What can ensure a healthy world and our own health?
The success of a healthy organism, whether it is the living planet Gaia or ourselves, stems from the ability to respond to the environment around it: its’ “Response-Ability”.

The earth has been responding to major changes for millions of years and is still doing that regardless of whatever humans do to it; the future Gaia may not be suitable for man but it will be a living planet with other life forms that have had the ability to adapt more effectively. Man, as supposedly an intelligent being, can now see ahead and should have the Response-Ability, or the responsibility, to make the changes needed to ensure we have a habitable Gaia for future generations.

The changes needed are many though they are identifiable. We live, along with every other life form, as part of this living whole we call earth and we must recognise that individually we all are contributing to the health of the earth.

The way I live my life has an immediate impact on every other living part of the earth, and although it may seem insignificant when viewed alone, it is considerable when others follow a similar way of life. It is difficult to believe that a termite hill ten foot high has been the work of thousands of individual termites each only carrying a grain of soil!

So what are the responses we should all be able and willing to make for a healthy future for ourselves and the earth?

Here are a few listed; you might like to add others I have missed:

Plastic: this insidious all-pervading pollutant of the waters of the earth has been highlighted in “The Blue Planet” television series

Fertilisers: over-use and depleted soil have led to the pollution of rivers and large tracts of coastal waters making marine life unsustainable

Cattle and livestock industrialised farming: to meet ever-increasing demand for meat worldwide unprecedented environmental damage is being done

De-forestation: vast areas of ancient forest are being destroyed to graze cattle or for growing crops – not for humans but for cattle.

Water: the earth’s store of fresh water is limited and is being lost through intensive agriculture and over extraction of underground sources

Climate change: although the debate continues as to whether humans are causing major climatic change, the reality is that it is changing and that the evidence is mounting to link much of the change to our human activity. If we wait until the evidence is sufficient for everyone it may be too late to make corrective changes

Bio-diversity: more species of living creatures have been lost over the past few hundred years than over the past million years. The same applies to plant species

Fossil fuels: we continue to burn “the ancient sunshine stores” regardless of the atmospheric damage and damage to the health of millions of city dwellers and with scant regard for the future generations

Soil erosion and loss: a consequence of some of the above has been an ever increasing loss of fertile soil for agriculture. Vast tracts that were once rich arable lands are now deserts through intensive factory farming and flood erosion

Health: we are all responsible for our own health (not your doctor!) and the health of our planet (not the government!); medicine has to change direction from disease treatment (that has become dominated by global giant business corporations) towards health education and promotion, and we all need to put pressure on our elected leaders to protect the planet.

So let’s all give this thin layer of living matter that coats the ball of rock we call earth our daily attention, and think of any ways we might change the way we order or lives to act more responsibly.

What will be your response to the above problems? You know you have the ability to respond, so why not act responsibly? A small start might be to shift from the traditional UK diet of ‘meat and two veg’ towards a diet containing more vegetables, fruit, nuts, grains, pulses and seeds and less meat and dairy food. Now that would be responsible!

Michael Lingard
BSc.Dip.Ost. BBEC