ISSN 1538-1080

The Web of Life: Human Symbiosis with Other Life Forms and the Environment

The Web of Life: Human Symbiosis with Other Life Forms and the Environment


Although this is rarely discussed or acknowledged, humans are symbiotic with other life forms and with the environment. The most commonly recognized symbiotic relationships are animals and plants raised by farmers. Less acknowledged are actually those who are most intimately symbiotic with humans, namely the microbes in our bodies. There are ten times as many microorganism cells in our human body as there are human cells. We cannot survive without these friendly microorganisms. They, in turn, depend upon us to host them in our bodies. Humans have numerous other symbiotic relationships that support and sustain our lives as well. The bad news is that humans have exploited their powers over the other life forms and over the natural resources on our planet to the point that we may not be able to sustain human life for much longer. The good news is that increasing numbers of people are becoming aware that it would be of enormous help to humanity, to all other living beings on our planet, and to our planet herself if we can improve these symbiotic relationships.

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