One of the things I regret not posting more about is biodiversity and the crisis in the huge number of extinctions occurring on the planet. I think that is because one of the things I have been trying to do is get away from the environmentalists-care-more-about-animals that people stereotype.
Personally, I care a lot about the extinctions, not because of the utility of other species to humans but because I think they have their own value. But I consider my job not to be to write about just what I care about but to write about what other people care about. And one thing I think we can safely say is that we all care about human health and happiness, which is why I write a lot about the connections between our health, happiness and security and the health of our planetary habitat.
Anyway, what I wanted to mention is something that makes total sense to me--the fact that extinctions are occurring at an unprecedented rate is a direct harm to human health. The systems are complex, and I can't say that I understand how this manifests, but the blog Mongabay reports, as one example, that new cures for human ailments are under threat because of the global extinction crisis:
A new book Sustaining Life: How Human Life Depends on Biodiversity... is the largest text yet regarding the possible cures that have already been lost—and those that we are losing due to the globe's increasing loss of biodiversity...
... The gastric brooding frog of the Australian rainforest is just one example. Its unique style of parenting may have provided new cures for treating peptic ulcers in humans. The frog raised its young in its stomach; to survive the baby frogs produced a substance that halted acid and enzyme secretions, and stopped their mother from digesting the babies into her intestines. Unfortunately the two species of gastric brooding frog went extinct in the 1980s, and with them a possible cure.
I admittedly don't know much about this subject, so please, if you know more about how the extinction crisis harms human health and happiness, please leave behind a comment.
Photo by Rhett A. Butler courtesy of Mongabay.