Animate Earth: Science, Intuition, and Gaia

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Chelsea Green Publishing, Sep 15, 2006 - Body, Mind & Spirit - 256 pages
2 Reviews

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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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - pierrejohnson - LibraryThing

My favorite book about Gaļa. 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

Contents

Acknowledgements
5
Foreword
7
Introduction
13
Anima Mundi
15
Encountering Gaia
40
From Gaia Hypothesis to Gaia Theory
62
Life and the Elements
86
Carbon Journeys
105
Life Clouds and Gaia
130
From Microbes to Cell Giants
151
Desperate Earth
182
Gaia and Biodiversity
204
In Service to Gaia
223
Bibliography
246
Index
251
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Dr. Stephan Harding holds a doctorate in ecology from the University of Oxford. He is the coordinator of the MSc in Holistic Science at Schumacher College, where he is also resident ecologist and a teacher on the short-course program. He lives in Devon, England, where the college is based.Dr. Stephan Harding has been concerned with conservation of the earth and its creatures since he was a child, when he set up a conservation project on Hampstead Heath. He holds a doctorate in ecology from the University of Oxford, a degree in Zoology from the University of Durham, and has many years experience of ecological field research and of teaching at University level.The inspiration for Animate Earth came out of his work at Schumacher College, the international centre for ecological studies at Dartington, where he is Coordinator of the MSc in Holistic Science and Resident Ecologist.He has worked alongside many of the world's leading experts on ecological thought and action, including Jonathon Porritt, Fritjof Capra, Arne Naess, Joanna Macy, Hazel Henderson and James Lovelock, with whom he has collaborated for many years on the development of Gaian thinking. As a writer, lecturer and researcher, Stephan travels worldwide, giving talks and workshops on deep ecology and Gaia theory to a wide range of organizations, including universities. Author of numerous articles and papers, he advises the Dartington Hall Trust on the ecological restoration of its estate in South Devon.

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