Human beings are extraordinary creatures. Intelligent, agile, and curious, we have adapted and invented our way to become the most important species on the planet.
So great is the extent of our influence, that many speak of a new geological era, the Anthropocene, an age defined by human-induced change to the blue and green globe we call home.
Our lofty status comes with responsibility as much as possibility: how should we approach our present and future? What knowledge should we carry with us?
Conceived by James Lovelock, inventor of the Gaia theory, this illustrated essay brings together an all-star lineup of thinkers and scientists to offer essential understanding about who we are, how we live, and where we might be going.
The Earth and I encourages holistic understanding. Across 12 chapters, we take in both the intricate details and immense structures of our species and our planet, from our ever-expanding universe to our minuscule but mighty cells. We see stellar explosions and the layers of life beneath our feet, delve into the neuroscience of decision-making, get to grips with our climate, and contemplate our increasing intimacy with technology.
The book’s world-class contributors include physicist Lisa Randall, astronomer Royal Martin Rees, Pulitzer Prize–winning biologist Edward O. Wilson, and Nobel Prize–winning neuroscientist Eric Kandel.
With lively illustrations from British artist Jack Hudson, the result is an inspiration for curious minds, young and old, and a trusted tool kit for an informed and enlightened future.
The Gaia Hypothesis was first formulated during the 1960s as a result of Lovelockswork for NASA concerned with detecting life on Mars,the hypothesis proposes that living and non-living parts of the Earth form a complex interacting system that can be thought of as a single organism. Named after the Greek goddess Gaia at the suggestion of novelist William Golding, the hypothesis postulates that the biosphere has a regulatory effect on the Earth's environment that acts to sustain life. Written for the non-scientist, Gaia is a journey through time and space in search of evidence with which to support a new and radically different model of our planet. In contrast to conventional belief that living matter is passive in the face of threats to its existence, the book explores the hypothesis that the earth's living matter-air, ocean, and land surfaces-forms a complex system that has the capacity to keep the Earth a fit place for life. "This may turn out to be one of the epochal insights of the 20th century"(CoEvolution Quarterly).
Not only does this book include a biography of James Lovelock along with a description of his Gaia Hypothesis, it also includes a general history of the physics and chemistry of atmospheric and geological sciences which starts in the 1700s with the work of Jean Fourier (heat) and Joseph Black (discoverer if Carbon Dioxide which was then known as "fixed air").