92 Years old James Lovelock is an independent scientist, environmentalist and futurologist. Born in a working-class. British family, Lovelock has created and developed many scientific instruments in NASA for their program of planetary exploration. He is also credited with the invention of the Electron Capture Detector, which ultimately assisted in discoveries about the persistence of CFC and their role in stratospheric ozone depletion. However, he is most widely known for his development of the Gaia Hypothesis.
Gaia was the primordial Earth-goddess in ancient Greek religion. She was the great mother of all gods, goddesses and mortals of earth. In his hypothesis, Lovelock likewise has proposed that living and non-living parts of the Earth form a complex interacting system that can be thought of as a single organism.
The scientific investigation of the Gaia hypothesis focuses on observing how the biosphere and the evolution of life forms contribute to the stability of global temperature, ocean salinity, oxygen in the atmosphere and other factors of habitability in a preferred environment. According to him the air, the ocean and the soil are much more than a mere environment for life; they are a part of life itself. The air is to life just as is the fur to a cat or the nest for a bird. Not living but something made by living things to protect against an otherwise hostile world. He adds further that for life on Earth, air is the protection against the cold depths and fierce radiations of space.
In his explanation of Gaia, James Lovelock asserts the importance of survival of every species for survival of humans: If we are “all creatures great and small,” from bacteria to whales, part of Gaia then we are all of us potentially important to her well-being. We knew in our hearts that the destruction of a whole range of other species was wrong but now we know why. No longer can we merely regret the passing of one of the great whales, or the blue butterfly, nor even the smallpox virus. When we eliminate one of these from Earth, we may have destroyed a part of ourselves, for we also are a part of Gaia.
However, we are unrelentingly destroying trees after trees, animal after animal, bird after bird and in the process ourselves as well. In James Lovelock’s 2006 book, The Revenge of Gaia, he argues that the lack of respect humans have had for Gaia, through the damage done to rainforests and the reduction in planetary biodiversity, is testing Gaia’s capacity to minimize the effects of the addition of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
In his most recent book, The Vanishing Face of Gaia, he claims that sea levels are rising faster, and Arctic ice is melting faster, than the models predict and he suggests that we may already be beyond the tipping point of terrestrial climate into a permanently hot state. Given these conditions, Lovelock expects human civilization will be hard pressed to survive.