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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lovelock and The Vanishing Face of Gaia

I just listened to an interview of James Lovelock on NPR. I have been an admirer of his work since my 3rd year of college when I took a course built around his first Gaia book -yes this was 1991 and UW-Madison, the liberal center of the Midwest -an entire 3 credit course! Coolest class I ever took. My take-away points were 1) the earth system is incredibly more complex and subtle than even our smartest think-tanks can imagine, 2) Gaia (with or without us) will survive, even if we as a species completely foul our nest.
Love lock's message seems very much the same, but with a less rosy outlook on the human species. He contends that global warming is with us for thousands of years, even if we could turn off CO2 production NOW. Warming, flooding, migration, wars, and starvation will happen no matter what. Through our actions we may be able to change the degree somewhat. His hope is that after our world-wide visit from the four horsemen we will emerge as a species more enlightened, climate change having driven us to evolve once again through genetic selection
The radio personality laughed nervously through-out the segment, as she tried to get him to lighten-up and say well of course we can turn things around, of course everything will be okay. He steadfastly refused to give in to her need for reassurance. His best advice to the future generation of humanity was to learn how to adapt to a changing world. Learn how to survive, and be ready to move to a location less affected with drought, flood, pestilence or famine. Heavy stuff.
Dr Lovelock is a serious scientist, respected as a forward thinker but also more than 90 years old. Old men are wise but often fatalistic. Worth considering, but not driving yourself crazy over.
How can you adapt? How do you prepare your children to survive. More crazy dreams for me tonight I'll bet.

3 comments:

Ruralrose said...

excellent post Kris, thanks, this is my favorite reading, sweet dreams. . .

Sue said...

It is human nature to deny that our actions can kill us. We have been told for DECADES to stop with the carbon emissions. Do we listen? No. Who would want to be without their car? All the "stuff" made in those polluting factories?
I agree, some may learn to adapt and change, but there is going to be some MAJOR problems along the way. Starvation is already a very real problem in my countries. But hey, as long as the mall is open...
Great post!

fullfreezer said...

Excellent post. I think we can all do our part to learn to adapt and teach our children the skills they may need, but I think it's beyond our power to change the world. One thing I repeatedly tell my patients is that we can't control the actions of others, all we can do is do our part and decide how miserable we are going to let ourselves become because of their actions. I try to take that advice into my life- Try as I might, I can't MAKE someone else understand or change. sigh...
But when I become queen of the world, things will change ;)
Judy