I’m publishing this post as part of the “Blog action day“. When I was thinking about what to write I was a bit confused, I mean we’ve all heard about being environment friendly, things like minimize usage of plastic bags, consider the environment while printing a word document or an email, use recycled paper, don’t litter, plant trees, don’t buy fuel hungry cars unless you need them and so on. We’ve all seen Lillian Nemri in the funny campaign “f2esa 2abel ma tefe2sak” which aims to reduce unnecessary electricity consumption, and we’ve all seen Lillian Nemri again in another funny campaign to promote usage of solar power for domestic water heating, so all these subjects are already exhausted. That’s why I thought it’ll be a good thing to talk about the “Gaia hypothesis or theory” which in my opinion helps creating a sort of an environmental conscience once we know about it.
The Gaia hypothesis, named after the Greek goddess of earth Gaia, was created by Dr. James Lovelock in the 60s and was further developed with the help of Dr. Lynn Margulis. It states that the earth is alive, a giant organism that is alive, of course this is a very simplistic explanation but it’s enough for me here to make my point.
Because of cycles of water and carbon and the interaction of the elements of the biosphere, the surface of the earth can be considered as a living organism (once again this is a simplistic view of the theory). Through these cycles the surface of the earth maintains a certain balance and responds to perturbations in order to reestablish a certain equilibrium making the surface of the earth a hospitable place.
This hypothesis was strongly criticized and accused of being metaphorical and not based on scientific elements, but Lovelock developed scientific models to back his propositions and now it is gaining ground of being a theory not only a hypothesis and it is more commonly referred to as earth system science.
I will not annoy you with more details, those who want to probe further on the subject and want to go through details can visit the page provided by the link at the end of this post. The idea of the possibility of a broader existence of life is what interests me here; even if we have too many questions and ambiguities the good thing about the Gaia theory is that it gives a certain intuition for a broader perspective of life on our planet, which brings me to my goal; This intuition of the living earth even if it remains an intuition and not a rigid knowledge might have an impact on our daily activities and can make us avoid doing harmful things to earth. I’m not sure how much I’m right about that, things vary from one person to another but at the end knowing about it will change something no matter how small it is.
What we humans have been doing for the last century is braking those active or living cycles that I spoke about earlier. Let’s take a look at the carbon cycle for example: we are releasing huge amounts of carbon to the atmosphere and forbidding the biosphere, by acts of deforestation and pollution, from adjusting to absorb this carbon; which is leading to global warming and an extreme yoyo like weather. All of that is happening because of our greed and our irresponsible actions. So let’s stop acting like pathogenic elements, let’s keep the earth in a good health.
Wikipedia has a good article about Gaia theory you can see it here.