Die Ausrottung unserer Heilmittel

BOSTON – Die Artenvielfalt ist von entscheidender Bedeutung für das Funktionieren der Ökosysteme, die alles Leben auf der Erde erhalten – Wälder, Binnengewässer, Korallenriffe, Böden und sogar die Atmosphäre. Die anhaltende und weiter fortschreitende Verminderung dieser Vielfalt schädigt die Gesellschaft in vielfältigster Weise. Oft übersehen werden die negativen Auswirkungen dieser Entwicklung auf die medizinische Forschung.

Über Jahrtausende haben sich Ärzte Substanzen aus der Natur zur Behandlung und Heilung von Krankheiten zunutze gemacht: Aspirin von der Weide und, in jüngerer Vergangenheit, TaxolÔ - das bahnbrechende Krebsmittel – aus der Rinde der pazifischen Eibe. Einige große Durchbrüche könnten noch bevorstehen. Das kann allerdings nur eintreten, wenn das Füllhorn der Natur erhalten wird, so dass heutige und zukünftige Forschergenerationen neue Entdeckungen machen können, von denen die Patienten überall profitieren.

Man denke an den Eisbären, dessen Existenz in freier Wildbahn durch den Klimawandel bedroht ist. Diese Säugetiere verbringen bis zu sieben Monate des Jahres im Winterschlaf und bewegen sich dabei praktisch überhaupt nicht. Ein Mensch würde bei so langer Bewegungslosigkeit ein Drittel seiner Knochenmasse verlieren.

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