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sasha031 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-12-06 02:33 PM
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The Revenge of Gaia
Edited on Sun Feb-12-06 02:35 PM by sasha031
There is a classic short story by Robert Sheckley, the American science-fiction author, which tells of a group of settlers who land on a distant planet. There they begin their work: levelling mountains, changing the atmosphere and ploughing up wild places to make new homes for mankind.Then things go wrong. Overnight, the land rises up and swallows their great earth-moving machines. Storms destroy their newly installed chemical plants. Chains of volcanoes erupt. The planet fights back. In panic, the settlers contact Earth, only to find their own home world, and all the other planets mankind has colonised, are being similarly assailed. Nature has suffered enough indignities at our hands. Humanity is getting the heave-ho.

Sheckley, who died a few weeks ago, was a sci-fi satirist and his tale was merely meant as a joke, albeit a pointed one. Yet I found images of those startled colonists continually popping into mind on reading James Lovelock's latest diagnosis of the state of planet Earth.Just like those sci-fi settlers, humanity is about to get the elbow, it seems. Carbon dioxide is being pumped into the atmosphere at such rates that a point of no return, 'a tipping point', will be reached in a decade or so and global temperatures will abruptly soar. And that will be that, says Lovelock.Icecaps will disappear and, without their reflectivity to bounce the Sun's rays back into space, temperatures will rise even faster. Methane and carbon dioxide, currently trapped in frozen tundra, will then be released, leading to further warming. Dozens of other feedback cycles will be disrupted. Our planet will burn like a crisp and, along with it, civilisation. Humanity, returned to its former ape-man status, will be lucky to hang on, grunting in the odd, deep cave. 'The world is fighting back,' says Lovelock. 'Like the Norns in Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, we are at the end of our tether, and the rope, whose weaves define our fate, is about to break.',,1707791,...
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rodeodance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-12-06 02:51 PM
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1. "Such a future is not inevitable."---this I believe.

The concept of Gaia was initially greeted with scepticism by researchers who thought it suggested Earth was a living entity. Indeed, many greenies still think (wrongly) of Gaia this way. In fact, a better analogy is that of a giant self-regulator valve, like those used by engineers to control machine outputs. Used this way, the idea went on to help scientists sharpen their predictive powers, particularly over climate change. Today Gaia is mainstream.

Unfortunately, just as we have come to accept the notion, it has become plain that we are battering Gaia so badly she simply cannot take any more. Soon, she will switch to red-hot mode, as has happened before, and, by the time she has recovered, the works of man will have been turned to dust.

Such a future is not inevitable. Lovelock is at pains to suggest escape routes, most controversially by calling for the rapid expansion of nuclear energy programmes, the one large-scale, carbon-free type of power generation we possess. In general, however, he is gloomy to the point of near suicide. But given the rate at which we are rushing pell-mell to disaster, I cannot blame Lovelock. Kyoto, as he says, was a mere act of appeasement to polluters. We are a 'plague of people', he says, an infestation that has wrecked Earth. Very soon, we will pay the reckoning.
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robbibaba Donating Member (128 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-12-06 03:08 PM
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3. What makes you say that Gaia isn't a living entity?
Of course she is.
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sasha031 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-12-06 03:34 PM
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6. I agree, Goddess of the earth
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sasha031 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-12-06 03:07 PM
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2. Global warming: passing the 'tipping point'
A crucial global warming "tipping point" for the Earth, highlighted only last week by the British Government, has already been passed, with devastating consequences. Research commissioned by The Independent reveals that the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has now crossed a threshold, set down by scientists from around the world at a conference in Britain last year, beyond which really dangerous climate change is likely to be unstoppable.

The implication is that some of global warming's worst predicted effects, from destruction of ecosystems to increased hunger and water shortages for billions of people, cannot now be avoided, whatever we do. It gives considerable force to the contention by the green guru Professor James Lovelock, put forward last month in The Independent, that climate change is now past the point of no return.The danger point we are now firmly on course for is a rise in global mean temperatures to 2 degrees above the level before the Industrial Revolution in the late 18th century.At the moment, global mean temperatures have risen to about 0.6 degrees above the pre-industrial era - and worrying signs of climate change, such as the rapid melting of the Arctic ice in summer, are already increasingly evident. But a rise to 2 degrees would be far more serious
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ashling Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-12-06 03:27 PM
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4. Gaia will survive
I wrote a report on Global Warming about 10 years ago for a class. I refered to what was termed "The Gaia Principle" which makes the assertion that Gaia will survive. The person who propounded this principle (I am sorry, I don't remember his name) made the statement that if this principle means anything, that it means that GAIA will survive, she may well have to get rid of us to do it.

This is not revenge so much as self preservation.
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sasha031 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-12-06 03:33 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. sad thing take all living plants and creatures with it
his name is James Lovelock
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Dogmudgeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-12-06 03:37 PM
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7. Inadvertant prophecies
"The Day The Earth Caught Fire" also has a lot of GW echoes. Throughout most of the movie and the book, the crisis is hearalded by dangerous weather changes. In the movie, it's all heat, but in the book, a mini-Ice Age is also described.

"Zardoz" was meant to be a satire, but it's looking more and more like prophecy, even if it does feature Sean Connery running around in his underwear. In the aftermath of an unmitigated die-off, the population would be much smaller, and there would be a tiny aristocracy running things, living in fear of the much-less-massive masses.

"The Death of Grass" (filmed as "No Blade Of Grass") is a story about a virus that kills all the world's cereal crops -- the grasses.

And, of course, the Elder Eddas, the Norse book of mythology, describes the end of the world-age in terrifying detail. So my brother, who is able to read it, tells me.

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Dogmudgeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-12-06 03:56 PM
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8. A recent article Lovelock wrote

I posted it here last week. Lovelock's remarks are depressing, but well worth considering.

Personally, I don't believe that all hope is lost, but we've been wasting too much time over trivia. Between the Bush Administration Follies, the Muslim world focused on a few cartoons and a handful of wise-ass editors, and the enromous amount of scientific posturing (lacking only science and scientists), we must appear to have lost our collective minds.

The most humane thing that could happen would be an immediate oil crisis raising the price of oil to over $200/bbl. Such a shock wouldn't kill off humanity, but it would give us a world-wide incentive to change the way we do things.

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