GAIA: A New Vision Of Earth And Its Atmosphere and How It Maintains Its Equilibrium

    2. OF CHAOS AND INSTABILITY IN ATMOSPHERE (Continued from part 1)

    The atmosphere of Earth is an improbable and unstable element, held in balance by the activity of life. Instability and entropy – chaos – lead to an atmosphere of an improbable combination of elements and activities, which in all probability have given birth to life on earth and possibly somewhere else too…

    Lovelock’s creation of this theory revolutionized our contemporary thinking – that surroundings affect life, first and more it, its vice-versa. His scientific ingenuity holds that life organizes things, reducing the degree of entropy – chaos – in its surroundings. The outer space is randomly discrete and unsystematic. If we find a lack of entropy, we shall, in all probability, have found life.

    This insight led, in the late 1960s and 1970s to the creation of the theory that should, in time, place James Lovelock among the immortals. This is “Gaia”. This theory, “Gaia”, as homage, is named after the Greek Goddess of Earth.

    Bryan Appleyard also viewed, “It is based on the simple and seemingly obvious truth that organisms alter their environment. Lovelock has been mystified by the way the Earth maintained equilibrium – homeostasis – in key life-preserving areas of its atmosphere such as temperature, air pressure and salinity of the sea. He realized that this equilibrium was, in fact, caused by the activities of life itself, which created vast feedback mechanisms that ensured its own survival.”

    The Earth, he said, could be regarded as a single living organism, a single self-sustaining whole. Other scientists, biologists, in particular – hated this. But gradually hearts and minds began to shift. Now in the guise of Earth System Science, Gaia has been accepted throughout the academic world. Lately, NASA has now entirely accepted Lovelock’s approach.

    Lovelock says Gaia does not overthrow Darwin any more than Einstein overthrew Newton, but it does crucially modify man’s vision of life on Earth.

    James Lovelock sees the world as it is; not as we would like it to be. Now, lately, he is coming to be recognized for what he really is – one of the most important and original thinkers of his age… {contd. in part iii…}

    Bharadwaj Mishra
    Bharadwaj Mishra
    Bharadwaj Mishra, 1975 Odisha born, a Delhi University Post Graduate in Social Sciences, with a professional career in banking for around two decades, is engaged in creative writing and with film society. As on date he has two English poetry collections published, “Farewell To Kalpana Saikia” (Author’s Press, New Delhi) and “Bathing Ghat At Kotipalli” (Athena Books, Bhubaneswar). He has published English Essays, Poetry and Short Stories with English language magazine of Kendriya Sahitya Academy, Indian Literature and few others. He also does English subtitling for Odia language films. He is single and lives with his parents in Bhubaneswar.
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