The Gaia Hypothesis, postulated by James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis in the 1970s, has evolved into the Gaia Theory, recently summarized by Lovelock (in The Revenge of Gaia) as ‘A view of the Earth that sees it as a self-regulating system made up from the totality of organisms, the surface rocks, the ocean and the atmosphere tightly coupled as an evolving system. The theory sees this system as having a goal – the regulation of surface conditions so as always to be as favourable as possible for contemporary life.’
The aim of this book is to introduce readers to Gaia Theory, and the part which they can play as ‘Gaia Warriors’. The book is divided into two main sections. Section One, entitled ‘Climate Change: The Basics’, explains what is changing, how it is known that it is changing, and why this matters – what this will do to Gaia. This includes interviews with people studying the changes. Section Two, ‘Gaia Warriors’, suggests actions which people, particularly young people, can take to fight climate change. This includes making others aware of the dangers, saving energy, cycling, avoiding air travel and imported food, dressing for the climate, and campaigning for cuts in carbon emissions. Contrary to Lovelock, who is in favour of nuclear power – he writes, in The Revenge of Gaia, that the greens ‘must drop their wrongheaded objection to nuclear energy’ – Nicola Davies writes, ‘Other people (like me) would rather live with some power cuts to avoid nuclear.’
Section Two consists mainly of interviews with people active in green pursuits. In my view, most of the suggestions in this section are optimistic feelgood gestures. However, some interviewees do speak of the need for radical change in humanity’s attitude to consumption if there is to be any hope of halting a climate change crisis.