The Revenge of Gaia

Oh dear. James Lovelock is largely rehashing what he’s said before but a couple of disturbing aspects of his thinking also come to light. One: in terms of energy, civilisation must continue business as usual, hence his support of nuclear power. Two, and what made me stop at his take on DDT: humans still take precedence over all other creatures. So DDT is good and sod all the birds who die or can’t breed because of it.

This book seems to be all over the place too, with no central narrative thrust. Unless that be the author’s continual return to his defence of nuclear. OK, James, we get it. It could be safer than any other source but it ain’t going to happen. The industry’s continual own goals ensure that.

Amongst the rehashing I gleaned one new piece of information: life on the planet has seen higher CO2 concentrations and survived. I did know that: indeed, around 20 times higher at the start of the Phanaerozoic, i.e. about the start of animal life. But the Sun was weaker back then and the planet probably needed it. Not so now, nor into the future.

Lovelock’s parting thought is: “to write a guidebook for our survivors to help them rebuild civilisation without repeating too many of our mistakes.” Trouble is: the guidebook already exists; it’s in our archaeological record. Decoding that has revealed the errors of previous failed civilisations, which we are repeating now. So, no-one’s going to read such a book. And The Revenge of Gaia ain’t it either.

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