Sustaining Life: Biodiversity and Human Health

Contemporary Science Issues & Innovations
June 07, 2011 Media Center, Belmont, MA

Aaron Bernstein, MD, M.P.H., Harvard Medical School and (August, 2011) Associate Director, Harvard Center for Health and the Global Environment (CHGE).

The loss of biological diversity today is occurring at a rate 100 to 1000 times faster than at any time in human history. This rate of destruction is on par with the last great extinction of 65 million years ago, when roughly half of all species were lost. The drastic reduction of species impacts human well-being. We depend on biodiversity for essentials: food, medicines, a check against infectious diseases; and as a resource to understand how the human body functions in states of health and illness. It is imperative to maintain biodiversity, not only for our own preservation, and also for the preservation of life on Earth.

Dr. Bernstein’s research examines the human health dimensions of global environmental change, such as climate change and biodiversity loss, with the aim of promoting a deeper understanding of these subjects among policy makers, educators, and the public.

Dr. Bernstein is a past recipient of a Harvard University Zuckerman Fellowship (2008) and has received Stanford University’s Firestone Medal for Research. In 2009 he became the course director for Human Health and Global Environmental Change, offered jointly at the Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School, the only such course offered at a medical school in the United States.
Meet Dr. Aaron Bernstein


Edited by Aaron Bernstein, M.D. and Nobel Laureate Eric Chivian: Sustaining Life: How Human Life Depends on Biodiversity (Oxford Univ Press, 2008). The book has been widely praised, including by the former Editor-in-Chief of the journal Science, and by Al Gore, Kofi Annan, and Gro Brundtland. It was named the best biology book of 2008 by the Library Journal.

Harvard Medical School Center for Health and Global Environment

The Coming Health Crisis S.A. Myers & A. Bernstein in The Scientist (Jan 01, 2011)

Dr. Bernstein’s 2009 keynote address to ASEAN Conference on Biodiversity

(abstract) Climate Change and Children’s Health. Aaron Bernstein & Samuel Myers. Current Opinion in Pediatrics: April 2011 – Volume 23 – Issue 2 – p 221–226

ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity video vault (great information)

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature : the major source for endangered and extinct species