In the new book, On Gaia: A Critical Investigation of the Relationship between Life and Earth, Dr. Toby Tyrrell analyzes 40-years of data for and against the Gaia hypothesis. Dr. James Lovelock, along Dr. Lynn Margulis, co-developed the Gaia Hypothesis in the 1970s. The Gaia Hypothesis suggests that life itself, in unison across species and through complex interactions, controls the inorganic structures and forms of the Earth.
Many scientists have reacted to the Gaia Hypothesis, either strongly for the notion of a self-regulating web of life that manages the Earth as whole, or against this concept. In On Gaia: A Critical Investigation of the Relationship between Life and Earth, Dr. Toby Tyrrell, for the first time, conducts a lengthy analysis of the scientific data for and against the Gaia Hypothesis. He concludes that the Gaia Hypothesis does not have enough scientific data to support it. He write eloquently, clearly, and succinctly describing how the Gaia Hypothesis lacks sufficient scientific evidence.
Dr. Tyrrell’s analysis of the Gaia Hypothesis is important for those interested in tropical forest conservation. This is because if we determine that the scientific data supports the Gaia Hypothesis and the Earth, as a collection of organic organisms, as a whole is self-regulating to maintain hospitable equilibrium of the inorganic aspects of the Earth, then we would have no need ecologically to conserve tropical forests. Yet, as Dr. Tyrrell discusses at length, it is our lack of conservative environmental stewardship that may make the Earth an inhospitable environment for us and most other species, which disproves the Gaia Hypothesis.
Even today, we hear in the popular press, “climate change is bad for humans, but the Earth’s ecology will be fine if climate change occurs.” This is a statement derived from the Gaia Hypothesis, and it promotes inaction on climate change. As scientists, we need to promote action to mitigate climate change and its associated biodiversity collapse, not support conservation inaction.
Dr. Tyrrell provides a fair and reflective analysis of the Gaia Hypothesis. He describes pros and cons in a well-written easy to read book that is great read for those with an elementary scientific background.
How to order:
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Editors: Toby Tyrrell
Gabriel Thoumi, CFA is a globally recognized international climate finance expert and natural resources scientist.
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