James Lovelock is described as an independent scientist, environmentalist and futurist. He proposed the Gaia theory – the idea that Earth functions as a self-regulating system, as a living organism does.
Everything on (and to the very core of) the planet, to the upper atmosphere has evolved side by side. Its not simply a case of the carbon cycle that were in the science books at school, but this proposal stretches to the distribution of every atom that is considered to make up the Earth. It proposes that the biosphere and the physical components of the Earth (atmosphere, cryosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere) are closely integrated to form a complex interacting system that maintains the climatic and biogeochemical conditions on Earth in a preferred homeostasis. It is this preferred homeostasis that is being disrupted by CO2 emissions.
In his 2007 book, The Revenge of Gaia, he offers an overview of his opinions on different types of energy production from nuclear to renewable, the pros, cons and misconceptions. He attempts to describe the interconnecting elements that play a role in the current severity of global warming and what our global population must do if we want humanity, wildlife and bio-diversity to thrive in harmony – and avoid extinction, which is what he sees as our current course.
Back in 2007, when this book was publish, he states that humanity’s annual CO2 emissions, if solidified, would amount to the size of a mountain one mile high with a 20 mile circumference, I shudder to think what it is nearly a decade on.
Recently a feature ran on BBC World Service’s Science in Action, about a group of scientists in Iceland that have developed a way of pumping CO2 gas deep underground in volcanic areas solidifying CO2 at a rapid rate. The basalts react with the gas to form carbonate minerals, which make up limestone. This seemed like an exciting prospect, however, the lead scientist disclosed that at this point, what is pumped down is approximately 5% CO2 to 95% water, it is incredibly inefficient and expensive.
It gives me faith that there are creative and intelligent people dedicating their careers to try to provide us with a future. Technology may aid us. But while greed prevails in many societies, it seems technology supporting our greed seems to radically out-run technology being developed to improve our lives. When will our governments stop supporting the commercial enterprises and start looking out for Gaia?