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VINE VOICEon 6 February 2010
This is the latest in James Lovelock's books about Gaia. In this book he suggests that we might have taken Gaia beyond the point of no return and that human created climate change will lead to a shift in the steady-state of Gaia.

I am not an anti-Gaia skeptic although I think you do not need to personify the planet to make it a "living" system. I agree that the Earth's System is probably going to move to another steady state and that humanity is contributing to this move. Where I would disagree is that we know what this state will be and that we can work out our contribution to this shift. Lovelock himself admits that the system is too complex for humanity to understand and that we would be hopeless if we tried to take over the management of Gaia but that argument works both ways. We also cannot tell how Gaia will react to the current crisis. Where I would agree is that the new state is unlikely to be very human friendly, but Gaia will survive even if we do not.

He is pro-nuclear power and anti-sustainable and wind in particular. His arguments for tidal forget the contribution they make to environmental change. I agree that nuclear is our only current hope until we learn to reduce our consumption and we have to make do with less land and to generate the largest amount of food we can from this. So organic might not be the way forward. He is inconsistent over protecting the eco-systems while saying we cannot go organic and need to keep factory farming. He is silent on GM but this is something we might use.

There are lessons we can learn from the book but we can be more positive. It is not hubris to think that we can help Gaia and try to come to an agreement for our mutual benefit. We will never be able to take over control but humans can make positive steps, such as the lessons we can learn from the New Guinean highlanders or the experiences of the Vikings in Greenland from the book Collapse.

Lovelock pointed out that we needed to take a big picture view of the Earth and so we have to embrace all that we can do. There is much to learn and much to do and very little time.
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