Earth Future

Futurists speculate about the fate of our earth and as a fan of science, science fiction and ecology it’s fun for me to project some of our present planetary scenarios forwards. This article extrapolates the theories of James Lovelock, originator of the Gaia Hypothesis and Thomas Berry, an ecologist and writer.

Resurgence magazine recently quoted Thomas Berry:

  • the glory of the human has become the devastation of the earth
  • the devastation of the earth appears to be our destiny
Given the amount of progress we are making towards dealing with the problems of global poverty, global warming and pollution, the new diseases and the general destruction of our environment, it seems that Thomas Berry may well be right.
Our economies are so caught up in the act of planet wrecking that the future is uncertain at least. Presently our economy is stealing it from our grandchildren. Our financial systems have billions invested in ‘futures’ that do not exist. Our economy has a fatal flaw, that of using ‘capital assets’ (the earth’s resources) as income. It seems very few of us are willing to give up the profligate waste of resources and pollution that modern consumerism dictates in the name of economy.

James Lovelock’s Gaia Hypothesis suggests that the life on earth itself creates a self-balancing mechanism that promotes optimum conditions for us to exist, but within finely defined and fragile boundaries, which we are presently transgressing.

The Gaia Hypothesis

 

postulates that the physical and chemical condition of the surface of the earth, of the atmosphere and of the oceans has been and is actively made fit and comfortable by the presence of life itself. This is in contrast to the conventional wisdom which held that life adapted to the planetary conditions as it and they evolved their separate ways’.

 

In his book ‘Gaia, A new look at life on Earth’, Lovelock points to the only previous scenario known where the earth has been polluted by its inhabitants. At one time the planet was inhabited by anaerobic bacteria, which excreted oxygen as a waste product that Lovelock describes as ‘the worst atmospheric pollution incident that this planet has ever known’. What happened here is maybe an indication of what’s to come.

 

‘When oxygen leaked into the air two aeons ago, the biosphere was like the crew of a stricken submarine, needing all hands to rebuild the systems damaged or destroyed and at the same time threatened by an increasing concentration of poisonous gases in the air. Ingenuity triumphed and the danger was overcome, not in the human way by restoring the old order, but in the flexible Gaian way by adapting to change and converting a murderous intruder into a powerful friend.’

The pollution of the earth by oxygen was a ‘fatal catastrophe’ for most of the life forms then present, but a few survived by adapting. They became oxygen breathing life forms that evolved, into us, and the many other oxygen-breathing life forms that presently inhabit our earth.

So taking this history into account, if we believe that the pollution of the planet is inevitable and is in fact part of our ‘destiny’, how then do we act to survive? The lesson here may be to convert the ‘murderous intruders’ of waste, of poisoned air, impure water and food, the new and virulent bacterias and viruses into ‘powerful friends’, by adapting and using them as a source of nourishment and life, by finding it within ourselves to convert poisons into nectar and live off the waste products of others. This means enhancing our abilities to be creative, to transform and to self-heal.

At its best the healthy human body is already a self-healing mechanism but it has very specific needs. When the integrity of our nourishment sources is breaking down we need to take positive actions to reinforce our ability to transform and heal and you will find much discussion and many techniques for this here at the StarFields Network.

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