Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Do you cli-fi?

The "Gaia hypothesis" essentially argues that living organisms interact with the broader inorganic environment to create a complex, self-regulating system that enables life on earth to continue.

It was advanced by the English chemist James Lovelock and the American microbiologist Lynn Margulis in the early 1970s, but popularised mainly by Lovelock, who coined the name Gaia – the Greek Goddess for the Earth – after the name was suggested to him by the novelist William Golding.

The idea of the world as a self-regulating entity was hardly new, with an important precedent in the thinking of Alexander von Humboldt a couple of centuries earlier and the Russian-Soviet scientists, including Piotr Kropotkin, Vladimir Vernadsky and Vladimir Kostitzin, having earlier arrived at related concepts.
Lovelock’s Gaia reflected the spirit of the times and was popularised, particularly outside the scientific community, at the same moment as photographs of planet Earth appeared taken from outer space.

The idea of a green glowing ball of fecundity – something like a world brain with the power to rid itself of elements that threaten its existence – became one of the popular mythologies of our time, especially among writers, artists, musicians and the humanist intelligentsia wishing to make a stand about climate change.

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