Environment and Ecology

environment - ecology - nature - habitat - gaia - permaculture - systems - sustainability ...

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
Home Books
BOOKS

The Medea Hypothesis: Is Life on Earth Ultimately Self-Destructive?

E-mail Print PDF

Peter WardThe Medea Hypothesis:
Is Life on Earth Ultimately Self-Destructive?
Peter Ward

In The Medea Hypothesis, renowned paleontologist Peter Ward proposes a revolutionary and provocative vision of life's relationship with the Earth's biosphere--one that has frightening implications for our future, yet also offers hope. Using the latest discoveries from the geological record, he argues that life might be its own worst enemy. This stands in stark contrast to James Lovelock's Gaia hypothesis--the idea that life sustains habitable conditions on Earth. In answer to Gaia, which draws on the idea of the "good mother" who nurtures life, Ward invokes Medea, the mythical mother who killed her own children. Could life by its very nature threaten its own existence?

The Medea Hypothesis: Is Life on Earth Ultimately Self-Destructive?According to the Medea hypothesis, it does. Ward demonstrates that all but one of the mass extinctions that have struck Earth were caused by life itself. He looks at our planet's history in a new way, revealing an Earth that is witnessing an alarming decline of diversity and biomass--a decline brought on by life's own "biocidal" tendencies. And the Medea hypothesis applies not just to our planet--its dire prognosis extends to all potential life in the universe. Yet life on Earth doesn't have to be lethal. Ward shows why, but warns that our time is running out.

Breathtaking in scope, The Medea Hypothesis is certain to arouse fierce debate and radically transform our worldview. It serves as an urgent challenge to all of us to think in new ways if we hope to save ourselves from ourselves.

Peter Ward's many books include the highly acclaimed Rare Earth: Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe and Under a Green Sky (Collins). He is professor of biology and Earth and space sciences at the University of Washington, and an astrobiologist with NASA.

Reviews:

"Ward holds the Gaia Hypothesis, and the thinking behind it, responsible for encouraging a set of fairy-tale assumptions about the earth, and he'd like his new book, due out this spring, to help puncture them. He hopes not only to shake the philosophical underpinnings of environmentalism, but to reshape our understanding of our relationship with nature, and of life's ultimate sustainability on this planet and beyond."--Drake Bennett, Boston Globe

Read more...
 

Gaia in Turmoil

E-mail Print PDF

Gaia in TurmoilClimate Change, Biodepletion, and Earth Ethics in an Age of Crisis
Edited by Eileen Crist and H. Bruce Rinker
Foreword by Bill McKibben


Table of Contents and Sample Chapters

Gaian theory, which holds that Earth's physical and biological processes are inextricably bound to form a self-regulating system, is more relevant than ever in light of increasing concerns about global climate change. The Gaian paradigm of Earth as a living system, first articulated by James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis in the 1970s, has inspired a burgeoning body of researchers working across disciplines that range from physics and biology to philosophy and politics. Gaia in Turmoil reflects this disciplinary richness and intellectual diversity, with contributions (including essays by both Lovelock and Margulis) that approach the topic from a wide variety of perspectives, discussing not only Gaian science but also global environmental problems and Gaian ethics and education.

Contributors focus first on the science of Gaia, considering such topics as the workings of the biosphere, the planet's water supply, and evolution; then discuss Gaian perspectives on global environmental change, including biodiversity destruction and global warming; and finally explore the influence of Gaia on environmental policy, ethics, politics, technology, economics, and education.

Gaia in Turmoil breaks new ground by focusing on global ecological problems from the perspectives of Gaian science and knowledge, focusing especially on the challenges of climate change and biodiversity destruction.

Contributors: David Abram, Donald Aitken, Connie Barlow, J. Baird Callicott, Bruce Clarke, Eileen Crist, Tim Foresman, Stephan Harding, Barbara Harwood, Tim Lenton, Eugene Linden, Karen Litfin, James Lovelock, Lynn Margulis, Bill McKibben, Martin Ogle, H. Bruce Rinker, Mitchell Thomashow, Tyler Volk, Hywel Williams

About the Editors

Eileen Crist is Associate Professor of Science and Technology Studies in the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies at Virginia Tech, the author of Images of Animals: Anthropomorphism and the Animal Mind, and the coeditor of Scientists Debate Gaia (MIT Press, 2004).

H. Bruce Rinker is Science Chairman at North Cross School in Roanoke, Virgina, and the coeditor of Forest Canopies.

 


Page 7 of 7

Choose Language


The GURUS & ACTIVISTS


nakliyat evden eve nakliyat evden eve nakliyat gebze evden eve nakliyat