CLIMATE CHANGE REALLY MATTER TO MOTHER EARTH?
to get into a nasty political debate without even mentioning who is
running for president? State your opinion, in the right setting, about
climate change, aka global warming.
find someone who does not agree with you, maybe even about the terms
themselves. The topic should be a debate of what the geological and
climatological facts are and how to interpret them. But the discussion
will likely not stay on scientific grounds, and in the end nobody's
mind will be changed.
a different approach. State that climate change needs to be viewed from
the perspective of the controversial Gaia concept. In Greek mythology,
the goddess Gaia was what we think of as Mother Earth, encompassing
earth, sea and sky.
stems from modern references to Gaia as a self-regulating superorganism
that maintains its health by responding to changes that affect it, the
way our body responds to illness physiologically with fever or white
blood cell production to ward off a bacterial infection.
was formulated by James Lovelock in 1979. It persists as a doctrine
of some environmentalists and is endorsed by some respected scientists.
Other scientists however, dispute the idea as having no biological foundation.
of the "Gaia theory," as its advocates call it, asserts that
the physical and chemical conditions on Earth, which include our atmosphere,
oceans and land masses, are held in equilibrium by the living inhabitants
of the planet. This means that all living things, not just humans, are
operating in concert to maintain environmental stability on the planet.
concept presents a world in which life itself maintains a worldwide
ecological balance. The idea is in contrast to the generally held assumption
that life on Earth has adapted and adjusted through the evolution of
individual species, each to its own particular environmental circumstances.
previously used an example of how Gaia works in relationship to the
salinity level in the ocean. Salts are constantly added by physical
and chemical processes, yet the ocean remains in a state that can support
to Lovelock, seas left strictly to nonbiological forces would eventually
reach an unlivable state. The Gaia hypothesis proposes that ocean salinity
is under biological control, in contrast to strictly physical or chemical
mechanisms, through a cooperative action of marine organisms, a process
ongoing since the beginning of life on Earth 3.5 billion years ago.
is that a constant shower of dead microorganisms falls to the ocean
floor, removing salt from the water and depositing it on the bottom.
levels begin to rise, plankton incorporate salt into their outer coverings.
When they die and sink to the ocean depths, they remove the increased
salt load from the oceans. That is, living creatures in the sea, primarily
algae and protozoa, collectively serve a salt-removal role, maintaining
the oceans in a viable state.
to the Gaia hypothesis, the organisms of the world work together to
sustain a world that supports life.
the Gaia hypothesis does not place human beings in a central role, some
people may perceive a Gaia advocate as being an extreme environmentalist.
of person who might go to great lengths to protect plants, animals and
their habitats. Or as I once heard someone say, "Gaia supporters
have the granola mentality that animals are more important than people."
other hand, one could make the argument that a true Gaia believer should
not be concerned about whether global warming is being exacerbated by
human activities because Gaia herself will make the adjustments necessary
to stabilize Earth's ecosystems. There's irony for you.
in Gaia, seemingly a staunch environmental stance, might offer justification
for humans to behave in an environmentally irresponsible manner. If
Mother Earth is going to take care of herself, humans don't need to
intercede. Maybe so, but what if she isn't able to take care of herself?
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