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James Lovelock

James Lovelock is an independent scientist, author, researcher and environmentalist who is most famous for proposing and popularizing the controversial Gaia hypothesis, in which he postulates that the Earth functions as a kind of superorganism. In 1948 he received a Ph.D. in medicine at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Within the United States he has conducted research at Yale, Baylor University College of Medicine, and Harvard University. A lifelong inventor, Lovelock has created and developed many scientific instruments. In early 1961, Lovelock was engaged by NASA to develop sensitive instruments for the analysis of extraterrestrial atmospheres and planetary surfaces. The Viking program that visited Mars in the late 1970s was motivated in part to determining whether Mars supported life, and many of the sensors and experiments that were ultimately deployed aimed to resolve this issue. During work towards this program, Lovelock became interested in the composition of the Martian atmosphere, reasoning that any lifeforms on Mars would be obliged to make use of it (and, thus, alter it). However, the atmosphere was found to be in a stable condition close to its chemical equilibrium, with very little oxygen, methane or hydrogen, but with an overwheming abundance of carbon dioxide. To Lovelock, the stark contrast between the Martian atmosphere and chemically-dynamic mixture of that of the Earth was strongly indicative of the absence of life on Mars. His books describing his Gaia theory include Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth, The Ages of Gaia: A Biography of Our Living Planet, Gaia: The Practical Science of Planetary Medicine, and The Revenge of Gaia: Why the Earth Is Fighting Back - and How We Can Still Save Humanity.

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James Lovelock Quotes

A billion could live off the earth; 6 billion living as we do is far too many, and you run out of planet in no time.

All big organizations are mostly run by technologists now, they're not run by crafty old buggers who manipulate, though there are some of those around.

All good inventions come from war, all the parts of aircrafts were accelerated enormously in the time of war, and nuclear energy is another one; nobody would have invented that.

All the modelling we do shows that the climate is poised on the jump up to a new hot state. It is accelerating so fast that you could say that we are already in it.

An inefficient virus kills its host. A clever virus stays with it.

Any species that harms the environment to a point where it threatens its own progeny is doomed and will become extinct...and that's us.

At some stage climate change will come onto the agenda, probably when it starts killing a lot of people and is making life very uncomfortable.

China will soon emit more greenhouse gases than America, but its regime knows if it caps aspirations there will be a revolution.

Civilization in its present form hasn't got long.

Climatologists are all agreed that we'd be lucky to see the end of this century without the world being a totally different place, and being 8 or 9 degrees hotter on average.

Esso has been the main one in America spreading the disinformation that there is no global warming problem.

Europe criticises America, but its policy on sustainable development is lots of greedy snouts in the subsidy trough. It's a scam.

Evolution is a tightly coupled dance, with life and the material environment as partners. From the dance emerges the entity Gaia.

Florida will be gone altogether, the whole damned place, in not too long.

For each of our actions there are only consequences.

Geological change usually takes thousands of years to happen but we are seeing the climate changing not just in our lifetimes but also year by year.

Human beings are very tough and will survive – have survived for at least a million years. Civilizations are fragile. Thirty or so have come and gone in the past 5,000 years.

Humans are a tough species. Cvilization will have to restart around the Arctic basin because that will be rich in resources. The rest of the earth will be desert – it won't be habitable.

I have heard that the Saudi Arabians are paying Greenpeace to campaign against Nuclear Power. It wouldn't surprise me at all.

If we gave up eating beef we would have roughly 20 to 30 times more land for food than we have now.

If you start any large theory, such as quantum mechanics, plate tectonics, evolution, it takes about 40 years for mainstream science to come around. Gaia has been going for only 30 years or so.

In Finland and Sweden and Switzerland, as soon as electricity prices started rising, people started supporting nuclear power because it is by far the cheapest. The same will happen here before long.

Nature favors those organisms which leave the environment in better shape for their progeny to survive.