Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Gaia begins the fightback

The Gaia hypothesis (roughly) proposes that Earth acts like a living organism in order to maintain the ecosystem of the planet is some sort of equilibrium. It suggests that it can invoke measures to rebalance unwelcome events/effects.

This hypothesis was first proposed by James Lovelock, but in March he expressed the view (to the Guardian) that humanity is too stupid to save the planet from global warming, and basically we’ve doomed future generations to oblivion.

That must really have got up Gaia’s nose, because look at what she has just done.

The eruption in Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano has had two main effects.

Firstly, it has significantly reduced air travel into and around Europe, with consequent reduction in CO2 emissions.
Secondly, it has thrown a layer of ash and dust into the atmosphere, which has the effect of reflecting some of the sun’s heat back into space and prevents it from warming the earth. Might it even delay the melting of the polar ice-cap?

Could this be just the start of Gaia’s fight-back and what will the consequences be for the current inhabitants of the planet?

I hope it will still be possible to get those little asparagus spears flown in from Kenya, and the limes from Chile. Life without its little indulgences wouldn’t be worth living.

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