彭蒙惠英语：20110224 MP3在线课程 Thanking Nature For Medicine
Where natural remedies come from
Plants can't move to escape harm, so they use a complex chemical arsenal to protect themselves from insects, diseases and other threats. And many of these compounds have the potential to protect not only plants, but us as well. Indeed, half of all of the new drugs developed in the last 25 years, and 70 percent of the drugs currently used to treat cancer, have been derived from nature. Medicines have also been obtained from many animal species, some on the verge of extinction.
In 40 years, however, the habitats of these plants and animals may be gone. We lose 32 million acres of forests each year. Scientists estimate that two-thirds of all species could become severely endangered by the end of this century. Yet researchers have only had the opportunity to test 1 percent of rainforest plants for organic compounds that could benefit human health. If we don't act soon, natural sources that could cure cancer, arthritis, HIV, diabetes, heart disease and innumerable other illnesses, may be lost to us forever.
Strengthening conservation efforts
Most of the planet's species live in the world's poorest nations and that's why I traveled, along with other cancer survivors from around the nation, to Washington last month to support a new effort in Congress to strengthen our nation's international conservation efforts. Introduced earlier this spring, the Global Conservation Act would establish a national strategy that will help our government assist in preserving the natural areas of developing countries that are too poor to do so on their own.
I'm grateful for the Chinese Happy Tree, which helped save my life and allowed me to watch my two daughters grow up. Speaking out for nature and all the medical treatments that come from it is just my way of saying "thank you."