Gaia - The Holistic Earth (Part 1)

James Lovelock in the 1960s developed a theory called the Gaia hypothesis which explains the symbiotic nature between nature and human beings. It elucidates that living and non-living elements of an ecosystem act in a balancing manner vis-a-vis each other’s existence.

For example, nitrogen (a non-reactive gas) and oxygen (a highly reactive gas) interact with each other in our atmosphere and balance the net effect out. Too much of either is detrimental for human survival.

The Gaia hypothesis is extremely crucial in understanding the relationship between a predator and its prey, the chemical compounds that have kept the core of our Earth going, and between homosapiens and animals. For instance, the bee population is highly important for cross-pollination and survival of any ecosystem.

Joanna Macy in her article Our Life as Gaia has referred to humans as part and parcel of the evolution of the Earth. We carry within us the continuity of nature, ever since the Big Bang.

Macy’s philosophy about the nature-human symbiosis extends the Gaia hypothesis in the sense that our actions are Earth-driven, to give back to nature by way of looking within: The oceans are our tears; we need oxygen and the trees need carbon dioxide for survival; our bodies are earthly, with charges and chemical compounds involved in the makeup of this planet. Therefore, we each have the Earth in us.

The Gaia hypothesis is the romanticism of the disputed relationship that humans have with nature. The perspective is paradoxical.

However, it is this paradox that has been the cornerstone of the so-called human-nature symbiosis, although, beautiful. To keep this beauty alive, we need to understand the relationship that we share with nature, that it’s not one-way feedback. It is negative in our current situation – we need balance.

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