Two hundred thousand years? Probably many more. It is certainly not the time when Homo sapiens began to walk on this Planet that has already been revolving around its Star for over four and a half billion years. What seems to us the long adventure of human beings on Earth, for the Earth is a small moment in his life.
Certainly, our existence as human beings is inseparably linked to the relationship with the things that surround us, from the infinitely big to the infinitely small: i.e. with what we have decided to call “Nature”. And it is on this relationship (which is being increasingly compromised every day) that our survival on this planet depends. Because without man, Life on the planet would continue anyway; on the contrary, human beings could not survive without the environment and the richness of its biodiversity.
This is perhaps the most important lesson we can draw from the recent pandemic: our health depends on that of the Earth and all the species that inhabit it, and if we do not take it into account and continue to exploit the available resources, without any respect as if they were unlimited, we will end up paying a very high cost. We cannot afford to challenge Nature or ignore the invisible boundaries which, at the same time, separate us and put us in contact with other living beings. Instead, all together and individually, we must take on the great responsibility of recreating the necessary harmony with our planet: an ambitious but exciting goal, for which there are no longer any shortcuts.
For this reason, Barbara Gallavotti, a well-known writer and scientific popularizer, traces the history of microbes: a history as old as that of man. In this precious book, she examines with profound competence and with clear language the ingenious solutions they have adopted in order not to become extinct, to cross those invisible boundaries that our senses do not distinguish, taking advantage of every opportunity to become stronger and more numerous.
Even the human body, however, in an equally amazing way, has developed strategies for not succumbing, often resorting to the help of science. It is precisely science that over the centuries has endowed us with much more powerful weapons than those that we could have put in place only by appealing to our immune system.
In short, this book responds in an understandable and rigorously scientific way to the many doubts that the current pandemic raises.
Author: Anna Lacci is a scientific popularizer and expert in environmental education and sustainability and in territory teaching. She is the author of documentaries and naturalistic books, notebooks and interdisciplinary teaching aids and multimedia information materials.
Translation by Maria Antonietta Sessa