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An Eco-Human Health Fund

by GBAF mag
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Ecosystem services are the diverse and numerous benefits offered by healthy natural ecosystems and by humans subjected to such environments. Examples of such services would be air and water quality, land preservation, pest control, natural disaster mitigation, global warming prevention, and clean energy generation. Such services might also be provided by fisheries, forests, aquatic systems, and human health. Many of these services would be beneficial to all kinds of people, regardless of their ability or lack of it to produce or consume natural resources.

For human health, the most important function of ecosystems is that they act as “sponges” to absorb the pollutants and contaminants in the atmosphere and water. In the same way, ecosystems soak up the toxins in the soil and air. In both cases, the effects on human health can be serious. However, some scientists believe that the benefits of such natural systems are underestimated.

Ecosystem service provision is most apparent in human development. Humans depend on ecosystems for food, shelter, medicine, and other necessities. Human activities such as farming, fishing, construction, and transportation all rely on the health of ecosystems. Human systems also affect ecosystems through the environment they operate in.

One example of an essential service provided by ecosystems is the function of water. Without water, human life could not exist. Not only does water support many of the functions human beings perform; it also keeps the Earth’s ecosystems balanced and maintained. Moreover, clean water provides critical hydrological services, such as the filtration of waste water, the treatment of water pollution, and the transportation of food.

Air is another essential service. Without it, human life as we know it would not be possible. This service, however, is often underrated. Most people only think about the quality of the air they breathe. To a certain extent, the quality of the air individual breath is an indicator of the health of his or her ecosystems and the human inhabitants living in them. Clean air also contributes to the betterment of the climate and weather conditions within the local environment.

The individual air breathes also contributes to the quality of life in the local ecosystem. In addition to the direct effects of the air on the human health of an individual, the quality of the air impregnates the environment and its creatures. A healthy air supply produces a healthy environment. Conversely, a poor air supply dries up the ecosystems and their inhabitants, thus affecting human health.

The preservation of ecosystems has also benefitted human health in a number of ways. Healthy ecosystems prevent infectious disease. They also keep pest populations under control, thereby protecting human health. They improve the condition of the soil where human beings live and work by removing toxins and improving the fertility of the soil. They also reduce the evaporation of fresh water, preventing it from becoming contaminated and harmful to human health.

All these benefits provided to us by nature are not only important from a biological standpoint but also on a social, psychological, economic, and ecological level. Human societies and economies flourish when human beings live in healthy and mutually supportive environments. They contribute to the maintenance of the earth’s environment and enhance human health.

The promotion of ecosystem services have different implications for different settings. In developing countries, ecosystem services are used to ensure that natural resources are utilized to their maximum and in a sustainable manner. These include improving nutrition, creating habitat, regulating climate, reducing poverty, and enhancing rural development. More importantly, these programs create a sense of well-being and community pride, leading to improved educational outcomes and employment opportunities. This is especially true for the children who are the foundation of human development.

Preserving the natural habitats of indigenous people is another application of this theory of ecosystem service. Through this practice, communities protect their most valuable natural resources and thereby ensure the continued existence of diverse human groups who depend on these for survival. It also promotes economic sustainability of the local economy. It is also used to protect and conserve biodiversity and prevent the extinction of species.

Ecosphere services are also critical in the global context. When environmental degradation is at its greatest, human health declines along with the number of species that are remaining in the Earth’s eco-systems. This has alarming implications not only for humans but also for nature as we work hard to convert carbon-dioxide emission into renewable energy. Furthermore, eco-friendly technologies do not have the time to develop themselves and become established, if we do not continue to provide the means for them to thrive. In this scenario, preserving the ecological quality of the habitats that provide a home for human communities and other creatures forms a foundation of good human health and a means of preserving the earth’s resources for future generations.

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