Water Quality & Water Quantity
As climate patterns and land use change, protecting safe and sufficient water resources for healthy aquatic habitats, drinking and household water use, irrigation, and recreation is a critical local and global challenge. Ground and surface water contaminated with agricultural chemicals (pesticides and fertilizers), industrial and urban runoff (oil, heavy metals, etc.), toxins from algal blooms or other sources, pharmaceuticals, and pathogens from livestock production, pets, and free-ranging animals can adversely impact human, animal, and ecosystem health. New solutions are needed at the interface of agriculture, urban development, and conservation to protect water quality and quantity
Medical, social, and economic forces impact the use of antimicrobials in human and animal healthcare as well as agricultural production. Growing concern from health professionals, consumers, environmental stewards, and global health agencies (WHO, FAO, CDC) highlights the need for a more holistic approach to understand and address increasing levels of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). As current methods for screening for and reporting AMR differ in human and animal clinical settings as well as environmental studies, there is a vital need for approaches to effectively link data, researchers, and policymakers across these realms.
In the past few years, outbreaks of zoonotic diseases (diseases shared between humans and animals) ranging from Ebola and Zika virus to Avian Influenza have raised global concern about changing human-animal contact and pandemic preparedness. Emerging and existing zoonotic diseases influence human, animal, plant, and ecosystem health in and beyond Nebraska, but our understanding of how their transmission is impacted by climate and other environmental change is still developing. Understanding and managing zoonotic diseases in agricultural, undeveloped, and urban settings is a key challenge requiring collaboration across the life and social sciences and humanities as well as strong partnerships at government, NGO, and community levels.
Food Security & Sustainable Rural Livelihoods
In Nebraska and throughout the world, growing demand for food production is impacting agricultural methods and landscapes. Increasing food security and sustaining rural livelihoods while protecting the health and well-being of humans, animals, and their shared environments poses a complex challenge. Diverse aspects of food security and livelihoods, including migrant farm laborers, agricultural runoff, food waste, changing demographics in agricultural areas, supply chain challenges, impacts of agrochemicals on plant and insect populations, and genetic modification of plants and animals, would benefit from a One Health approach.