Gaian Response

Gaia is the whole Earth system comprising the planet and all life on Earth including the human species. Gaia in Turmoil is a collection of essays by leading scientists and other experts describing various aspects of Gaian science and knowledge, focussing especially on climate change and biodiversity destruction. As well as spelling out the facts about climate change and loss of biodiversity more clearly than anywhere else I have seen, the book has enabled me to see the potential for Humanity’s response in a new light.

What Gaian theory and Gaian thinking and discussion brings to issues such a climate change and biodiversity is the idea that the Earth system is self-regulating, in some ways rather like a living being, and in particular that life on Earth has helped to regulate conditions on the planet in ways that are favourable to life on Earth.

This has enabled me to see climate change as a symptom of Gaia’s ill health. Gaia is not well. The cause is not in doubt: the excessive use of fossil fuels. The remedy is equally clear: the system needs to be regulated by reducing the global total of carbon emissions from the use of fossil fuels.

We can also see Humanity’s role in responding to climate change in a new light. Because the human species is part of life on Earth we are part of, or at least we are capable of being part of, the Earth’s self-regulating system. In taking action to reduce carbon emissions from fossil fuels we are acting as part of Gaia’s self-regulating system. We are playing a Gaian role. This is Gaia’s response to a Gaian need.

As well as being the cause of Gaia’s ill health, humans are also the only species capable of restoring Gaia to health. Not by attempting to manage the Planet, as James Lovelock warned against, but by restraining our own damaging activities. We can do that by taking all sorts of action in our own individual lives, in our communities, in our own countries and in the international negotiations. In addition we can act on behalf of Humanity as a whole and the rest of life on Earth, by establishing a new global system to make sure that the global total of carbon emissions from the human use of fossil fuels is reduced as required by climate science – by something like 6% a year from now onwards.

The CapGlobalCarbon initiative is a Gaian initiative, a Gaian response to a Gaian need.

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