James Lovelock, the originator of the “Gaia” hypothesis, now argues that planet Earth is doomed and there is nothing we can do about it. Lovelock argued thirty years ago that the earth is regulated by a planetary-scale control system he named “Gaia.” Radical ecologists, feminists, and various New Age thinkers embraced the concept with vigor, with the ecologists arguing that the imposition of human life was leading the control system out of balance.
Some feminists embraced the idea that the “Gaia” force was a personalized female reality that should be treated as a living character. The New Agers developed “Gaia” spiritualities.
Now, Lovelock warns that we are “past the point of no return” in global climate change. Writing in The Independent [London], Lovelock argues that the Earth is “about to catch a morbid fever that may last as long as 10,000 years.”
“My Gaia theory sees the Earth behaving as if it were alive, and clearly anything alive can enjoy good health, or suffer disease,” Lovelovck explains. “Gaia has made me a planetary physician and I take my profession seriously, and now I, too, have to bring bad news.” Very bad news indeed.
More: The climate centres around the world, which are the equivalent of the pathology lab of a hospital, have reported the Earth’s physical condition, and the climate specialists see it as seriously ill, and soon to pass into a morbid fever that may last as long as 100,000 years. I have to tell you, as members of the Earth’s family and an intimate part of it, that you and especially civilisation are in grave danger.
Our planet has kept itself healthy and fit for life, just like an animal does, for most of the more than three billion years of its existence. It was ill luck that we started polluting at a time when the sun is too hot for comfort. We have given Gaia a fever and soon her condition will worsen to a state like a coma. She has been there before and recovered, but it took more than 100,000 years. We are responsible and will suffer the consequences: as the century progresses, the temperature will rise 8 degrees centigrade in temperate regions and 5 degrees in the tropics.
Much of the tropical land mass will become scrub and desert, and will no longer serve for regulation; this adds to the 40 per cent of the Earth’s surface we have depleted to feed ourselves.
Curiously, aerosol pollution of the northern hemisphere reduces global warming by reflecting sunlight back to space. This “global dimming” is transient and could disappear in a few days like the smoke that it is, leaving us fully exposed to the heat of the global greenhouse. We are in a fool’s climate, accidentally kept cool by smoke, and before this century is over billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable.
By failing to see that the Earth regulates its climate and composition, we have blundered into trying to do it ourselves, acting as if we were in charge. By doing this, we condemn ourselves to the worst form of slavery. If we chose to be the stewards of the Earth, then we are responsible for keeping the atmosphere, the ocean and the land surface right for life. A task we would soon find impossible – and something before we treated Gaia so badly, she had freely done for us.
Of course, there is still time for Lovelock to offer another book on the subject, and The Revenge of Gaia is soon to be released. The very fact that the book’s title sounds like a bad science fiction movie should tell us something. Christians are assigned the mutual tasks of dominion and stewardship, and one of the theological failures of the present generation is the absence of a comprehensive evangelical vision of ecology. Ideas like the Gaia hypothesis fill that vacuum, turing the biblical worldview virtually upside-down in the process.