Earth Day 2020: Why is a healthy climate important?

Earth Day both commemorates historic wins for the environment and continues the international fight for a healthy and sustainable home.

Read on for why a healthy climate is important for all who inhabit this planet!

Why is a healthy climate important?

Simply put, this planet is our home. It is each of our responsibilities to respect and protect it as we would our own home or when visiting the homes of friends and family—because it is each of these things. Above all, it’s a home that routinely gives us so much health, inspiration, and opportunity even as we routinely destroy it. However, we live in an era where the Earth cannot catch up with all of humankind’s catastrophic habits, so it’s natural that these giving processes are failing. Intensifying droughts and storms, habitat loss of important species, and toxifying air, among many other warning signs, are telling us that our home needs our immediate help.

Ecosystem services are the numerous life-giving benefits that we naturally receive from a healthy environment. They provide us with important natural resources, regulate our climate and ecosystems, support the essential functions of forming life, and improve our cultural, spiritual, and mental health. Without them, it would be impossible for human life to sustain itself.

The rainforests, in particular, need our protection. Often described as the “lungs of our planet,” they take carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and recycle it into oxygen to promote life and resist climate change. One of the most essential ways the Earth provides for us, then, is the biodiversity of species we have. They offer numerous medical solutions and educational opportunities that are quickly being lost to uncompassionate human interventions. For example, the National Cancer Institute has screened over 35,000 plant species for anticancer activity, and around 3,000 of them have exhibited these healthful qualities (22). What’s more, over 80 percent of the world’s land biodiversity lives in forests (23). In a world where we have so much left to discover, humankind cannot afford to destroy potentially life-saving species before we’ve even identified them.

We also need to remember the many human habitats that have been taken advantage of by the commercial agriculture industry. Especially near rainforests, indigenous peoples have endured a long history of being forcibly and brutally removed from their lands that they’ve formed spiritual connections with. In Brazil, nearly a hundred tribes have been lost within the last century because of Euro-centric deforestation (19, 24). In the U.S., we’ve seen countless cases of deteriorating human health because of close proximity to toxic farm practices. Around the globe, healthy water supplies are being threatened by drought, chemical saturation, and improper waste management. At the same time that we’re losing species, we’re losing people. Climate action is a human rights concern.

Next week we’ll cover ways to take action for the good of our friends, family, and all of life on Earth!

For more information on connections between diet and Earthcare, see the previous post in this series.

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