Natural ecosystems support our health by filtering our air, providing fresh water and food, regulating our climate, directly improving human health and protecting against the spread of disease and pests.
They also foster our mental wellbeing and serve as places of recreation and sources of nature-based jobs in tourism and other vocations. Furthermore, with over one third of all medicines known to humans being derived from nature, protected ecosystems are a form of innovative capital for future medical advances. Ecosystems are the foundations of biodiversity, the infinite variation in life forms. Human resilience in the face of sudden and catastrophic shifts to the planet’s life-support systems is strengthened by this variety of life on earth.
Doctors for the Environment Australia is focused on the complex interaction between human health and our natural environment and is therefore interested in environmental degradation, particularly the loss of biodiversity and the impact this is having, and will continue to have, on human health and social stability. A global environment that supports biodiversity is better able to support human health. This is a topic of utmost urgency, and of great political and cultural complexity. It is also deeply fascinating as we continue to better understand the ways in which time spent in nature can help both prevent and cure common lifestyle related diseases.