DOCU. “Pandemic Factory” by Marie Monique Robin

It’s not because Juliette Binoche is in the credits that you should have imagined it in a mass movie. The laughing actress marveling at stunning landscapes is above all to learn, just as a spectator, to what extent our human health depends on the health of animals and plants. And as a summary at the end of this trip, which included multiple meetings in eight countries on four continents, “The more we deforestation, the more biodiversity we lose, the more epidemics we have…This is the factory of epidemics”. Hence the title given by Marie Monique Robin (1), Albert London winner and multi-award winning director, to her self-produced documentary, following the publication of the homogeneous book confirmed by the editorial board, “He allowed him to patiently mature his film project”. A kind of cinematic feat performed internationally in times of pandemic.

fear of “epidemic era”

The landscapes are beautiful, from Guyana to Gabon, from Thailand to Madagascar, through Mexico. They delight the eye and captivate the mind to deliver the main message: Everything is connected. In this field, dozens of committed scholars (2) strive to make the viewer understand the bonds that unite the forests, lakes, rivers, and animals that live there—found in the great drawings of Valentin Plessy, when they remain so hidden in trees, grass, burrows, or underwater—with us. we human beings. The goal: to make people understand that “everything stays low” when we are not disturbing ecosystems but in the opposite case, the pathogens that abound in nature are ready to attack.

“If we continue to destroy ecosystems, we will witness an ‘epoch of epidemic epidemics'”, Parasitologist Serge Morand (CNRS) predicts. This terrestrial destruction (the film is still on the continents and does not explore the ocean) is mainly due to deforestation, climate extremes or urbanization, recalls Rudolph Gozlan (IRD), who can be found in Guyana, calling for “The risk of extinction of one million species, a quarter of which are mammals.”

“There is no doubt about the erosion of biodiversity”
“Biodiversity is a heritage that we have inherited and we must strive to pass it on to future generations”, insists biologist Bernard Chivasos O. Lewis, who together with Michel Sebag (CNRS) led a report to the Academy of Technologies, published Wednesday, May 18, 2022, titled The Erosion of Biodiversity. What can science say (and not say)? “Four billion years ago, living things invented information coding for DNA and today, in the face of the unsustainable nature of massive information storage on silicon, we have discovered that this is clearly an excellent biodiversity discovery.”, confirms its conclusions to the report. There is no paradox in this, but a reminder of the key and sometimes so surprising importance of clever solutions found by nature, at the time when “Erosion of biodiversity is beyond doubt”, as the introductory summary reminds us. The latter presents the latest figures in the field, emphasizing that “le rythme actuel d’extinction des espèces est entre 100 et 1000 fois plus élevé que le taux moyen depuis l’apparition de la vie sur terre, et de 10 à 100 fois plus rapide que lors de n’importe quelle extinction de masse dans” the past”.

Then the food chains get disturbed, and species end up regulating as well and end up multiplying the “depots” of pathogens (animals “healthy vectors”) that put humans at risk. It’s not just mosquitoes (650 species) or bats (more than 1,400 species), who we know also “know stress”, which the movie shows us being tested with nasal swabs, by duly protected virologists…

“Between 1 and 5 infectious disease outbreaks per year, compared to one every fifteen years until 1970.”

Friendly shrimp may be carrying the bacterium Mycoplasma that causes Buruli ulcer, a neglected tropical disease for which the World Health Organization (WHO) established a network of labs in 2019. We see that the massive breeding of domesticated animals — one billion 600 million cows, 30 billion chickens — could transform to “intermediate hosts”, which promote the humanization of viruses from wild animals. And we better understand why infectious diseases thrive, 70% of zoonoses, Between one and five occurrences per year, compared to one occurrence every fifteen years until 1970. According to World Health Organization figures. At the time of Covid19, whose exact origin we still do not know but which appeared in Wuhan (China), in an area clearly identified as vulnerable even before the onset of the epidemic, the spectator is aware of every urgency involved. But we must not forget about the photos. Marie-Monique Robin would like to point out that she makes it here A tribute to nature, which we can no longer continue to sacrifice, for the sake of sacrificing our children.. The beauty of the landscape, the grace of monkeys or birds and the laughter of Juliette Binoche help to hold out for an hour and forty, despite the alarming note.

1) “The Factory of Pandemics”, to watch on UshuaïaTV, on May 22, at 8:45 pm.

2) About thirty institutions and production associations have supported, including UNESCO, French Biodiversity Office, IRD, Cirad, Inrae, Museum of Natural History, Institute of Tropical and Public Medicine in Basel, Emory University (Atlanta).

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