James Lovelock will discuss his latest book, The Revenge of Gaia: Earth's Climate Crisis and the Fate of Humanity, published by Basic Books, The Perseus Book Group. Lovelock's influential Gaia theory, one of the building blocks of modern climate science, conceives of the Earth, including the atmosphere, oceans, biosphere and upper layers of rock, as a single living super-organism, regulating its internal environment much as an animal regulates its body temperature and chemical balance.
But now, says Lovelock, that organism is sick. It is running a fever born of the combination of a sun whose intensity is slowly growing over millions of years, and an atmosphere whose greenhouse gases have recently spiked due to human activity. Earth will adjust to these stresses, but on time scales measured in the hundreds of millennia. It is already too late, Lovelock says, to prevent the global climate from "flipping" into an entirely new equilibrium state that will leave the tropics uninhabitable, and force migration to the poles. Lovelock and other scientists now suspect the existence of a threshold set by temperature and carbon dioxide levels, past which the earth's atmosphere will be irreparable. As Lovelock writes, "We are now approaching one of these tipping points, and our future is like that of the passengers on a small pleasure boat sailing quietly above Niagara Falls, not knowing that the engine is about to fail."
Lovelock delivers some unsettling news. However, he is still very much an optimist, and and attempts to deliver real inspiration to see the world in a different way. He believes we can do much to save humanity, and urges a call to action.
James Lovelock is the originator of the Gaia Hypothesis (now Gaia Theory), on which he has written several books. He is also the author of more than two hundred scientific papers. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and has received numerous awards, including the American Chemical Society's award for Chromatography, the Norbert Gerbier Prize of the World Meteorological Organization, and in the Amsterdam Prize for the Environment by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2006, he received the Wollaston medal from the Geological Society of the United Kingdom. He has received honorary Doctorates in Science from seven universities in England, Sweden and the United States. He was made a Commander of Order of the British Empire in 1990, and in 2003 a Companion of Honour by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
"In The Revenge of Gaia, Lovelock sets out the clearest statement of Gaia as a metaphor for a single self-regulated system comprised of physical, chemical, biological and human components. This is an important scientific development. More than that, he emerges as a scientific visionary�His book is riveting, but not always comforting reading. His view of the world is all-encompassing but he manages this with well chosen examples drawn from the scientific literature and his own experiences�a small book packed with wisdom and integrity, beautifully written, challenging"�Sir David King, Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK Government, The Times.
Reception and book sale to follow.
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Added by this is emily on August 28, 2006