Lovelock’s Gaia. The scientist who revived the spiritual relationship with the Earth has died Opinions

Lovelock was a colorful personality. He obtained university qualifications in chemistry, medicine and biophysics. In doing so, he was still in tune with people a generation younger who founded Greenpeace. But he deviated from contemporary ecologists, where social science graduates predominate over natural scientists. He took nature seriously, even when he was in geoengineering or working for NASA.

As such, he came to the realization that the Earth is a self-regulating system. Which anyone who has touched geology, geochemistry or plate tectonics can guess. The fact that the oceanic and terrestrial earth’s crusts differ, that the oceanic crust (with layers of carbonaceous shells of animals) slides under the continental one, and that volcanoes then eject the carbon again, creates a carbon cycle. And also the self-regulating system that distinguishes Earth from, for example, Mars, already a dead planet. Lovelock called this hypothesis the Gaia theory after the Greek goddess. In doing so, however, he appealed to alternative people, esotericists, theosophists and followers of the New Age movement. To those who interpret “self-regulating” as “living”, even “with its own consciousness”.

The theory of Gaia overcame the scientist Lovelock, and in the eyes of the radicals he himself even became a heretic. That’s when he came to believe that emissions are disrupting the Earth’s self-regulating ability to such an extent that something must be done about it. He openly began to support emission-free nuclear energy, thereby striking an article of faith of the new religion. It is one of the ironies of history that the man who, with his Gaia theory, revived the spiritual elements of the relationship with planet Earth, towards the end of his life himself criticized environmentalists for turning their movement into a new religion.

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