Wednesday, July 2, 2008
The Revenge of Gaia: Earth's Climate Crisis & the Fate of Humanity / James Lovelock -- N.Y.: Basic Books, 2006
James Lovelock's The Revenge of Gaia was a disappointment. Lovelock is the first proponent of the "Gaia Thesis," that all life and non-living matter on Earth is an interconnected whole. More significantly, the Earth has an ability to regulate conditions in the biosphere to maintain a favorable equilibrium for the current configuration of life. These general theses are reasonable enough. Unfortuantely, Lovelock does not add much to the discussion over climate change. Much of the work relies on metaphors designed less for understanding and more for rhetorical effect. Lovelock is a strong proponant of nuclear power, skeptical of the solar power, and a critic of wind power. Here, his positions deserve attention, but his arguments are weak, and tend to belittle his opponants.