GAIA

I’ve finally got round to reading James Lovelock’s book, The Vanishing Face of Gaia. It’s a wonderful book if you haven’t read it.  There’s a lot in it that is thought provoking, but one point stood out to me as being particularly important.

Lovelock writes about the idea of ‘saving the planet’…..

“Don’t feel guilty about opting out of this nonsense: closer examination reveals it as an elaborate scam in the interests of a few nations whose economies are enriched in the short term by the sale of wind turbines, biofuel plants and other green-sounding energy equipment. Don’t for a moment believe the sales talk that these will save the planet.  The salesmen’s pitch refers to the world they know, the urban world. The real Earth does not need saving. It can, will and always has saved itself and it is now starting to do so by changing to a state much less favourable for us and other animals. What people mean by the plea is ‘save the planet as we know it’ and that is now impossible.”

I don’t agree with his statement about wind turbines or new energies being a scam, but I do find his point that the Earth will save itself very interesting.  It flips the idea that the Earth is a passive thing that we are destroying and is defenceless against our rapacious consumption of its resources.  And instead makes the point that the planet is an organism that has the ability to defend itself and that’s what it is doing now.  I find that quite profound, albeit worrying that it still doesn’t help answer how our future is going to pan out.

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One thought on “GAIA

  1. Thank you for this post. I recently had a big heated discussion with my 86 year old grandfather who is not in favor of bleeding heart environmentalists, like I tend to be. He has seen a lot throughout his time on the planet. He is tired of all the cries about the end of the world. He, however, is a humanist. He believes the humans will find a way to save themselves… not the Earth.

    I am not a humanist. I like people but not necessarily humans. I am sad about the irrevocable damage we have done, and continue to do, to the other creatures and life on the planet. I am not so sad that we are leading our way to our own demise. Like lemmings, our path seems unavoidable. And I do think, like Lovelock, that the Earth, with or without life, will continue on after we are gone.

    But windturbines are a nice attempt to slow the process.

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