Friday, April 2, 2010


I've started reading this book that was written in the 90s by Isaac Asimov and Fredrik Pohl called Our Angry Earth. In it they talk about this concept created by a scientist called Lovelock called "Gaia" named after the ancient goddess of the Earth (in other words, Mother Earth). Basically what Lovelock is talking about is that the every organism on the Earth is connected and depends on one another and the organism of the Earth is alive and constantly adapting and working at homeostasis to keep everything at a certain level so that everything can survive.

Many scientists rebuked Lovelock's Gaia concept because it seemed too spiritual, too supernatural, but I personally believe that it answers a lot of questions concerning religion, higher beings, and science and how they are all interconnected. The concept of Gaia could be considered a religion in the way that I see it because you have this "Mother Earth" and a belief in what her purpose is it gives all life a purpose and a purpose to natural events like storms and earthquakes, temperature changes, etc. But it is not a spiritual thing like most people are used to religion being. A belief in Gaia is more an understanding of how the Earth works and why it works the way it does (the reason for creating religion and higher beings in the first place).

I think the concept of Gaia is very efficient in answering many questions like our existence and our future. It fills in the gaps science can not explain, yet makes something spiritual slightly more factual as well. In one of the chapter in Our Angry Earth, Assimov and Pohl mention that the Earth had no oxygen at one point until plants through natural processes, expelled it into the atmosphere, making it habitable for humans and other living organisms that cannot survive without oxygen that serve the Earth in many diverse ways. This is the science portion of our creation. The real question is: Why? The concept of Gaia gives you a somewhat reasonable spiritual meaning behind this. Gaia knows what it needs to thrive and therefore makes sure that it get what it needs, in this case through the plant life living on Earth originally.

The concept of Gaia also mentions that Gaia will do whatever it needs to protect itself: even destroy humankind if need be. However, Gaia works though natural processes. By the time, it killed off the human race, we would have destroyed and depleted the planet so much it might be irreparable. However, if it is true that Gaia was able to return the world to normal after Ice Ages, meteors, and other things that have nearly destroyed the Earth, I think it could be true also that Gaia could repair the Earth as long as homo sapiens sapiens are not able to destroy it.

A lot is said about how a nuclear war would be bad for the environment because it could cause a nuclear winter that could wipe out, not only the human race, but other living organisms as well: animals, plants, etc. However, if the concept of Gaia holds true, wouldn't Gaia fix itself during a nuclear winter, the same way it did with the meteor that killed off the dinosaurs and the Ice Age and everything else? Couldn't it just go back to normal, or at least Life back on its feet? The only difference I can see is that the human race would be wiped out by their own hands and not be around to mess it up a second time. Well, Gaia would have found a way to balance everything out in the end I guess.

The book says there is no way to stop the destruction we have caused to our planet and that is true. It is also true that government action in the environmental issues would make the process of stopping the destruction
much easier, but I think there is plenty you can do as an individual to stop the continuation of the Earth's destruction.

If everyone believes that they are the only person trying there is bound to be another person thinking the same thing, maybe everyone thinking the same thing. So if everyone played the same role in trying to protect our environment, perhaps it would be a worldwide thing. It's impossible to believe that this could actually happen, but it's pointless to think that you shouldn't do anything about it yourself.

We can start by not using any products that contain chlorofluorocarbons. By recycling instead of just throwing everything away. By walking to school or to the dollar store or pharmacy, etc. By not littering, anywhere: on the street, at the beach, in the park, in our neighborhoods. By planting trees and plants that have been seriously depleted by deforestation. And in America we have even more opportunities to protect our environment because we can take an active role in our government. Here we can survey people, we can petition for laws, we can vote for our own legislation. We can take an active role in Gaia, by making it an importance in our daily lives.

If everyone made the environmental issue a priority, even if no one else necessarily knew about it, wouldn't it eventually start to make a difference?


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