books environment sustainability

What is Gaia Theory?

I’ve been reading James Lovelock recently, and I find his theory fascinating. In summary, Lovelock’s theory is that the earth and all life on the earth can be thought of as an inter-connected whole. In the past we believed that life on earth responded to changes in the planet’s conditions, that organisms adapted to changes in their environment. When Lovelock suggested that it might work the other way as well – that the earth is affected by the lifeforms on it – the theory was roundly condemned. 40 years later it is proving itself to be good science after all, and in 2001 a gathering of scientists formalised it with this statement: ‘The Earth System behaves as a single self-regulating system comprised of physical, chemical, biological and human components.’

It means the earth behaves a bit like a body does, able to regulate its own temperature, which I think is pretty amazing. I don’t agree with everything he says, but I’m adding James Lovelock’s ‘The Revenge of Gaia‘ to the reading list, just for being provocative. I’ll share some quotes from it another time.

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