Ecosystem Health Disorders - changing perspectives in clinical medicine and nutrition Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • The inseparability of people from their ecosystem without biological change is increasingly clear. The discrete species concept is becoming more an approximation as the interconnectedness of all things, animate and inanimate, becomes more apparent. Yet this was evident even to our earliest Homo Sapiens sapiens ancestors as they hunted and gathered from one locality to another and migrated across the globe. During a rather short 150-200,000 years of ancestral history, we have changed the aeons-old planet and our ecology with dubious sustainability. As we have changed the ecosystems of which we are a part, with their opportunities for shelter, rest, ambulation, discourse, food, recreation and their sensory inputs, we have changed our shared biology and our health prospects. The rate of ecosystem change has increased quantitatively and qualitatively and so will that of our health patterns, depending on our resilience and how linear, non-linear or fractal-like the linkage. Our health-associated ecosystem trajectories are uncertain. The interfaces between us and our environment are blurred, but comprise time, biorhythms, prokaryotic organisms, sensory (auditory, visual, tactile, taste and smell), conjoint movement, endocrine with various external hormonal through food and contaminants, the reflection of soil and rock composition in the microbes, plants, insects and animals that we eat (our biogeology) and much more. We have sought ways to optimise our health through highly anthropocentric means, which have proven inadequate. Accumulated ecosystem change may now overwhelm our health. On these accounts, more integrative approaches and partnerships for health care practice are required.

publication date

  • 2014