• Ecosystem health as the basis for human health

      Barker, Tom; Fisher, Jane; Centre for Alternative Technology; University of Chester (John Wiley and Sons, 2019-01-18)
      Ecosystem processes and the biodiversity that supports them are the basis for all ecological functions. All of human society makes use of ecological functions that regulate resources such as air, water, temperature, and flows of materials that we take for granted; provide food and natural resources that we use in building, clothes, and the basis for chemistry and medicines; and make life meaningful in terms of education, health, emotional connection, and aesthetics. It is well known now that ecological damage through the impacts of human activity has very serious consequences for our well‐being, health, and survival. Imbalances in natural systems due to disturbance, degradation, or destruction of natural ecosystems have impacts on predators and prey species, including disease organisms and the capacity of ecological systems to recover from damage. This chapter discusses the intimate and multifaceted connections between species, ecosystem integrity, nature's contributions to human survival and flourishing, and the increasingly important problem of matching policy decisions to both economic and ecological survival. If civilization is to sustainably meet the multiple pressures of climate change, biodiversity loss, and increasing global population while also ensuring quality of life and health for all, we will need to find a way of replacing profitability with sustainability as the bottom line of our economic existence.