Why should we be taking care of our earth?

Q:

Why should we be taking care of our earth? I heard you say that we treat our earth as though it’s separate from us.

A:

While we have a personal body, we also have an extension of that body. We call it the environment, but that’s the wrong word, because what’s there in the soil of the earth is going to be in your body tomorrow. I don’t know how we came to treat the earth as separate from ourselves. The earth is recycling as your body. Our waterways and the oceans are recycling as your circulation. The air is your breath. The trees are your lungs. Why do we even call it the environment? It’s our body. (Learn more in Mind-Body Health and Happiness.)

The Human Microbiome

Right now, one of the main areas of research for us is the human microbiome. The microbiome is 2.2 million genes that come from bacteria, the soil, from plants and other things. Unfortunately, we have contaminated the earth with antibiotics, agriculture pesticides, hormones, and petroleum products. Now, in what we call the civilized world, 30% of the microbiome has disappeared. You have to go to remote places to find healthy bacteria or healthy soil. There’s a lot of evidence that suggests that the decrease of our microbiome is responsible for many of our chronic illnesses, including cancers and 5% of gene related mutations. Autism falls into a different category, because it’s not one disorder but a spectrum which is probably multi-factorial. Some of it is multi-genes, some of it is environmental and some of it is epigenetic. It’s a complex thing. But otherwise, 5% of disease-related mutations are fully penetrant. This means that if you have that gene, it's 100% guaranteed that you’ll get that particular disease. The other 95% are not fully penetrant, which means that these diseases have got something to do with the environment and our lifestyle. (Learn more in You Are What You Eat.)

Innovations

This is a very important topic. Forget climate change for a minute and let's focus on our physical wellbeing. There’s no doubt in my mind that climate change is real, but it’s not healthy for us to be contaminating the earth in this way. Luckily, there are people developing alternative smart technologies right now. I just interviewed someone who has developed a device that will create and store solar energy, even in places where there is not much sun. He also captures water from the atmosphere. He’s revolutionizing the whole industry. There are other people in other parts of the world who have developed technologies where even minor shifts in the air will create electrical energy. So, a lot of interesting things are happening. People have to invest in these sources from their inception. They have to be bold enough and have the courage to say, we have to save our planet, and we have to save our food supply. I grew up in the 60’s and we started the feminist movement, the green movement, the peace movement and now we have Donald Trump. Some people say it’s already too late, but when you meet these amazing, creative people who have invented these brilliant new technologies, you see that nothing is impossible when you have the right mindset and when you have people behind that movement. (Learn more in Exploring Aversion.)

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