A is for Atmospheric


The Earth is not a pile of rocks. The Earth is alive. Based upon the chemical composition of oxygen and reactive gases in the atmosphere produced by the various dynamic processes of life on Earth, The Gaia Hypothesis, proposed by atmospheric chemist James Lovelock, suggests that the Earth is a living organism. In fact, our body is like the planet in that its temperature is regulated. Like the Earth, we shiver to make ourselves warm, and when it’s hot, we sweat to cool ourselves down. As the world focuses on global warming, the Gaian understanding that not only are people connected to the rest of life, but life is connected to a system, has become paramount. The reality, however, is that man is not that special. People have been around for less than three million years, and the Earth has been spinning for about four thousand million years, and in that time, it has seen lots of species come and go. And while industry turns to renewable energy as the solution, Lovelock, in his recent book, “The Revenge of Gaia” says we’re too late, global warming is irreversible and we should expect, by 2100, 80% of the world’s population to be wiped out. However, optimistic scientist Freeman Dyson, who was slated as “The Global Warming Heretic” on the cover of the New York Times magazine disagrees, as does now-deceased famed author Michael Crichton who stated, after the release of his book, “State of Fear” on Charlie Rose, that he doesn’t believe humanity is headed for catastrophe. And although Crichton said that he liked Al Gore, he said he was wrong, in both facts and attitude, and suggests that if science can’t predict what the weather will be like next month, long-term climate forecasts are impossible, and what we are really witnessing today is that drama and crisis gets attention. Whether or not global warming is a “party line” as Dyson proposed or as serious as Lovelock prophesized remains to be seen. Perhaps, the best solution for us right now is just to sit down for a second, look around, and “breathe.”

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