscores the extremely urgent and no more postponable need to invest money, much (and never enough, anyway!) money into what I would call an "extreme weather event-related preparedness and readiness operational machine" at a national level, it should be additionally emphasized that Italy continues to invest for many years slighly more than 1% of its "inner/internal domestic product" in public research funding, which is an inadmissible situation when compared with a 2% spent on average by European Union Countries. Ironically enough, anyway, the Italian research community ranks 8th on a global scale for the prestige and quality of scientific publications, with the aforementioned, inadequate public research funding largely justifying the "brain drain" which chronically affects our Nation since at least fifty years!

As a matter of fact, climate change, global warming and climate change-related health issues should be faced by adopting an ad hoc "mind and paradigm change" and through a multidisciplinary, transnational and transcontinental, basic and applied research effort, constantly inspired by the "One Health" concept/principle, constantly reminding us that human, animal and environmental health are tightly and reciprocally interconnected.

Last but not least, if not most importantly, the money sums invested in the "prevention" are exceedingly lower than those spent on the "therapy" of natural disasters, as the tragic flooding event occurred in Emilia-Romagna is clearly showing us, and this is something we should never forget.

Errare Humanum est, Perseverare autem Diabolicum!

References

Di Guardo G. (2023). Land-to-sea pathogen transfer. Veterinary Record 192: 378-379.

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