But let us return to James Lovelock for a moment; early on in The Vanishing Face of Gaia he does recognize his pessimism and the fact that the the grim message in his last book, The Revenge of Gaia, gave us nothing to hope for.
“But,” he writes in The Vanishing Face of Gaia, “Pessimism is justified by the difference between the forecasts of the IPCC and what observers find in the real world of September 2008.” (pp 6-7) And now it’s 2012 and there’s still cause for pessimism, especially after the UN Climate Conference in Durban, South Africa in 2011, which 350.org called “a cowardly, unacceptable delay on global climate action -- and a recipe for climate disasters.”
But here’s a reason for hope, which Lovelock offers up on page 28: “We are the intelligent elite among animal life on earth...it has taken Gaia 3.5 billion years to evolve an animal that can think and communicate its thoughts.” Gaia is Lovelock’s idea that “the Earth’s biosphere behaves as though it were a single organism.” (p. XIII)
Whether or not this is true, the idea that we are the intelligent elite is extremely important. And this is where the necessity for Universe Citizens comes in. As we recognize that we are the product of 13.7 billion years of evolutionary testing, that we are the universe become conscious of itself and that every human on this planet shares that distinction, we may be able to overcome our differences, disputes and previous mistakes and commit instead to partnering with the universe in consciously evolving a world that is more equitable and sustainably prosperous for everyone. Perhaps the climate destabilization issue is just the wake up call we need in order to come together in this way, deepen our awareness and live up to the title of “the intelligent elite.”
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***Photo by: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio
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