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Healing Gaia Hardcover – Oct 1991

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Publications; 1st American Ed edition (Oct 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517578484
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517578483
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 2.3 x 25 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 640,871 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James Lovelock is the author of more than 200 scientific papers and the originator of the Gaia Hypothesis (now Gaia Theory). He has written four books on the subject: Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth, The Ages of Gaia and Gaia: The Practical Science of Planetary Medicine, as well as an autobiography, Homage to Gaia. His most recent was The Revenge of Gaia (Allen Lane, 2006). In 2003 he was made a Companion of Honour by Her Majesty the Queen, and in September 2005 Prospect magazine named him as one of the world's top 100 global public intellectuals. In April 2006 he was awarded the Edinburgh Medal at the Edinburgh International Science Festival.

Product Description


The author takes his theory of looking at the earth as a living organism one step further, showing readers how to apply medical science to the healing of the planet and discussing ozone depletion, acid rain, and more.

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Amazon.com: 4 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Planetary Life Cycles 101 5 April 2005
By Bugs - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Healing Gaia is a masterpiece of science, vision and thought. This book looks something like a cross between a collegiate textbook and a beautiful coffee table art book. The art work in the many illustrations is superb and along with fine photos and graphs depicting Earth's many life cycle systems, easily and clearly describes what a self-regulating life support system is and looks like.

The text is comprehensive and complete, yet does not overwhelm. After reading this book, if one still does not believe that Earth is a self regulating life support system, one will at least admire this very compelling dissertation. One need keep in mind that at the very basics of self regulation is the fact that the Earth has maintained it's life supporting oxygen level of about 21% for over a billion years. More oxygen and we're toast; not enough and we suffocate.

Earth formed, cooled and then microscopic life developed in the oceans. Ranging on or near the surface of the ocean, tiny one-celled phytoplankton, through the process of photosynthesis, produce oxygen and also trap a significant amount of carbon dioxide which has been identified as a significant contributor to global warming.

With the land forests of the world being cut down at an alarming rate, phytoplankton are, once again, becoming a primary supplier of oxygen. The delicate balance between land and ocean environs is needed to regulate not only the carbon/oxygen balance, but also, to help regulate the weather and Lovelock, et al., give a compelling argument for implementing corrective measures to help restore that balance.

When we understand life cycle processes and understand what we as humans are doing to upset and alter them, we then have a sense of which direction to go in order to alter our life styles and bad environmental habits. So this book covers the entire spectrum from a discourse in Earth life support cycles to avenues of approach to Healing Gaia. My hats off to Lovelock and his staff for creating this masterpiece.

I have only seen one other book that approaches this caliber of discourse on Gaia and that is: "The Seven Mysteries of Life" by Guy Murchie. The title is somewhat misleading because the gist of the book is very similar to Healing Gaia- and no mystery, really, just a good dissertation on Earth`s life cycles. As with Lovelock, Murchie (a meteorologist) was also inspired to write his book about a self-regulating life support system and the interconnectivity of all life while contemplating the beautiful view of Earth from space.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A great book about a great theory. 22 July 2001
By lloyd - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Gaia is one of the most profound theories of the 20th century; the theory veiws the earth as a living organism with the ability to regulate the climate so it is comfortable for life.
Lovelock does a great job of expaining this theory in terms undestandable to anyone with a basic scientific education. the book is written from the point of veiw of a plenetary physician, this top down perspective really adds to the books charm. He includes case notes providing real cases of planetary ailments. There are sections on the anatomy, physiology and plagues of our earth.
This book is a refeshing escape from the usual reductionism of science, and a great treatment of the pressing issues concering our evironment.
Putting Gaia Theory into action at both local and regional scales 17 Dec 2014
By Chad M - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As the brain of Gaia or the biosphere system, people can both refrain from disrupting the geological cycles and now take positive actions. So many people take agriculture and ranching for granted and don't consider that it inevitably involves soil erosion. Even the best managed annual cropland and tilled land will diminish over decades. Lovelock calls mass agriculture and deforestation the abrasion of Gaia's skin, which is an apt description. His colleague, Edward Goldsmith, also writes of the high impact of agriculture and a variety of other extractive technologies in "The Imperiled Planet".
What are some ways to turn around a diminished biosphere, one which Vaclav Smil recently estimates to have lost half of its pre-industrial terrestrial phytomass ("Harvesting the Biosphere"). For one, creating terra preta or mixing wood based charcoal into the soil. The book inspires action, and both large scale endeavors (i.e. nuclear energy plants to replace coal power stations) and local (i.e. perennial farming methods and terra preta) will be needed in the coming decades.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A more mature review 14 July 2004
By Lloyd - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The other review on this page was written by me (Lloyd) a few years ago. I am writing this review as a second look at the book now that I am older and (hopefully) more critical - i.e. less willing to be persuaded (!). Whilst I still think that the Gaia hypothesis is a fascinating idea and that Lovelock's book is well worth reading, I am now much more sceptical about the actual evidence for the hypothesis -- empirical evidence is, after all, the final and absolute test of a hypothesis in science.
Lovelock's writing can be very poetic. I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing, but in some cases -- such as the description of the earth as being an `organism' -- clarity and scientific precision seems to be sacrificed in favour of emotion. In the review `Reviewing Lovelock's second book on the Gaia Hypothesis' of `The Ages of Gaia' someone explains Lovelock's ideas about the earth as an organism more eloquently than I can. I find this view much less likely (and therefore not as good as a scientific hypothesis) than the more down to earth -- if you will forgive the pun! -- statement that living things sometimes modify their environment in a way that keeps conditions favourable for life.
Which brings me back to the all-important question of whether the earth is `self regulating'. It seems to me that this would be quite a difficult thing to demonstrate experimentally or by observation (although Lovelock does give examples of observations that support his hypothesis). I don't know what the current evidence amounts to (I am not a scientist!) but it seems to me that the current consensus is not with Lovelock.
In summary, I would recommend people to read the book but to bear in mind that Gaia is not a well-established theory. In particular, it might be good to also read some books about more mainstream evolutionary theory by authors such as Dawkins and Stephen Jay Gould (which are, in my opinion, brilliant books) first.
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