(September 2014) 6. Missing Microbes, Martin Balser, MD, Henry-Holt, 2014

Missing Microbes

Our August 2014 book is: Missing Microbes, Martin Balser, MD, Henry-Holt, 2014. This book considers the human microbiome, its natural balance and role in common disease and well-being. Although this may be an anomaly in the longer list of books focused exclusively on Appalachian natural history an occasional foray into the larger picture of ecology may be informative on multiple levels. 

It is an ongoing challenge to generate interest in “the general public” for natural areas, functional ecosystems and nature emersion for all ages. Perhaps relating the beautiful and complex ecosystem which exists within each of us could bridge the conversation gap as we talk about our relationship with all living systems. People have a natural interest in themselves, their children, family, etc. well-being (i.e. healthy microbiomes) so why not tap into this concern and connect it to include the natural world of how and why macrobiomes, which recapitulate similar ecological functioning, are critical to us all. As we, simply by living in our society, are effected by a range of missing microbes, we in turn affect the planet with our myriad actions to control and dominate ecosystems. In this case, it’s not exclusively about the book’s literal content, it is about how effective the content is in increasing ones capacity to think and the increased ability gained to apply new knowledge or skills in the goal of enhanced communication of the value of healthy ecosystems.