The Ages of Gaia – A Biography of Our Living Earth by James Lovelock

“The Ages of Gaia – A Biography of Our Living Earth” – by James Lovelock 1989, Oxford University Press
In this excellent volume James Lovelock returns to Gaia theory to lead us on an accessible explanation of the timeline of the evolution of life on Earth. Introducing his early thought experiments with “Daisyworld” he proceeds to explain how relatively simple characteristics of living systems, including feedback loops, form the basis for the self-regulating, ecopoetic system which is the living Earth.
From the back cover:
“In his first book, /Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth/, James Lovelock proposed a startling new theory of life. Existing theories held that plants and animals evolve on, but are distinct from, an inanimate planet. James Lovelock’s theory, Gaia, showed that Earth, its rocks, oceans, and atmosphere, and all living things are part of one great organism, evolving over the vast span of geological time. Much scientific work has since confirmed Lovelock’s theory.
IN this new book, Lovelock elaborates the basis of a new and unified view of the earth and life sciences, discussing recent scientific developments in detail: the greenhouse effect, acid rain, the depletion of the ozone layer and the effects of ultraviolet radiation, the emission of CFCs, and nuclear power. He demonstrates the geophysical interaction of atmosphere, oceans, climate, and the Earth’s crust, regulated comfortably for life by living organisms using the energy of the sun.
But Gaia is not always the benign life-force many people have taken her to be: /Gaia theory forces a planetary perspective. It is the health of the planet that matters, not that of some individual species of organisms. This is where Gaia and the environmental movements, which are concerned first with the health of people, part company./ This hypothesis not only raises profound philosophical questions: it also challenges both conservationists and the scientific establishment to think again.”