Why would a ninety year old man choose to defy his most trusted physician? Because in an act of splendid generosity Sir Richard Branson offered him the chance to fly into space, to share that transcendental feeling known only to astronauts - that our home is the Earth itself, not the house or the street or the nation where we live - which for a scientist who has spent a lifetime studying the way our planet works was irresistible.
As climate change develops and poses new problems James Lovelock will offer a view of our and the Earth's possible future in light of this trip differing from that of most scientists and the science of the IPCC. We are trying already to undo some of the harm we have done and will try harder, even desperately, but until we see that the Earth is more than a mere ball of rock we are unlikely to remedy the cause of the change. The root problem is that there are too many people, pets and livestock for the Earth to carry.
"The Face of Gaia" will tell us why it matters that we see and feel the earth as a living organism.
The cost of our neglect of Gaia could soon cause the greatest human tragedy in living memory, because the Earth, in its but not our interests, is now moving into a new hot epoch, one where it can more easily continue to keep the planet habitable. If we are to have any chance to avoiding global catastrophe his words should be heeded.
James Lovelock, who was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1974, is the author of more than 200 scientific papers and the originator of the Gaia Hypothesis (now Gaia Theory). His many books on the subject include Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth (1979), The Revenge of Gaia (2006), The Vanishing Face of Gaia (2009) and A Rough Ride to the Future (2014). In 2003 he was made a Companion of Honour by Her Majesty the Queen, in 2005 Prospect magazine named him one of the world's top 100 public intellectuals, and in 2006 he received the Wollaston Medal, the highest Award of the UK Geological Society.