chapter  6
12 Pages

The recovery of wisdom: Gaia theory and environmental policy

ByAnne Primavesi

Gaia theory, as stated by James Lovelock, focuses on the concept of the Earth as a tightly coupled system where its constituent organisms coevolve with their environment. Self-regulation of climate and of chemical composition are emergent properties of the system, enabling it to respond to stress and perturbation, both natural and anthropogenic. The living and non-living components interact as two tightly coupled forces, each one shaping and affecting the other through systemic feedback loops. The Earth and the life it bears are seen as a system which regulates the temperature and the composition of the Earth’s surface and keeps it comfortable for living organisms. This active process of self-regulation is driven by free energy available from sunlight (Lovelock 1991 and 1995).