Animate Earth: Science, Intuition and Gaia

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Green Books, 2009 - 286 pages

In Animate Earth, Stephan Harding explores how Gaian science can help us to develop a sense of connectedness with the more-than-human world. His work is based on careful integration of rational scientific analysis with our intuition, sensing and feeling - a vitally important task at this time of severe ecological and climate crisis.

Stephan Harding replaces the cold, objectifying language of science with a way of speaking of our planet as a sentient, living being rather than as a dead, inert mechanism. For example, chemical reactions are described using metaphors from human life, such as marriage, attraction, repulsion etc., so as to bring personality back into the world of rocks, atmosphere, water, and living things. In this sense, the book is a contemporary attempt to rediscover anima mundi (the soul of the world) through Gaian science, while assuming no prior knowledge of science.

Animate Earth argues that we need to establish a right relationship with the planet as a living entity in which we are indissolubly embedded - and to which, in the final analysis, we are all accountable. The book inspires the reader to connect with a profound sense of the intrinsic value of the Earth, and to discover what it means to live as harmoniously as possible within a sentient creature of planetary proportions. This expanded second edition (published in the UK in 2009) includes a new chapter on fungi, new contemplative exercises, and an update on the global-climate situation.

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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

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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 (2009)

Dr. Stephan Harding holds a doctorate in ecology from the University of Oxford. He is the Co-ordinator of the MSc in Holistic Science at Schumacher College, where he is also Resident Ecologist and a teacher on the short course program.

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