Diversity lost: COVID-19 as a phenomenon of the total environment

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenKommentare / DebattenForschung


  • Roberto Cazzolla Gatti
  • Lumila Paula Menéndez
  • Alice Laciny
  • Hernán Bobadilla Rodríguez
  • Guillermo Bravo Morante
  • Esther Carmen
  • Christian Dorninger
  • Flavia Fabris
  • Nicole D.S. Grunstra
  • Stephanie L. Schnorr
  • Julia Stuhlträger
  • Luis Alejandro Villanueva Hernandez
  • Manuel Jakab
  • Isabella Sarto-Jackson
  • Guido Caniglia

If we want to learn how to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, we have to embrace the complexity of this global phenomenon and capture interdependencies across scales and contexts. Yet, we still lack systematic approaches that we can use to deal holistically with the pandemic and its effects. In this Discussion, we first introduce a framework that highlights the systemic nature of the COVID-19 pandemic from the perspective of the total environment as a self-regulating and evolving system comprising of three spheres, the Geosphere, the Biosphere, and the Anthroposphere. Then, we use this framework to explore and organize information from the rapidly growing number of scientific papers, preprints, preliminary scientific reports, and journalistic pieces that give insights into the pandemic crisis. With this work, we point out that the pandemic should be understood as the result of preconditions that led to depletion of human, biological, and geochemical diversity as well as of feedback that differentially impacted the three spheres. We contend that protecting and promoting diversity, is necessary to contribute to more effective decision-making processes and policy interventions to face the current and future pandemics.

ZeitschriftScience of the Total Environment
Anzahl der Seiten14
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 20.02.2021