3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A Wild, Complex, Dynamic Being,
This review is from: Animate Earth: Science, Intuition and Gaia (Paperback)
"A vild, complex, dynamic being" - that's what Stephan Harding calls Earth in his book Animate Earth. Science, Intuition and Gaia (2006). There he collects the wisdom that as a "Resident Ecologist" he gives out at Schumacher College in Devon, England. In the summer 1999 he made also the Green party in Skåne, Sweden, happy with this wisdom, lecturing on how the earth's ecological system functions as feedback processes within the framework of the sun energy's infinitely complicated cycles on earth. So with carbon's, calcium's and sulphur's, oxygen's and phosphorus' "travels" over land and sea, through atmosphere and underground. Important are the clouds, which with their white upper surface reflect away the sunlight that would have made Earth too hot. Over the sea, the clouds are formed through condensation nucleii from algae. In such ways, life regulates the temperature in its own habitat and is everywhere participating in what happens. Ecology's miracle is that waste products from one being becomes" food" for another; so with oxygen from plants that runs ourselves (and the animals), at the same time as we give away carbon dioxide, which is food for the plants. So the planet is one big symbios of matter and life: Gaia.
In our time Earth is desperate, Harding means; it wobbles between glacial periods and shorter hot periods like a top that is losing its speed. With his square reason man is not skilled to handle this. Instead, we need to feel that we live our lives in symbiotic relationship with a planetary being, so very much bigger than we - something similar to mitochondria in the cell. Gaia certainly is more like a living organism than a dead stone lump, but alive in the ordinary sense she is not, maybe. But Earth is something much bigger and more remarkable than we usually think.