Dr. Justina Ray of Wildlife Conservation Society Canada on Why The Pandemic is Telling Us That Our Relationship with Nature is Broken

July 16, 2020, 1-2 pm Eastern Time

Cost: $10

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A recording of the webinar will be provided to registrants.  Please note, all participants will receive a confirmation email and a link to join the webinar through Zoom.

As COVID 19 has swept across the planet, a great deal of attention has been focused on human health and socio-economic fallout. Much less attention has been given to the root causes of the spillover event that led to this virus spreading to human communities. But with the interface between human communities and wild places constantly expanding, we need to pay much more attention to rethinking our relationship with wild places and their inhabitants. In this talk, Justina will summarize the latest scientific findings on how this particular pandemic was sparked, the links between declines in biodiversity and loss of intact ecosystems round the world and the rise of viral spillover events, along with policy implications. Although the origins of this pandemic are far away from Canada, much of what has been learned is applicable here. In a country with some of the most extensive intact wild areas in the world, we are still seeing the spread of diseases, like Lyme disease, that are directly linked to the disruption of wild systems.

Dr. Justina Ray has been President and Senior Scientist of Wildlife Conservation Society Canada since its incorporation in 2004 and part of the global WCS family –  the only large conservation organization with an embedded Health Program. In addition to overseeing the operations of this non-governmental organization, Justina is involved in research and policy activities associated with conservation-based planning, environmental assessment and biodiversity conservation, with a particular focus on wildlife in northern boreal landscapes. She has been appointed to numerous government advisory panels related to species at risk and land use planning in Ontario and Canada and was co-chair of the Terrestrial Mammals Subcommittee of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada between 2009-2017. She is Adjunct Professor at the University of Toronto (Department of Ecology and Evolution; Graduate Department of Forestry)and Trent University (Environmental & Life Sciences Graduate Program).