May COVID-19 help us make peace with bacteria

May COVID-19 help us make peace with bacteria

Bacteria is the smallest living organism on Earth and it is also the biggest (great corail reef). 

It is also the oldest living organism on Earth. “Let’s collapse the planet’s entire history into a single calendar year. Right now, as you’re reading this page, it is the 31st of December, just before the stroke of midnight (…) Humans have only existed for the 30 minutes or fewer. (…) Flowers and mammals evolved earlier in December. (…) For most of the tale, microbes were the only living things on Earth. From March to October in our imaginary calendar, they had the sole run of the planet.”(..)“As palaeontologist Andrew Knoll once said, “Animals might be evolution’s icing, but bacteria are really the cake.” ― Ed Yong, I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life

There are as many bacteria as there are human cells in the body. 

“When Orson Welles said “We’re born alone, we live alone, we die alone”, he was mistaken. Even when we are alone, we are never alone. We exist in symbiosis – a wonderful term that refers to different organisms living together. Some animals are colonised by microbes while they are still unfertilized eggs; others pick up their first partners at the moment of birth. We then proceed through our lives in their presence. When we eat, so do they. When we travel, they come along. When we die, they consume us. Every one of us is a zoo in our own right – a colony enclosed within a single body. A mutli-species collective. An entire world.” ― Ed Yong, I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life

How Bacteria Rule Over Your Body – The Microbiome – Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell : https://youtu.be/VzPD009qTN4

The principle of symbiosis is that neither of the two (human & bacteria) can survive alone. Bacteria are integral parts of the human body functions. We all know very well about digestion. We understood recently how they train our immune system and trigger neurotransmitters in our brain through the vagal nerve. They are also necessary to keep our blood vessels (endothelium) healthy and sealed. If bacteria stop doing this, you die within 24 hours.

Circulating Metabolites Originating from Gut Microbiota Control Endothelial Cell Function – PMC: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6864778/

“These changes are all fundamentally Darwinian. This point is worth repeating: taking any fast or instant evolutionary shifts as a refutation of the slow, gradual changes we associate with Darwin’s vision is a fatal mistake because these quick shifts are still powered by gradualism. The woodrats might have been able to resist creosote by picking up the right bacteria, but those strains had to evolve the ability to break the insecticide on their own. Form their perspective, evolution proceeded through the usual stepwise way; from the host’s perspective, everything happened in a flash. That is the power of symbiosis: it allows gradual mutations in microbes to produce instant mutations in hosts. We can let bacteria do the slow work for us, and then quickly change ourselves by associating with them. And if these alliances are beneficial enough, they can spread with blinding speed.” ― Ed Yong, I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life

Bacteria can be a powerful ally because they can use Darwinian evolution on the scale of days instead of millions of years for humans. By breeding and hosting them, humans can acquire new abilities like digesting new food or fighting new viruses or breath more CO2.

Endothelial cell infection and endotheliitis in COVID-19 – The Lancet: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30937-5/fulltext

However, bacteria are fragile. They don’t store energy, they don’t have an immune system and are easily wiped by chemicals.

Most of the viruses are deadly to bacteria, not humans. Depending on what you eat, you feed or starve certain bacteria in your body. A diverse diet means a diverse microbiome. If we want to use them as allies we must consider to stop systematic disinfection that mostly kill useful microbes.

“It’s the start of a new era, when people are finally ready to embrace the microbial world.

When I walked through San Diego Zoo with Rob Knight at the start of this book, I was struck by how different everything seemed with microbes in mind. Every visitor, keeper, and animal looked like a world on legs – a mobile ecosystem that interacted with others, largely oblivious to their inner multitudes.

When I drive through Chicago with Jack Gilbert, I experience the same dizzying shift in perspective. I see the city’s microbial underbelly – the rich seam of life that coats it, and moves through it on gusts of wind and currents of water and mobile bags of flesh. I see friends shaking hands, saying’ “how do you do”, and exchanging living organisms. I see people walking down the street, ejecting clouds of themselves in their wake. I see the decisions through which we have inadvertently shaped the microbial world around us: the choice to build with concrete versus brick, the opening of a window, and the daily schedule to which a janitor now mops the floor. And I see, in the driver’s seat, a guy who notices those rivers of microscopic life and is enthralled rather than repelled by them. He knows that microbes are mostly not to be feared or destroyed, but to be cherished, admired, and studied.” ― Ed Yong, I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life

Ed Yong, I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life

“Look back and take a picture of the Earth”,
Carl Sagan told the Apollo 17 astronauts
Who were oriented towards space
Photographing distant planets and stars.

“Turn back, there’s no need to look to the future!”
When, for the first time,
Humans cause disasters
At the magnitude of natural disasters,
You chose not to look  at it.
Anyway, you’ll be dead
When that happens….
You treat the Earth like garbage
And you’re looking for another liveable planet
To destroy.

You’re my grandmother,
And you’re dead,
Before disasters.

I’m still alive.
But the Earth is dying.
The emergency is now!
Sled dogs have their feet in the water;
The heat wave of the Sahara travels in a whirlwind.

So, now,
It’s time to be honourable!
Let’s turn around,
Let’s protect ourselves,
Stand,
Get back to power
To tackle to the powerful
Who continue to destroy
For their sole profit.

Build a future
Democratic and ecological
In everyone’s interest.

Aurianne Or

Photo des chiens de traîneaux, Steffen Malskaer Olsen – France info : https://www.francetvinfo.fr/live/message/5d0/68b/b85/ff4/e98/ab1/7ca/33e.html

La Chine ne veut plus être la poubelle du monde – Courrier International: https://www.courrierinternational.com/article/recyclage-la-chine-ne-veut-plus-etre-la-poubelle-du-monde

The Green New Deal, explained https://youtu.be/GxIDJWCbk6I

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Cosmos, Carl Sagan

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  • “The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.“— Mahatma Gandhi

2001: A space odyssey – From beginning to end

2001: A Space Odyssey – Cinematic Hypnotism – Chris Stuckmann: https://youtu.be/wTiF9Otm2Mw

David Bowie – Space Oddity: https://youtu.be/iYYRH4apXDo

The Message Behind “Colors Of The Wind”: https://www.theodysseyonline.com/the-message-behind-colors-of-the-wind

The Message Behind "Colors Of The Wind"

Pocahontas | Colors of the Wind | Disney Sing-Along: 

Colors of the Wind | Wikipedia: Click here to read the article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colors_of_the_Wind

“Schwartz wanted to write a song for the film wherein Pocahontas confronts the Eurocentrism of John Smith. “Colors of the Wind” was the first song written for Pocahontas. According to Schwartz, the song “influence[d] the development of the rest of the film.” Schwartz said that “a story-board outline was in place before we wrote [the track]. This is often the process in animation, at least as I’ve experienced it, where everybody works from an outline and each succeeding piece of material, whether it is a song or drawings, influences the next.”The track was inspired by Native American poetry, music and folklore, as well as a famous letter sent to the United States Congress by Chief Seattle regarding humanity’s relationship with nature. Part of the letter reads: “The wind that gave our grandfather his first breath also received his last sigh.The wind also gives our children the spirit of life. So if we sell our land, you must keep it apart and sacred, as a place where man can go to taste the wind that is sweetened by the meadow flowers.” This portion of the letter inspired the song’s title, which Schwartz liked because he saw it as paradoxical and thought-provoking.”

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(via https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghkQoJoipbM)

La Terre vue de près – UNESCO: http://www.unesco.org/archives/multimedia/?pg=33&s=films_details&id=1570

Entretien avec Yann Arthus-Bertrand, Ambassadeur de bonne volonté du Programme des Nations Unies pour l’environnement: http://www.un.org/apps/newsFr/newsmakersF.asp?NewsID=21#.WkN1dbaZPNA

Making a Meaningful Map – ESRI: http://www.esri.com/news/arcuser/0911/making-a-map-meaningful.html

Map projection – Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Map_projection

Flag of the United Nations – Wikipedia: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_the_United_Nations

Boston public schools map switch aims to amend 500 years of distortion (the video is quite fun) – The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/mar/19/boston-public-schools-world-map-mercator-peters-projection

To order one of the “planisphères renversantes” from an over-passionate anti-imperialist: http://les-volets-jaunes.org/planispheres-renversantes/envoi-postal