I first read about Dr James Lovelock’s Gaia Theory back in the late nineties. At the time it had a real impact on me– I loved the idea that the Earth, or a least the life sustaining shell surrounding its molten core, is a vast self-regulating entity. Back then, Lovelock’s ideas were still considered to be somewhat ‘new age’. Now, thankfully, Gaia Theory is pretty much the basis for all climate research and his theories are highly respected.
So why am I babbling on about Gaia Theory? Well, much of the underlying plot of my science fiction story, Etherwheel, draws inspiration from Gaia Theory -the sense of an impending cataclysm, the threat to civilization and most of all the notion of planets as living entities. Lovelock’s ideas have always struck a chord with me and it is only natural that his ideas resonate in my writing.
Recently I bought myself a copy of Revenge of Gaia, one of Lovelock’s more recent books on Gaia Theory, although it is not his latest. It makes for some pretty heavy reading in places. Lovelock doesn’t paint a pretty picture of where we are at regarding the state of our planet or where we are headed. But for anyone who cares even slightly about the natural world, mankind’s development and environmental issues I would highly recommend it. It really is an amazing book. Plus it has a beautiful penguin sleeve – light blue for big ideas!!
Not only does Lovelock discuss the devastating effects mankind’s activities are having on our planet– he beleives we have stupidly declared war on Gaia ( a war we most certainly can never win) and she is beginning to retaliate agaisnt our savage assaults ( the recent quakes, tsunamis and droughts of recent years serving as a small taster of her full wrath) – he also puts forward some interesting ideas on the things we could do to prepare ourselves for the changes that are now, sadly, inevitable. His thoughts on nuclear power are of particular interest and anyone who has read Asimov’s Foundation series will see the potential that nuclear energy holds and be excited by Lovelock’s attitude towards this mighty energy source.
So, Lovelock, a brilliant scientist? Most definitely. Prophet of doom? Perhaps. Whatever you think of the man, it is his ideas that are truly inspiring and I would highly recommend getting a copy of one of his books as soon as possible.