Something to Ribbit About.

Photo by Joachim S. Muller |

While passing through stores or museums as a child, I remember my mother telling me that I shouldn`t touch anything because I might break it. It occurred to me recently that our interaction with nature can sometimes seem like just that.

Whether we're domesticating species or preserving endangered ones, we constantly have to be aware of potential consequences that can negatively affect our global ecosystem. With these ideas looming over us, it`s hard to see how any interaction with nature can benefit us without an expense to nature itself.

An article recently caught my eye opposing this very idea. Definitely a breakthrough in my opinion; researchers at Queen`s University Belfast, UK, have discovered that certain proteins found in two species of frogs have the potential to treat over 70 illnesses by regulating the growth of blood vessels.

The first species, the Waxy Monkey Frog, secretes from its skin, a protein that can halt the growth of blood vessels. Given that cancer tumours require blood vessels to grow, this can prevent cancerous cells from spreading.

The second species, the Giant Firebellied Toad secretes a protein that can stimulate the growth of blood vessels, useful for organ transplants, repairing tissue damaged by heart conditions and much more.

While this leap in research is truly inspiring, this post was headed by the claim that the frogs were not harmed in the least – the frogs are captured, proteins are gently extracted and are then released back into the wild. In fact, the article even discusses "unlocking the potential of the natural world.” I think an equally important point to be made is the lack of detriment to the species, normally seen in animal cures.

We have become accustomed to the idea that using the earth's resources for our development will lead to its demise, and failure to overwork and overuse these resources will translate into a state of primitiveness for us.

It is this idea that creates an environment of Us versus Them; Humans versus Nature. Unfortunately, the ultimate state of our planet becomes collateral damage in this war. Just as we need the earth`s resources to flourish, it requires from us a patience to let replenish and the knowledge to let flourish.

So, maybe it doesn`t have to be War of the Worlds for us; we can take without harming and develop without overusing. Let`s hope that similar research will demonstrate that the choice isn`t between tip toeing around nature or plundering through it.