The Good Earth – and Your Good Self

Media Release, Australian Geographic| 18 November 2019


The opening pages of the article "The Good Earth" in Australian Geographic.

MOST OF US feel better about ourselves after a walk in nature, and now science has a greater understanding of why. Ultimately, connecting with good, healthy earth is a stimulant for organic creatures like us, each made up of 37 trillion individual cells and an interactive host for bacteria, viruses and fungi. We are, literally, mixing it with nature.


In the latest issue of AUSTRALIAN GEOGRAPHIC, leading science writer Wilson da Silva explains why people living in rural Australia are ‘made up’ differently to those living in our cities. That different make up is, in fact, our response to the world directly around us.


What science is learning is that country dwellers have more diverse microbiomes due to constant exposure to healthier soils.

We have what is known as a ‘microbiome’. It is an enormous, invisible ecosystem that acts like a giant shadow organ, helping us digest plant matter, manufacture vitamins, regulate our immune system, form new blood vessels, coordinate hormone activity, store fat and modulate brain signals. And that may be just the start of our interaction.


What science is learning, in short, is that country dwellers have more diverse microbiomes due to constant exposure to healthier soils. And what researchers are trying to do now is to bring the benefits of the good earth – and subsequently healthier lives – to the millions of Australians battling away in urban environments.







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