Animate Earth: Science, Intuition and Gaia

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Chelsea Green Publishing Company, 2006 - 256 pages
Modern science and western culture both teach that the planet we inhabit is a dead and passive lump of matter, but as Stephan Harding points out, this wasn't always the prevailing sentiment and in Animate Earth he sets out to explain how these older notions of an animate earth can be explained in rational, scientific terms. In this astounding book Harding lays out the facts and theories behind one of the most controversial notions to come out of the hard sciences arguably since Sir Isaac Newton's Principia or the first major publications to come out of the Copenhagen School regarding quantum mechanics. The latter is an important parallel: Whereas quantum mechanics is a science of the problem--it gave rise to the atomic bomb among other things--Gaia Theory in this age of global warming and dangerous climate change is a science of the solution. Its utility: Healing a dying planet becomes an option in a culture otherwise poised to fall into total ecological collapse. Replacing the cold, objectifying language of science with a way of speaking of our planet as a sentient, living being, Harding presents the science of Gaia in everyday English. His scientific passion and rigor shine through his luminous prose as he calls us to experience Gaia as a living presence and bringing to mind such popular science authors as James Gleick. Animate Earth will inspire in readers a profound sense of the interconnectedness of life, and to discover what it means to live harmoniously as part of a sentient creature of planetary proportions. This new understanding may solve the most serious problems that face us as a species today.

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User Review  - pierrejohnson - LibraryThing

My favorite book about Gaïa. Stephan Harding succeeds in making a book that is at the same time scientific, pedagogic and poetic. It is worth noting that the title was inspired by a remark of his son. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - qgil - LibraryThing

A good balance between didactic scientific explanation on recent developments in Earth sciences, deep ecological thoughts and the role of humans in this planet. Read full review

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About the author (2006)

Stephan Harding holds a doctorate in ecology from the University of Oxford. He is the coordinator of the master of science degree in holistic science at Schumacher College at Dartington, where he is also resident ecologist. He lives in Dartington, Devon, UK. Lynn Margulis is Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, her publications span a wide range of scientific topics including original contributions to cell biology and microbial evolution. She is best known for her theory of symbiogenesis.

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