A Rough Ride to the Future by James Lovelock

bookshelves: spring-2014, absolute-favourites, author-love, britain-england, climate, cover-love, e-book, how-to, nonfiction, published-2014, environmental-issues, net-galley

Read from March 25 to May 19, 2014


Description: In A Rough Ride to the Future, James Lovelock – the great scientific visionary of our age – presents a radical vision of humanity’s future as the thinking brain of our Earth-system James Lovelock, who has been hailed as ‘the man who conceived the first wholly new way of looking at life on earth since Charles Darwin’ (Independent) and ‘the most profound scientific thinker of our time’ (Literary Review) continues, in his 95th year, to be the great scientific visionary of our age. This book introduces two new Lovelockian ideas. The first is that three hundred years ago, when Thomas Newcomen invented the steam engine, he was unknowingly beginning what Lovelock calls ‘accelerated evolution’, a process which is bringing about change on our planet roughly a million times faster than Darwinian evolution. The second is that as part of this process, humanity has the capacity to become the intelligent part of Gaia, the self-regulating Earth system whose discovery Lovelock first announced nearly 50 years ago. In addition, Lovelock gives his reflections on how scientific advances are made, and his own remarkable life as a lone scientist. The contribution of human beings to our planet is, Lovelock contends, similar to that of the early photosynthesisers around 3.4 billion years ago, which made the Earth’s atmosphere what it was until very recently. By our domination and our invention, we are now changing the atmosphere again. There is little that can be done about this, but instead of feeling guilty about it we should recognise what is happening, prepare for change, and ensure that we survive as a species so we can contribute to – perhaps even guide – the next evolution of Gaia. The road will be rough, but if we are smart enough life will continue on Earth in some form far into the future. Elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1974, JAMES LOVELOCK is the author of more than 200 scientific papers and the originator of the Gaia Hypothesis (now Gaia Theory). His many books on the subject include Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth (1979), The Revenge of Gaia (2006), and The Vanishing Face of Gaia (2009). In 2003 he was made a Companion of Honour by Her Majesty the Queen, in 2005 Prospect magazine named him one of the world’s top 100 public intellectuals, and in 2006 he received the Wollaston Medal, the highest Award of the UK Geological Society.

Sipping this with total love on a daily basis gives rise to two burning issues:

Our National Treasure is into his 95th year and here he is with a new book – match that STGRB *cough* authors. More importantly, he is not scared to u-turn or change tack.

Does anyone here read Brain Pickings? there was a great debate about not sticking to a mind-set when interially, a thought is now untenable. **INSERT ARTICLE HERE** The Backfire Effect: The Psychology of Why We Have a Hard Time Changing Our Minds

Don’t try to save the planet in environmental terms, instead build domed, dammed cities, this is the new message in a nutshell.

WOW – how do I love thee, let me count the ways.

Of course you wouldn’t get me or mine kicking or screaming into a sealed-in space where the consumerism vulture can sit on neon light stands to pick off the unwary – we’ll take our chances thank you very much. But hey, you bods who already live in cities, would you even notice if the dome closed over your heads if the rags didn’t inform you? When was the last time anyone looked to the sky when in Picadilly Circus.

Say it was sneakily done – so long as there are shop fronts to languish over and the gossip press pumps gumph out, really, who would notice. Strikes me it wouldn’t be too much of a hardship for the majority of first-worlders; so long as young mums can demand to wear Jimmy Choo up to a nine month regardless of the safety of the unborn, who cares about the planet earth.

Did I mention I was cynical?

Did I mention that Lovelock is the bee’s fricking knees?

Okay – I’ve gushed enough and readers need some hard facts – this is repetitive: think Ouspensky’s Strange Life of Ivan Osokin tops, or Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life at base, or Groundhog Day at funniest. Seriously though, look this man up; see what he has been about. Love him.

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