But in the past century, some of those tools have been used too much and gone too far. Tools like antibiotics kill not just germs, but our friendly microbes too. When we use synthetic chemicals in our homes, we’re creating too sterile environments, with far fewer of our friendly microbes. Our soils have been stripped of life, health, and nutrients, making our food less nutritious. Too much of our food is overprocessed, stripped of nutrition for ourselves and our microbes.
Our health, and our planet’s health, has been pushed out of balance. Our microbes have been under attack. They suffer as we suffer. We suffer as they suffer.
It’s remarkably easy for us as humans to think of ourselves as separate from nature. For us to think of nature as something that’s here for us, for our use and our taking, or as something to take care of, well-meaning as that is.
But as we’ve studied biology and microbiomes over the past two decades, what we see is that we are undeniably, unmistakably nature ourselves. We are ourselves an ecosystem, almost as many bacteria cells as we are human cells. And there can be no denial of the fact that we are part of the larger planetary ecosystem. This means that our health is directly tied to the health of that ecosystem.
Something we also know about ecosystems is this: ecosystems that are full of the most diversity of life are the healthiest and most resilient.
These diverse lifeforms are worth preserving simply by nature of their being. And, the more we do to encourage diversity of life on Earth, the healthier our ecosystems are. The healthier we are.
This means that each action we take to improve planetary health has a direct impact on our own health. When you reduce your waste through composting, build up healthier, living soil, grow delicious, healthier food, and reduce your synthetic chemical use you’re not only improving environmental health. You’re improving your own health, and your microbes’ health too.
We are interconnected. And all the better for it.