Tervetuloa! Welcome!

  • This blog is an accompaniment to my (Avi’s) research project on Animal Crosslocations as part of RESET. The project is on Mosquito Crosslocations and Participatory Evaluations of Mosquito Control Interventions.
  • Animal Crosslocations is an idea devised by Prof. Sarah Green and the RESET environment with Prof. Meri Kulmala is about resilient and just socioecological change.
  • On this blog I (Avi) share raw thoughts and intriguing encounters written up on the go giving vulnerable insight into the iterative process of this research toward the aim of changing the state of mosquito associated disease interventions.
  • Contact me on avi.betz-heinemann@helsinki.fi or www.avikhalil.com 

What is a Relationship?

In a conversation with colleagues I realised that I am not communicating well what I mean by a relationship (or I am but I am missing the point?). I often use relationship to specify one kind in contrast to others. So here I will specify what I mean when I say relationship, I mean a ‘common relationship’ by contrast to a closed relationship or a submissive relationship:


One might instead speak of independence, co-dependence, dependence, interdependence etc… However, here the purpose is to note how in a closed relationship where each party is closed off and relates through transmissions, nothing news is created. Instead only the things, the entities exist. In a common relationship the very relationship itself can be a thing in itself, and thus any thing perceived as a thing is also understood to be a relationship or web of them, hence everything is relationships, whilst also being more and less than that at the same time.

Rotten Egg Theory of Disease

“For as long as humans have been plagued by infectious diseases, the next pandemic has been a question of when rather than if. But the Covid-19 outbreak highlighted how many risk factors are greater now than at any time in history. There are more people in the world, living more densely and in a more mobile way.”

From the Financial Times:  ‘Will the world be ready for the next pandemic?’

An example of the inside-out version of what I am dubbing the Rotten Egg Theory of Disease. This is the theory that plagues and civilization essentially originate together. The inside-out version is as the FT examples above that plagues are inherent to social complexity, urbanization and civilization. i.e. plagues are born out civilization a.k.a. civilization is a rotten egg. The outside-in version is the theory that disease comes from outside civilization or civilized bodies and spaces but seeks to get in i.e. civilization is born out of removing plague and making a clean space a.k.a. civilization is an egg under attack from a rot. I believe the evidence suggests these are both side of the same theory and are a myth.



Preparing Helsinki One Health Summer School

During the preparation for the interdisciplinary One Health Summer School, hosted this year in Finland my academic supervisor Sarah Green put what I think is a key question in a few sentences. I paraphrase from my notes:

WOAH (World Organisation for Animal Health) was built to maintain the intensification of livestock farming, so its not in its story to address veterinary matters beyond that. It does not come from a place beyond a history of maintaining intensive domesticated livestock. In that light we need to ask what’s in One Health’s (OH) history? And how can OH be participated in so that we open up questions beyond the narrow foci of its key stakeholders organisations? And what is our role as researchers in that?




Climate Justice

I just attended a talk by Alex Nading giving insight into his next book on kidneys and the climate through the context of sugar cane workers in Nicaragua. Really great talk and I attended because Nading’s last book was on Mosquito Trails.

Nading went through how many bifurcations (nature culture, inside outside etc) are deeply inflicted on the context he works on, and reproduced in Planetary Health perspectives and approaches to working on how climate and health are interlinked.

My question to Nading elicited a very clear answer to the challenge with these approaches, which is that they posit ‘climate as causing certain diseases e.g. kidney disease, whereas in fact Nading demonstrated that kidney disease IS climate change. There is not an outside ‘renal environment’ that causes disease in the inside environment of a person kidneys. The internal environment of the person is the outside environment, they are THE renal environment, deeply interconnected by various flows, filtrations etc.

The talk also covered some really interesting material on worker rights, life support, laundry, the classic problems of solutions like investing in wells without appreciating what that means in context and so forth. I look forward to his forthcoming book.

Decision Making Reality – A video essay

A made a short video essay that provides some of the background theory to the documentary I made on Why We Play?. Its largely a summary of an old chapter from Ingold in the classic volume Nature and Society.

Decision Making Reality – an exploration of how decisions are made and how decisions make reality – On Youtube.

Why Do We Play? Short film.

I was invited to give a webinar at the David Graeber Institute on this essay about play. As I am just starting at with helping cultivate the new RESET research environment I thought I would take this an opportunity to also reach out to fellow academics from various disciplines at Helsinki University to give their two-cents on play. In doing so I made this short film:

Why Do We Play  – On Youtube


I have no particular affinity for the concept of resilience, but I am also not into dismissing a term simply because it has been instrumentalized and mobilized in harmful and unjust ways. In this light as part of the RESET environment I work in I find this mobilization of resilience o be helpful:

‘One question for future research may then be not what resilience is, but when and how it is socioculturally produced. To what does it refer—as a way of dealing with historical legacies, current adversities, and future uncertainties–and for what is it used? Is resilience built to deal with unexpected shocks (e.g., earthquakes), expected situations (e.g., droughts or floods), or also potential futures (e.g., hurricanes or pandemics)? Is resilience capable of coping with perfectly unexpected disasters that might ‘break in’?’

Mosquito Foodways

When you think of mosquitoes you will probably think about the blood they suck from you, alongside disease and their peskiness. What about what we eat and its relationship to mosquitoes?

A preliminary scour of the internet reveals that research on the connection between food and mosquitoes appears seems to focus on how personal consumption impacts mosquitoes biting you, and even that seems relatively sparse. (One can also think about what mosquitoes nutrition is like)

There is however a long tradition of research on agriculture and its relationship to mosquito habitats and their flourishing etc. But what about our collective diets. There has been a radical change in what humanity eats, how does this contribute to ‘mosquito biting rates’ or ‘mosquito pressure’ – not simply to inform personal nutritional choices in an individualistic sense but for example, what does a shift toward processed carbohydrates mean in terms of mosquito biting rates, both in the sense of the aforementioned link to habitat changes but also in the highly complex relationship to how we move, smell, sweat, dwell, adapt etc and thus how mosquitoes find, target, bite etc humans?