Have you ever read Gaia?


You are lucky, you live at the moment amongst one of the most amazing libraries.
You always want more information, and books still have a prerogative that electronic sources cannot match, the physicality of the medium: when you hold in your hand facts and words your reading experience is enhanced…
you should explain this one, but not now, lets go ahead with the post.

So, you read Lovelock’s Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth.
This became a milestone in environmentalist and scientific literature, used in reference by a host of writers on biology, botany, microbiology, oceanography and more.
Published in 1979 the book was a light introduction to the effects that species have on the complex system which is earth, paying particular attention to the relationship biota and abiota (living and non-living elements) have with the biosphere.

Bringing forward the knowledge accumulated by years working with NASA, as an independent researcher and as a scientist investigating the effect of pollution by carbon emission, he paints a romanticised picture of how earth, as a single organism comprised of inter-related elements, had the capacity for the past 3,5 millions years to regulate and hold an apparent and precise status-quo: homeostasis.
He argued that life on earth was possible only thanks to the capability of our ‘super-organism’ to maintain the ideal conditions.

Gaia Theory
suggest that the perfect balance between Nitrogen, oxygen and other gasses in the atmosphere regulate the amount of UV rays filtering through the atmosphere and therefore rectifying discrepancies in temperatures due to sun’s activity. The combination of the gasses also condition quantity and acidity of the water, salinity and temperature of the oceans, composition and relationships between aerobic and anaerobic organism on earth, which in turn balance the amount of gasses released in the atmosphere, in a closed and self-sustainable circuit.

Although this could be argued to be a process developed as a systemic Darwinian evolution, Lovelock also brings forward several aspects that could not be explained in simplistic ‘survival of the stronger‘ rhetoric.

Great emphasis is given to the do and don’t for life-on-earth’s sake, and interestingly in the book he argues that industry and related pollution is not an issue for earth, rather the depletion of forests in the tropics and the destruction or irresponsible miss-management of the submerged sections of continental platforms, swamps and estuaries -where most of the vital activity of gas regulation for the atmosphere takes place- are the main issues of current human activity to be aware of.

The book was written to be accessible, and -because of that- is somewhat too much of a novel rather than a serious text book, yet because of its accessibility it quickly became one of the important texts in the environmental awareness campaigns of so many associations and individuals.

The book is extremely dated by now, and keep referencing to it, for whatever argument, implies lack of solid current information. You are one of those amateur who profess knowledge without having mastered it. You are trying to rectify, by bringing yourself up to date.

In the meantime you readers should have a look at the latest book from Lovelock, The Revenge of Gaia, an extremely bleak outlook. In this latest publication the author definitely abandon the positivism which pervaded through-out his first writings, to depict an ecosystem well beyond the threshold of collapse.

Professor James Lovelock, the scientist who developed Gaia theory, has said it is too late to try and save the planet.

You will talk about this in another post too..

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