"The Vanishing Face of Gaia" Brings Hope to Global Warming
January 26, 2009
All Doom and Gloom? James Lovelock's Book, "The Vanishing Face of Gaia," Says There's Hope
by staff writer
CORNWALL, ENGLAND (RushPRnews)01/26/09
-- James Lovelock is giving us "a final warning", and we'd better listen to what the old man is saying. He's almost 90, and he's issuing his last and final "cri du coeur".
Due out next month in Britain and later this year in the rest of the English-speking world, famed British scientist James Lovelock's latest book predicts a lot of doom and gloom in the coming centuries, but he cautiously says he is "an optimistic pessimist" and thinks humankind will survive the coming Long Emergency. It won't be a pretty picture, Lovelock predicts, suggesting the a massive die-off of humans due to climate change and global warming will reduce the population from 9 billion people to around one billion or less.
"I don't think nine billion is better than one billion," he writes. "I see humans as rather like the first photosynthesisers, which when they first appeared on the planet caused enormous damage by releasing oxygen -- a nasty, poisonous gas. It took a long time, but it turned out in the end to be of enormous benefit. I look on humans in much the same light. For the first time in its 4 billion years of existence, the planet has an intelligent, communicating species that can consider the whole system and even do things about it. They are not yet bright enough, they have still to evolve quite a way, but they could become a very positive contributor to planetary welfare.
He's not joking, although Dr Lovelock is known for having a huge reserve of British humour deep within his 90-year-old frame. He sees some bad things coming down the road, but he remains at heart a quiet optimist. His new book "The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning," will go a long way in convincing more and more people around the world -- and especially young people -- that time is running out, and we'd better take strong actions to curb our appetite for coal and other fossil fuels if we hope to see the human species continue after the year 2500 or so.
Lovelock, a chemist by profession and a climate activist by confession, says he remains clear-headed about the future of our species.
"I have been through this kind of emotional thing before," he writes in his new book. "It reminds me of when I wa s 19 and the second world war broke out. We were very frightened but almost everyone was so much happier. We're much better equipped to deal with that kind of thing than long periods of peace. It's not all bad when things get rough. I'll be 90 in July, I'm a lot closer to death than most people, but I'm not worried. I'm looking forward to being 100."
That's what you call an optimist in my book. When this reporter asked Dr Lovelock last year what he thought of the idea of "polar cities" as possible safe refuges for survivors of global warming in the year 2500 or so, he told RushPRnews in a personal email: "I have seen those images of polar cities, and it may very well happen and soon!"
Lovelock is best known for formulating the controversial Gaia hypothesis in the 1970s, along with Ruth Margulis of the University of Massachusetts.
The theory states that organisms interact with and regulate Earth's surface and atmosphere. "The Vanishing Face of Gaia" will be published by Basic Books in February.
In related news, New York Times writer and Dot Earth blogger Andrew C.
Revkin explained recently how U.S. President Barack Obama's political foes are working on ways to convince the public that global warming is a leftwing conspiracy and a liberal hoax. Of course, it's a sad day in America (and Canada) when rightwing denialists close their eyes to climate change and pretend everything is just perfect in this best of all possible worlds.
Now while some denialists believe that climate alarmists speculatively attribute every, single, solitary thing that occurs to man-made global warming — from the USAirways forced splashdown to the Minneapolis bridge collapse to every solitary event in nature, including flora and fauna specie migration (or expansion or decline), to too much snow to not enough snow to hot to cold to rain to drought to storms and so on, it just isn't true. Alarmists and climate activists are sounding the alarm because, well, we have a major emergency on our collective hands, and the sooner we take action, the better.
For those who wish to bury their heads in the sands of right wing silliness, let them do so. But for the rest of us, young and old, there is work to do, and Dr Lovelock's new book sets out a very important agenda to follow. To close our eyes to all this is to invite death and destruction on a scale unknown to humankind.
Is it curtains for the human species? Will future generations live in polar cities in the extreme northern and southern regions of the world? Will Lifeboat Britain and Lifeboat New Zealand be prepared for the millions of climate refugees flooding in in the future? Read James Lovelock to know how the world will end -- or not. It's up to us!
The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning by James Lovelock Basic Books
Retail price: US$25
UK: February 1, 2009
USA and Canada: April 1, 2009
ISBN Number: 0465015492
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