Home » Posts tagged 'gaia'

Tag Archives: gaia

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai III: Catacylsm
Click on image to purchase

Post categories

Gaia is Responding to our Actions. Will We Act Differently in Time?

Gaia is Responding to our Actions. Will We Act Differently in Time?

The Earth is not dying.
Gaia is not changing.
Gi is responding.

So often we hear the phrase ‘save the world’ or the ‘save our planet.’ We may even use it. But sometime back in my career someone wise corrected that, explaining that the planet is not dying but changing—and through that change many species, including our own, will probably die. But the Earth, in all likelihood, will not die.*

But to say the Earth is changing, just as to say it is dying, is passive, like, saying ‘Oops, too bad, we were born on a sick old planet–just our bad luck.’

No, Gaia is responding. Responding to our actions. Whatever metaphors you want to use here, feel free: You want to make Gaia into a finely-balanced aquarium filled with exotic fish, and us a wild child dropping soap in the tank to ‘clean’ it? You want to make Gaia a partner suffering from domestic abuse who finally lashes out on us, her abuser, after years of mistreatment? You want to make Gaia a complex planetary system that holds heat from space with a thin coating of co2—a layer that has increased to a level not seen in 23 million years, higher than even three million years ago when global temperatures were 2 degrees C warmer and sea levels were 15-25 meters higher? While the last isn’t artful, it is accurate.

Gaia is responding. To the altered conditions we have unleashed—with our profligate burning of fossil fuels, our cutting down of forests and ravaging of oceans, and our sheer numbers (us and our pets and livestock).

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Gaia, the Return of the Earth Goddess

Gaia, the Return of the Earth Goddess

Temple worship in Ur, from Sumerian times. Note in the lower panel people are bringing all sort of goods to the temple represented as the abstract structure on the right.
House founded by An, praised by Enlil, given an oracle by mother Nintud! A house, at its upper end a mountain, at its lower end a spring! A house, at its upper end threefold indeed. Whose well-founded storehouse is established as a household, whose terrace is supported by lahama deities; whose princely great wall, the shrine of Urim! (the Kesh temple hymn, ca. 2600 BCE)
Not long ago, I found myself involved in a debate on Gaian religion convened by Erik Assadourian. For me, it was a little strange. For the people of my generation, religion is supposed to be a relic of the past, opium of the people, a mishmash of superstitions, something for old women mumbling ejaculatory prayers, things like that. But, here, a group of people who weren’t religious in the traditional sense of the word, and who included at least two professional researchers in physics, were seriously discussing about how to best worship the Goddess of Earth, the mighty, the powerful, the divine, the (sometimes) benevolent Gaia, She who keeps the Earth alive.

It was not just unsettling, it was a deep rethinking of many things I had been thinking. I had been building models of how Gaia could function in terms of the physics and the biology we know. But here, no, it was not Gaia the holobiont, not Gaia the superorganism, not Gaia the homeostatic system. It was Gaia the Goddess.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Gaia Exists! Here is the Proof

Gaia Exists! Here is the Proof

Gaia is neither benevolent nor merciful. She is harsh and ruthless. 

Environmentalists are sometimes defined as “Gaia worshippers,” a term supposed to be an insult. That’s a little strange because most people on this planet openly worship non-existing entities and that doesn’t normally make them targets for insults. Maybe it is because there is an important difference, here: Gaia exists. Oh yes, she does exist!

Who or what is Gaia, exactly? The name belongs to an ancient Goddess but the modern version is something completely different. As you probably know, the term was proposed for the first time by James Lovelock in 1972 and co-developed with Lynn Margulis. As it happens for many innovative ideas, it was the result of a simple observation: if the Sun radiative intensity increases gradually over the eons, how come that the Earth’s surface temperature has remained within the boundaries necessary to keep the biosphere alive? There has to be something that keeps it like that and Lovelock proposed that the mechanism was based on regulating the concentration of greenhouse gases, mainly CO2.

So, Gaia is not supposed to be benevolent nor merciful, and not even a Goddess: we could say that She is what She is. But does She really really exist? Not everyone agrees on this point, the concept is often referred as the “Gaia hypothesis” and entire books have been written to demonstrate that there is no such a thing. Indeed, in the beginning, the idea was mostly qualitative and not proven. Lovelock proposed a clever model called “Daisyworld” that showed how a simple biosphere could control the temperature of a planet. But the Earth’s biosphere is not just made out of daisies and something more than that was needed. And, yes, over time proofs have accumulated to show that Gaia is much more than a qualitative hypothesis (or an object of worship by people believing in non-existing beings).

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

We are Gaians! — United with a living planet in crisis

We are Gaians! — United with a living planet in crisis

Versión original en Castellano: ¡Somos de Gaia!, D.C. Wahl, 2005

Many of us are familiar with the name Gaia. But how well do most people understand the concept this word tries to express? Mythologically Gaia refers to the ancient Greek goddess. More than a simple member of the Greek pantheon Gaia was revered as the all containing and all embracing mother. [This article was first published in 2005, in Spanish, by EcoHabitar, Nr.4, pp.40–41. see original copy here.]

According to Greek mythology, the universe began in chaos. From this chaos emerged Gaia to give birth to the world. The poet Hesiod (7th Century B.C.) called Gaia “the mother of all”. She represents the feminine archetype that gives birth to life — a concept as old as human consciousness. Among the ancient American civilizations the equivalent of Gaia was called ‘Pachamama’, referring to the all embracing goddess of Nature.

The Sadness of Gaia — by Natalie Glasson

The resurgence of Gaia in our time owes a lot to the work of the British scientist James Lovelock. In the 1970’s, Lovelock followed the advice of his friend, the writer William Golding, and used the name of the ancient goddess to refer to a revolutionary new hypothesis he wanted to propose.

James Lovelock

At the time Lovelock was working for N.A.S.A. on the first project that was investigating the possibility of life on Mars. His job was to design experiments and equipment that could be used to establish whether there was life on the Red Planet.

While analysing new data about the atmospheric composition of various planets, Lovelock realized that Earth was unique in showing a pronounced chemical disequilibrium in the relative composition of gases like carbon dioxide, nitrogen and oxygen in its atmosphere. In comparison, the atmospheres of the other planets in our solar system all had atmospheric compositions in equilibrium, with little potential for further reactions or change.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Climate Armageddon Revisited

Climate Armageddon Revisited

It was only five years ago that Scientific American published this article: Climate Armageddon: How the World’s Weather Could Quickly Run Amok, d/d May 25, 2012. The subheading to that article read: “Climate scientists think a perfect storm of climate ‘flip’ could cause massive upheavals in a matter of years.” Well now….

That 2012 article also explained how the eminent British scientist James Lovelock (98) switched allegiance from his original theory of Gaia, which states that Gaia (Earth) will always compensate for changes in climate by natural occurrence, a self-correcting mechanism, not too hot, not too cold, not to worry. That was back in the 1970s.

Contrariwise, thirty-plus years later in 2006 Lovelock rejected his own theory, ominously stating: “I have to tell you, as members of the Earth’s family and an intimate part of it, that you and especially civilization, are in grave danger.” (Published in The Independent in 2006), Ibid.

Thus, Lovelock rejected his own Gaia hypothesis of a self-regulating planet and embraced the “flip” school of thought, which refers to dynamic systems or mathematics that describe things that tend to change suddenly, difficult to predict as to timing. Ergo, this refers to the fearsome tipping point, when the climate system suddenly turns wacky like a wild beast poked with a stick (Broecker), self-reinforcing its destructive path, hands-free, no stopping its ruinous behavior! This may already be happening on a scale that is downright scary in fact singularly scary because it’s so soon. This is not normal. The planet is on Speed!

Massive hurricanes (Harvey, Irma, Maria) and torrential flooding (Houston, Sierra Leone, Bihar-India, Assam-India, Nepal, Mumbai, Southern Asian Noah’s Ark territory) are only telltale signs, minor events in a bigger picture, like canaries in the proverbial mineshaft, warning of a much larger canvas painted with darkened hues, threatening like the distant rumbling of an upcoming mega storm.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase