Discover contributing editor Marsa (Prescription for Profits: How the Pharmaceutical Industry Bankrolled the Unholy Alliance Between Science and Business, 1997) calls for “swift and decisive action” under American leadership to launch a worldwide “medical Marshall Plan.”
The author pulls together evidence to support her proposal to create a medical and public health infrastructure adequate to blunt the impact of global warming. She has consulted in-depth with experts in the areas of epidemiology, public health and disease control from the Centers for Disease Control, the British Medical Association publication The Lancet, and the Emerging Infectious Disease Program organized by Duke University and the National University of Singapore, among others. Marsa pays special attention to the re-emergence of diseases thought to have been eradicated or controlled within the U.S. and the emergence of new virus-borne diseases arising especially from Asia. The comeback of Dengue fever in the Brownsville/Matamoros area of Texas and the persistence of diseases like fungus-borne Arizona Valley Fever and the rodent-transmitted hantavirus also indicate regression. In Asia, supplies of clean drinking water, sewer and sanitation services, trash removal and electricity supplies are inadequate or not available, situations similar to that in many of the colonias in the border areas of Texas. The modern speed of worldwide transmission compounds the problem. Marsa also examines earlier models of New Deal civil engineering programs in the West and Southwest to control and supply water and power and the Dutch record in successfully organizing the construction of facilities to resist encroachment from the oceans. These complement her concern with the availability of medical and health infrastructures.
Another well-written and persuasive wake-up call for serious action to be taken against the consequences of global warming.