Next Article in Journal / Special Issue
Environmental Impact on Health across Generations: Policy Meets Biology. A Review of Animal and Human Models
Previous Article in Journal / Special Issue
Walking Ecosystems in Microbiome-Inspired Green Infrastructure: An Ecological Perspective on Enhancing Personal and Planetary Health
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessReview
Challenges 2018, 9(2), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe9020041

Planetary Health and the Future of Human Capacity: The Increasing Impact of Planetary Distress on the Human Brain

Division of Neuropsychiatry, Department of Neuroscience, Yamaguchi University Graduate School of Medicine, Yamaguchi 755-8505, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 October 2018 / Revised: 19 November 2018 / Accepted: 20 November 2018 / Published: 22 November 2018
Full-Text   |   PDF [5833 KB, uploaded 22 November 2018]   |  

Abstract

All awareness, thoughts, emotions, perceptions, memories, actions—everything that encompasses our human capacity and reality—are mediated through the biological interface of our brains. While the source of consciousness remains a fundamental and elusive question, it is also inescapable that threats to biological health can compromise any and all aspects of psychological and neurological functioning, from the first moments of life. The effects of environmental threats to specific aspects of individual brain health are well recognized, yet precious little attention is given to the collective effects of planetary-scale environmental damage, and the erosion of numerous planetary systems, on the biology of the human brain. Although, these are likely to vary widely with individual circumstances, it is also inevitable that the ‘dysbiotic drift’ (increasing life in distress) at the planetary scale is reflected at the personal scale, with a collective shift towards increased biological stress of all kinds. Here, we make the case that ‘planetary distress’ is directly implicated in a collective increase in ‘personal distress’, and that multifaceted biological pressures, as well as psychological pressures, are implicated in the mental health crisis and predisposition to numerous disorders in brain development, functioning and aging. In turn, this has implications for every aspect of health, capacity, and the very essence of human experience for generations to come. Viewed on this scale, we call for a quantum shift in efforts to address the many factors affecting brain health, ranging from air pollution to disappearing greenspace. These all stem from ecological imbalance and point to a unifying need to restore planetary health. Ultimately, the future of human capacity depends on this. View Full-Text
Keywords: air pollution; biodiversity; brain; ecology; environmental degradation; greenspace; natural environments; neuroscience; planetary health; psychiatry air pollution; biodiversity; brain; ecology; environmental degradation; greenspace; natural environments; neuroscience; planetary health; psychiatry
Figures

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
SciFeed

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Chen, C.; Nakagawa, S. Planetary Health and the Future of Human Capacity: The Increasing Impact of Planetary Distress on the Human Brain. Challenges 2018, 9, 41.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Challenges EISSN 2078-1547 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top