A healthy microbiome could save the planet

In ‘Immune Apocalypse’ my new book I have strived to explain how a robust immune system is not only vital for our survival but in many ways critical for the ongoing maintenance of a healthy planet.  The twin forces of global warming and antibiotic resistance for the most part interlinked are the mounting threats that we have to withstand if we are going to ensure that we are not facing the looming possibility of a catastrophic future in which these binary evils will combine to devastate vast swathes of our planet effectively endangering our future as a species and even compromising the persistence of our planet as a physical entity, a future that seems so unfeasible it is almost impossible to fathom.

  This is what our bleak future portends but there is a lot we can do now to prevent this cataclysmic crisis from evolving.  As much as we have a hardy microbiome referring to the healthy balance of germs in our gut and on our skins which goes a long way to safeguarding a powerful and resilient immune system the soil that coats our planet and the oceans which link our continents also have a balance of germs providing vital nutrition for crops, sustaining wildlife and in the waterways feeding a vast array of species.

  But this indispensable ecosystem is increasingly becoming eroded as antibiotics and other chemicals surge in our wastewater and as these elude any attempts that are being made to limit their toxicity they are increasingly decimating the presence of salubrious bacteria seeding a malevolent environment and as a result the overgrowth of resistant bugs.

  Aside from antibiotic resistance dramatically compromising our capacity to treat our infections, and I explain in the book how this is soon going to be one of the primal threats to our future, by destroying natural vegetation these antibiotic resistant malignant bacteria can also contribute to increasing global warming.  This is because the planet’s natural vegetation is our most important shield against man-made induced climate change.  The microbiomes of our environments which look after the plants and trees that sequester carbon are fundamental to limiting and even reversing global warming.  If we don’t protect the larger planetary microbiome then we are going some way to amplifying the threat of an impending climate disaster.

  In other words if we take care of our own microbiomes and reduce our need for antibiotics then we are contributing in a highly significant way to nourishing the universal microbiome and the healthy future of our magnificent planet.

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