An Essay For Action Against Ebola

People of Earth —

We live together, one species, on a fertile rock floating in an expanse of unforgiving, deadly vacuum. Earth is our place to live, the one place we share. It is pretty amazing.

Today human civilization is greater than it has ever been. We have more people, more knowledge, trade, and progress than ever before. For hundreds of years human life has gotten better, overall. Yes, we have strife, and we have issues to tackle, but together we can and we will tackle them. We face climate and ocean changes, crises in food, water and energy, our inequity, corruption and wars. These are all things humans, with concerted effort, can solve together.

But now we have something different. We have Ebola. This is far more immediate, and far more threatening to our interconnected civilization than humans have experienced. All other threats we face resolve when human actions change. Ebola multiplies and lives now within humans, and it kills us. We have become prey on our own planet.

The last few months have shown a repeating response pattern: every step governments and health leaders take has been too late, too little. It is well understood. Human actions are late when compared with exponential growth, time factors that are very hard for the human mind to grasp. We are in month ten of this outbreak. This delayed, ineffective response pattern continues even today. Our hopes for containment of Ebola in West Africa are over. While we still need to stop the disease there, we will not contain it. Human civilization is facing a raging, uncontrolled pandemic that will break out across the globe in the next three-to-six months. This coming global Ebola pandemic is no longer debatable as to whether it will happen, it is only a question of when, and how humanity will deal with it. The continuation and success of current human civilization depends critically on what happens in the next few months.

Every country, every people on the planet need to become quickly educated about all aspects of this disease, the risks and how it keeps spreading. We need overwhelming support for public health initiatives to slow and stop the disease spread everywhere it remains. We need redoubled efforts for a vaccine. The disease in its current form will not bring down civilization, but the fear and disruption to global systems surely will without immediate and global preventative action. These actions are not happening yet.

No nation, no political leader, no international or funding agency has yet treated the Ebola threat with the urgency it deserves. We need to treat this like a fire burning in the living room of human civilization. Quite simply, nations cannot act quickly. Ebola does. We have no reliable disease models that predict how Ebola will spread. We have no social dynamic predictions to assess how broad and how disruptive the social chaos will become.

People of Earth: take more action now. Our future depends on it.

Released under CC0. October 10, 2014

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Dan Mullin is an active writer and editor for the Pluto Daily who covered the 2014 Ebola Outbreak. Mullin attended the Wake Forest School of Medicine before leaving to pursue his lifelong science goal of allowing humans to live forever via a computer/brain transfer.