February 20, 2020

Healthy Rainforest, Healthy You; 5 reasons to keep rainforest around for your health


Rainforest and human health go hand in hand. Keeping these water-releasing, air-filtering medicine-cabinets standing strong is an urgent global health issue. 

From key medical advances to preventing the release of unprecedented pandemics, our physical and mental wellbeing worldwide relies on trees in innumerable ways. Here’s just 5 reasons why healthy rainforest promotes healthy humans.

Healthy Rainforest, Healthy You; 5 reasons to keep rainforest around for your health
Our Medicine Cabinet

Our Medicine Cabinet

Rainforest are rich natural pharmacies, hiding vast amounts of known and unknown plants under its canopy. We owe a lot to this range of flora that have aided in the creation of a wide range of life-saving medicines. Many of the plants found in rainforests have already been used in the treatment of severe illnesses such as cancer, malaria and HIV/AIDs. However, there are likely masses of others with unknown potential for improving human health. 

Deforestation and Disease

Deforestation and Disease

The degradation of rainforest by humans has been warned to be increasing rates of unknown viruses and diseases. As the preferred hosts of these pathogens are eradicated or reduced, a Pandora’s box of diseases is released on nearby populations. Deforestation and rainforest degradation can force these disease carriers to migrate closer to humans, causing disease to breakout in these populations. Protecting rainforest is essential; not only to safeguard against unknown diseases, but to preserve the natural resources that may contain the cures.

Giant Air Filters

Giant Air Filters

Healthy rainforest reduces pollutants by acting as a giant air filtration system. Trees not only absorb carbon dioxide, but trap toxic pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, ozone and the particles produced by burning diesel, cooking with charcoal and burning wood. Breathing polluted air leads to a host of health problems globally such as respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, and problems with the nervous system. No matter where we live, protecting rainforest is crucial in the fight against air pollution. 

 Floods and Drought? We’ve got a Safety-Net

Floods and Drought? We’ve got a Safety-Net

Earth’s rainforest plays a key role come rain or shine. Storing excess rainwater, rainforest prevents extreme runoff during heavy rainfall and reduces damage when flooding does occur. It can also reduce the effects of drought by releasing stored water when levels are low. Flooding often accelerates disease outbreaks such as cholera and typhoid, and drought commonly brings poorer air quality and sometimes famine. Rainforest, and its role in the water cycle, plays a key role in protecting our health. 

Good for People, Good For Planet

Good for People, Good For Planet

Rainforests provide essential, innumerable cultural services which are complex to measure, but enrich lives around the world. Humans obtain immaterial benefits from natural ecosystems through spiritual, cultural legacy and recreational purposes. Research suggests these experiences in natural environments enable people to relax, recover and heal; both physically and mentally. By learning lessons from those who live alongside rainforest, we can learn how to respect and appreciate the immense value of healthy rainforest and find the best ways to protect it.

Cool Earth works around the world, from Peru to Papua New Guinea, helping local people keep their rainforest standing. With your support, we can scale up and share the best ways to reduce deforestation, protect wildlife and combat climate change. 

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  7. Live Science  (2020). 7 Surprising Health Effects of Drought. [online] livescience.com. Available at: https://www.livescience.com/21688-drought-health-effects.html [Accessed 20 Feb. 2020]. https://www.livescience.com/21688-drought-health-effects.html

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  9. Doughty, K. (2018). Therapeutic Landscapes. In: P. Howard, I. Thompson, E. Waterton and M. Atha, ed., The Routledge Companion to Landscape Studies, 2nd ed. Routledge.https://www.researchgate.net/publication/319123332_Therapeutic_Landscapes/link/5b213627a6fdcc69745e1500/download

  10. Holland, J. (2019). Nature’s pharmacy: The remarkable plants of the Amazon rainforest – and what they may cure. [online] The Telegraph. Available at: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/cruises/articles/how-to-be-a-botanical-buff/ [Accessed 20 Feb. 2020].https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/cruises/articles/how-to-be-a-botanical-buff/

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