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Sci Tech    H3'ed 8/21/14

Gaian Principle & Environmental Epistemology

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"The Gaia Theory" by James Lovelock and Lyn Margulis states our planetary system is a non-sentient living entity, which, via its component parts, organic and non-organic, maintains conditions for life to exist and thrive.

Geological eras come and go, are we, rushing ours to an early end.
Geological eras come and go, are we, rushing ours to an early end.
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I propose a Cross Epoch Gaian Principle. It is through the matrix of inter-species connections in climax ecosystems, offering the highest proportional benefits to the apex species found within micro/macro and the entire planetary system(s) of each epoch, when the Gaian system generates homeostatic bio-spherical conditions within geological time frames. It is my hypothesis that Gaia, left unaltered, would, via positive feedback mechanization, increase biogeochemical complexity with each successive epoch, thereby increasing species divergence and formatting a more complex apex species for each era.

It is during epoch transitions that extensive mass extinctions occur. Current scientific reports indicate that during these transitive periods rapid climate change has occurred. (Note: Evidence now shows regional rapid climate change has happened within epochal time periods as well.) I speculated several years ago that rapid climate change could form new landscapes/flora bio-regions. These newly created niches would be filled by the less complex life forms that survived geological/local climatic shifts. Due to rapid generations of renewal among these types of living organisms they would increase exponentially into the new matrix, hence expediting evolution as the fauna adapted to these newly created niche environments. I surmised the evolutionary process would slow down as a new apex species arose and the planetary biosphere obtained a new homeostasis for that geological time frame. Thereby tying evolutionary advancements to the flux patterns of the planets biosphere in harmony with both flora and fauna maximum complexity and carrying capacity.

Humanity now finds itself at a point where our industrial and agricultural developments have rendered crucial terrestrial life support systems incapable of maintaining the climatic balance of the Holocene. Nine global processes in the Gaian operational system as defined by planetary boundary science are the drivers of this imbalance. These are biodiversity loss, interruption of nitrogen and phosphorus cycles, ozone depletion, ocean acidification, land use changes, chemical pollution, freshwater misappropriation, atmospheric and aerosol loading, and climate change. Our current industrial civilization is accelerating systemic imbalances, changing the biosphere from the user-friendly Holocene to an unknown Anthropocene. Ushering in this new epoch, our species is upsetting Gaia's natural processes and possibly destroying the entire biosphere. Will the Gaia system react in time to maintain its progression of increasing biological complexity by generating rapid climate change?

We have within our power, should we choose to exercise it, the ability to repair and stabilize the physical and biological aspects of the world, bringing equilibrium to the crucial terrestrial ecosystems which have fragmented, allowing the thermodynamics of matter and energy flow to dissipate chemical and thermal gradients across global ecosystems reestablishing their function. If we awaken and take this step, we can extend the climatic/biological homeostasis of our current epoch. If we recognize as a species we are creating an anthropogenic geological era and unite to mitigate the circumstances.

Isn't it time for the best and brightest minds from the fields of sociology, psychology and political science to begin work on uniting our species to confront this issue? It would take changing the sociological and psychological outlook of our species, via an epistemology of environmental ethos, creating a new global polity which would have to be force fed to the masses and would probably take a generation or two to instill within the population of the globe. This new paradigm should be based on holistic natural laws and the masses can be brought along after action is started. The leadership of the globe, both political and economic must be made to see this. I side with the minority who believe we have a very narrow window of opportunity left to take action. Anyone, however, who is even partially cognizant of the ecological deterioration and atmospheric/hydrological instability of the planet understands: Urgency!

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Anthony J. Gerst, is an author/columnist and activist. He resides near the confluence of the Iowa and Mississippi Rivers. His favorite author, Mark Twain, was an editor for the Muscatine Journal near where he lives. Mr. Gerst has offered (more...)

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