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Customer Review

on 6 April 2006
I have found the views espoused in this book to be both controversial and enlightening. Reading through the comments of previous readers I feel that they have somewhat missed a lot of points that James Lovelock was trying to make.
First off, hurrah for a book readble by the layman rather than a solely scientific community.
Also Mr Lovelock himself agreed that convincing many leaders / populations of the world that reigning in greenhouse emmissions is not going to be well received, but do we have a choice? Do they? Does a malthusianistic Gaia?
I didn't read a text that was anti-green / anti-organic. Instead I read a text that emphasised a planet hosting 6.5 billion (and growing) of the vermin called human beings "cannot" be sustained by wind turbines and organic (or indeed even intensive farming) methods, no matter how good the intentions.
A text that stated an opinion that we may not "want", but we "need" a portfolio of energy production methods with a lot of emphasis on nuclear fission, giving way to cleaner and more efficient fusion as it becomes available. Whilst the environment wasn't an issue we accepted miners dying in collapsing mines, living hard lives and dying in their 50s & 60s of lung related illnesses in order to find fuel. Maybe we need to stop being so soft and accept the risks of nuclear power generation instead of jumping at our own shadows whilst expecting a long, illness free life. That was never Gaia's way! Life itself is a risky business.
I also agree that we need to live in a world where responsibility begins with every individual. Just how to convince the individual? Putting this book on the curriculum!?
The text also stated that we need to retreat from a civilisation that plunders its resources. Yes we do need to retreat from a mindset that expects overseas holidays and the use of fossil burning fuels for transport, that is uncomfortable without the TV and the lights on all over the house. I too am guilty?
Mr Lovelock also has doubts about any country that needs to resource beyond its borders in a world where civilisation breaks down, yet in the UK we are beginning to depend on French electricity and Russian gas rendering future national secuirity impossible.
Overall, what he seems to be saying is that there are too many of us, using too many resources, leaving too much pollution and that many of the "green" solutions only go part of the way toward a solution, whilst many are less than the equivalent of sticking our fingers in the dyke. We need to individually and collectively take action now, because Gaia has and we may be very uncomfortable with the outcome.
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