Gaia and Lovelock
I went for a walk in the Maritime wilderness this past weekend with a friend from out of town, my wife and our two crazy border collies, Patch and Toby. It was in the wonderful Maritime fall sunshine that we found a small lake nestled in the countryside, a rock crest overlooking the lake to sit on and the time to marvel at the beauty of the changing seasons.
As we sat in the comfort of old friendship and sunshine, life was peaceful, gentle and warm. My thoughts drifted to what I saw around me and I could not help but think of a grand old biologist name James Lovelock and his ruminations of life being co-joined, interconnected and woven in such intricacy that it created, nurtured and sustained the Earth’s ability to harbour life for these past, incredible, four billion years. He calls it the Gaia Hypothesis.
Its an elegant, simple, if not whimsical idea, that says that life has the ability to create for itself an environment conducive to the furtherance of life.
If the sun grows too bright and hot, life adjusts by lowering the CO2 content in the earth’s atmosphere and the planet cools. If too much oxygen is made, fires are more likely from lightning strikes and the oxygen is consumed and the levels fall back to lower levels. You get the idea. Its a self regulating system, one that keeps us not too cool and not too hot, a cosmic porridge, just right and toasty. Whether by conscious effort or by complexity and automatic response, its a marvelous entity that he calls Gaia, after the Greek word for mother earth.
On that early fall day day with all that is important to me, my friends and my thoughts, surrounding me, I felt safely tucked into the bosom of mother Earth, of Gaia. How could I not? And for a few moments or maybe longer, as I threw sticks into the still warm waters of that small lake that my dogs swam to retrieve, as we talked and laughed and warmed in the gentle afternoon sun, I believed in Gaia and forgot about climate change, over population and the host of ills we humans have unleashed. For a moment all was good in the Maritime sunshine and we were part of Gaia and she us.
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