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Antibiotic Resistance

Student Research Topic


According to the World Health Organization:


Antibiotics are medicines used to prevent and treat bacterial infections. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in response to the use of these medicines.

Bacteria, not humans or animals, become antibiotic-resistant. These bacteria may infect humans and animals, and the infections they cause are harder to treat than those caused by non-resistant bacteria.

Antibiotic resistance leads to higher medical costs, prolonged hospital stays, and increased mortality.

Without urgent action, we are heading for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries can once again kill.


First Part:


Let’s start first by looking at the problem of antibiotic resistance in isolation:


 Suppose humanity continues on its present course and the antibiotic resistance accelerates as expected. Describe the kind of outcomes you expect when we enter the “post-antibiotic era”.


As you consider this problem, look into the human actions that lead to antibiotic resistance and consider ways in which we could address this problem individually and collectively. 


What kind of actions could you take to steer our community in a better direction?


Second Part:


Now let’s start from our real-life present day situation. We are currently in:

  • a climate crisis caused by our burning of fossil fuels

  • an ecological crisis caused by our interaction with the living world (deforestation, agriculture, mining, overfishing, etc.)

  • a health crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic


Each one plays out on a different time scale, with its own causes and consequences. 


Use what you know about these three crises and add antibiotic resistance to it. 


Look at the possible interplays between these four crises (take only two at a time to begin with) and try to imagine the kind of situations we are expecting to see in the future, if present trends continue. 




Climate-fueled Cat 5 Hurricane calls for mandatory evacuation AND Coronavirus pandemic mandatory quarantine or social distancing


Imagine going through an evacuation where people need to move fast out of an area while at the same time doing social distancing (because of a deadly virus).


After you consider these scenarios, think of ways in which our society can avoid that kind of outcome. 


This project can be done individually or in group, be submitted as a typed report, presented as a powerpoint or in a short video.

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