The world's first "interactive microbe zoo" opened in Amsterdam on Tues 7th Oct. The generally held view about the invisible micro-world is a negative one. There is a serious knowledge gap between the science and the general public. "We want to display micro-nature," said Haig Balian, the museum’s director, who believes the importance of microbes in our daily lives is largely ignored.
In the public’s mind, “Microbes are most often associated with illness, through viruses, bacteria, fungi and algae. The aim of the museum is to show how, in reality, they are also essential for our survival and will play an increasingly important role in human health and the planet's future. Balian said. "We want to show visitors how everything in nature is interconnected and how fundamental microbes are as a part of that connection." Each adult human body carries around 1.5 kilos (3.3 pounds) of microbes, and we would die without them.
The negative public view is dangerous, because the lack of understanding and the preconceptions about microbes lessen support among the public for the scientific work being done to Promote understanding of how we can sustain the interaction with our microbial world which is important for gut health and our immune system, whilst at the same time protecting ourselves from pathogens which cause diseases.
"A visit to Micropia will forever change the way you see the world," said Balian. Maybe, in Dr Balian, we now have a much needed David Attenborough figure who will inspire us about the conservation of our microbe world.
For more details go to http://www.micropia.nl/en/