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Kat Farrants

One whole system: our bodies in the environment

Our columnist on seeing the bigger picture

When we think of holistic health, we often imagine something airy, or perhaps spiritual, intangible and without any basis in ‘The truth’. We humans have tried to separate, categorise and divide things into individual components. When things are individualised and rationalised, we have been taught we can trust the science. The human body for example, is divided into parts. This ‘bit’ does this and that ‘bit’ does that. We think that if we have legs we can stand up, but have you tried standing up if you have tinnitus? Our balance goes completely, so standing up is really hard. Of course, we are also whole systems, and we can’t be split up and reduced to our constituent elements, we are the whole. Just consider the digestive system, which you may think of as being in our stomach, but it’s so much more than that. When we smell something, our mouths might water, which is the first step of digestion happening. The effort to reduce and divide has only resulted in a massive misunderstanding of how our bodies, minds, and the environment work.

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About Be Kind

Hello, If you’d asked me earlier this year what images the Amazon rainforest conjured up in my mind, it would be densely packed, lush green trees, brightly coloured macaws and chatty toucans living alongside speedy squirrel monkeys and majestic jaguars. Perhaps naively, I assumed that the world’s largest rainforest was a constant – a protected part of our natural landscape, somewhere we can all close our eyes and see images of, like the Alps or the river Nile. But, over the last few months, this idyllic picture of the Amazon has been destroyed, replaced with haunting and horrifying images of blazing fires and ominous plumes of smoke. Often described as the lungs of the planet, the Amazon now looks like it’s starting to choke. The anthropogenic impact we have had on some of the most vital natural resources on the planet is really starting to show. The notion of constants is changing, too – our glaciers are melting, our rainforests are being destroyed, our rivers are polluted and our coastlines eroded – the landscape of our planet as we know it looks set to continue to transform and degrade. As bleak a future as I’m describing, it’s not all doom and gloom and there are many things we can do to help. We want the future generations to close their eyes and picture the toucans, not the burning embers of what was once the greatest rainforest on Earth. We need to act, and we need to do it now. Have a great month, Phillipa Editor