371 pages, Figs
Gaian theory, which holds that Earth's physical and biological processes are inextricably bound to form a self-regulating system, is more relevant than ever in light of increasing concerns about global climate change. The Gaian paradigm of Earth as a living system, first articulated by James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis in the 1970s, has inspired a burgeoning body of researchers working across disciplines that range from physics and biology to philosophy and politics.
"Gaia in Turmoil" reflects this disciplinary richness and intellectual diversity, with contributions (including essays by both Lovelock and Margulis) that approach the topic from a wide variety of perspectives, discussing not only Gaian science but also global environmental problems and Gaian ethics and education.
Contributors focus first on the science of Gaia, considering such topics as the workings of the biosphere, the planet's water supply, and evolution; then discuss Gaian perspectives on global environmental change, including biodiversity destruction and global warming; finally they explore the influence of Gaia on environmental policy, ethics, politics, technology, economics, and education. "Gaia in Turmoil" breaks new ground by focusing on global ecological problems from the perspectives of Gaian science and knowledge, focusing especially on the challenges of climate change and biodiversity destruction.
Contributors: David Abram, Donald Aitken, Connie Barlow, J. Baird Callicott, Bruce Clarke, Eileen Crist, Tim Foresman, Stephan Harding, Barbara Harwood, Tim Lenton, Eugene Linden, Karen Litfin, James Lovelock, Lynn Margulis, Bill McKibben, Martin Ogle, H. Bruce Rinker, Mitchell Thomashow, Tyler Volk, Hywel Williams
The most important aspect of this series of essays is that in a single volume it is possible to grasp a correct understanding of what has been and continues to be a very complex yet important subject. Understanding the Gaian theory is not a solution to the crisis of global warming, but it is a shortcut to comprehending the depth and seriousness of our man-made environmental crisis. Summing Up: Essential. P. K. Strother Choice
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H. Bruce Rinker is Science Chairman at North Cross School in Roanoke, Virgina, and the coeditor of Forest Canopies.