The Gaia principle is a controversial ecological hypothesis or theory proposed by James Lovelock that postulates the biosphere and the physical components of the Earth (atmosphere, cryosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere) are closely integrated to form a complex interacting system. The hypothesis is frequently described as viewing the Earth as a single organism.
I’m a pretty simple chap but this sort of makes sense to me given the fact that absolutely (almost) everything that there ever was on earth is still on earth. (The ‘almost’ is the tiny amount of matter that has been used in the construction of the various satellites and ‘space-craft’ we have sent ‘off Earth’.) Admittedly many of the elements we have undergo some change either by virtue of chemical change or by combination with other elements, but we are neither making new or obliterating ‘old’, so doesn’t this make sense of Lovelocks premise.
Now Professor Lovelock has stated humans are too stupid to prevent climate change from radically impacting on our lives over the coming decades.”I don’t think we’re yet evolved to the point where we’re clever enough to handle a complex a situation as climate change,” said Lovelock in his first in-depth interview since the theft of the UEA emails last November. “The inertia of humans is so huge that you can’t really do anything meaningful.”
One of the main obstructions to meaningful action is “modern democracy”, he added. “Even the best democracies agree that when a major war approaches, democracy must be put on hold for the time being. I have a feeling that climate change may be an issue as severe as a war. It may be necessary to put democracy on hold for a while.”
Lovelock, 90, believes the world’s best hope is to invest in adaptation measures, such as building sea defences around the cities that are most vulnerable to sea-level rises. He thinks only a catastrophic event would now persuade humanity to take the threat of climate change seriously enough, such as the collapse of a giant glacier in Antarctica, such as the Pine Island glacier, which would immediately push up sea level.
“That would be the sort of event that would change public opinion,” he said. “Or a return of the dust bowl in the mid-west. Another Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report won’t be enough. We’ll just argue over it like now.” The IPCC’s 2007 report concluded that there was a 90% chance that greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are causing global warming, but the panel has been criticised over a mistaken claim that all Himalayan glaciers could melt by 2030.
Adaptive measures may save coastal cities, but surely preventive measures such as stopping deforestation, less reliance on fossil fuels, etc. would be a preferable option? Doubtless they will cost some of our profit-driven mega industrials and of course governments would need to be somewhat ‘adaptive’ as well, but I can’t help believe that the result would be better for the planet than a bunch of bloody great sea-walls, hermetically sealed domes and other such schemes?


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