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Survey: When and How Will Gaia Act? PDF Print E-mail
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by Jan Lundberg   
06 December 2012
"Perhaps there is no Gaia; perhaps Gaia if she exists has no ability or inclination to act; perhaps Gaia is clearly acting already to end the infestation... but for those of us who grew up feeling that nature was all-resilient and not likely to disappear or turn against us, the unthinkable has become the new norm."

  ImageWhen one looks at a blueish star twinkling beyond some silhouetted living leaves in the sky, the beauty and wonder of the natural world speaks to us: this existence we witness as conscious beings is an amazing accomplishment of life on this lucky outpost of the Universe.

Our splendid reverie transforms to a jarring, ongoing realization that hits us first as a rude awakening.  Reluctantly, we acknowledge this new era of unravelling and lethal chaos.  Typically alone in our contemplation of the tumbling health of our Earth, we graduate to a profound level of despair and near disbelief.  

As happy bloggers and dime-a-dozen philosophers, we strive to keep on top of our fast-changing tenure on the Third Stone from the Sun.  In keeping with this imperative, together as readers of this biocentric column we now confront -- drum roll here -- the "Gaia Stamp-Out-Human-Plague? Survey".  The sole question offered in this study was complex or simple, depending on the respondent:  Why isn't Gaia acting to put the destroyer species, Homo Sapiens Sapiens, into its place, or perhaps boot it off the planet?  Or has she indeed started to do this?

One might first wonder why humanity was allowed to act so irresponsibly and selfishly in recent centuries, doing in much of the web of life.  We wistfully recall Mother Nature's matrix functioning so well for eons, with poetic predictability, until modern human society embarked on its damnable sully-its-own-nest way of living.  In the midst of this, there's confusion and doubt: why have so many species gone extinct, if Gaia is both powerful and benign as a wise organism (a.k.a. Earth), loving her creations and self-manifestations?

For those of us who grew up feeling that nature was all-resilient and not likely to disappear or turn against us, the unthinkable has become the new norm.

Knowing as we might the severe threat to delicate, mysterious ecological balance, compared to just twenty years ago perhaps, some ask: "This beautiful system with all its wonder -- a moon, forests, the stars, etc. -- is here now. How can it be rapidly undone, imperceptibly as well as striking us like a 2x4?"  

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Mitch: 180 mph maximum sustained winds

We are just beginning to see the power of human-caused climate change, but it is nevertheless amply clear. The effects from emissions have at least a two-decade time-lag for showing up. The latest figures reflect a 3% rise in global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels for 2011. Hence, climate scientists have given up on the idea of Earth's temperature rise to be limited to only 2 degrees centigrade.  Staggering implications. We feel we must ignore the obstinate minority of deniers.  Yet, regardless of the alarming facts accepted by the great majority of people, nothing much changes in our mass behavior or awareness. "Old" values persist; the generating or tolerating of rampant exploitation and domination.

Not discussed at many barbeques or sports bars:

• A great deal more public funding by each nation is spent to prop up fossil fuels industries than goes to climate protection.  
• Yet another highway is built.  
• Tens of thousands of bunker-fuel burning cargo ships keep bringing massive quantities of manufactured junk (that will soon be headed to the landfill, barely recycled first).
• Humanity keeps failing to get a handle on population growth.
My having long dwelt upon the question "Why is humanity so destructive and stupid?" and "What can change our ways?", I present four key, representative views to begin this lark of a survey.  Where did they come from?  I might have channeled them from Gaia herself for your amusement if nothing else.  I also leave a slot for completion by readers who are not put off by unpleasant reality or an attempt to prod wider discussion.

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Gaia rises on 5th Century BC Athenian drinking cup

For this decade-plus running column, in our never-ending search for sense in these times, we move beyond the discussion of what our problem is and how we can best address it.  Maybe to no avail, this concern has been raging for several years, intensifying for all who are not oblivious or who are resigned to utter collapse and annihilation.  Fortunately, we are able to advance and home in on the question of Gaia's ability or inclination to act.  Part of the Gaia Hypothesis by James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis is that Gaia, as a living being, can act just as a mammal uses a fever to kill an infection.  Perhaps there is no Gaia; perhaps Gaia if she exists has no ability or inclination to act; perhaps Gaia is clearly acting already to end the infestation.  Was there a beginning point in the new Gaia-revenge Anthropocene era, possibly Hurricane Mitch in 1998?

It is anti-social and unkind to view humanity as an infestation, unless of course you are the last of a species that has been assaulted by humans and their unrelenting "development" and "progress."  But we might utilize the infestation-hypothesis in order to amuse ourselves or find "the answer." Without further ado, here are the composite responses to the question on Gaia's taking decisive action:

(A) Joe Blow, semi-educated and currently employed consumer: "I think your Gaia is pagan BS, or you're some kind of lesbian.  What's this assumption about destruction?  Either technology or Jesus will save us, so stop bothering me and let me get back to the football game [and commercials] on my big screen!"

(B) Billionaire bon-vivant: "Let's wait and see.  Meanwhile we must have economic growth for more jobs.  Not that I want a job, or that I care if people have a job or not, but I want them to keep out of trouble and keep buying more stuff so I can get richer."

(C) First Nation elder: "Jan, you can't represent my views!  But where I came from, we do revere the Earth as our Mother, and a spirit known as the land cannot be owned or sold.  The childish whites have brought their own roof down upon them, but do not quite know it yet.  Our traditional ways have been forgotten by our own young, but will revive."

(D) Homeless and deranged, terminally ill without help: "Whaaaat?  Can you give me spare change?  I lost my wallet.  That nut over there took it. I'll tell you about your Gaia.  Keep her away from me!  They'll come and grab me again and give me more of those weird meds!"

(E) - to be completed by you the reader, sent to a grateful Culture Change immediately.  (Don't trifle with Gaia's patience!)  Stay tuned for a compendium of responses.  For now,

Vaya con Gaia!

* * * * *

William LeBon, author of Universal Mind Meditation versus Cars, on Culture Change, observed for this Survey

We are Gaia. Gaia created us. How are we acting? We (dominant culture) are waking up to what aboriginal people have known for a long time. The dominant war/materialism culture is immature. It's at the level of kids in the sand box fighting over a toy. Big babies with way too much power. Hopefully we will grow up before we kill ourselves and our home planet. It'll be an interesting show, I'm getting some popcorn. Stay tuned...

Further reading: 

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Albert Bates speaks from Belize

The Gaia Trust (Denmark) Gaia 2012 Award winner: Albert Bates (see video of his talk on YouTube Getting back in balance with Gaia, 2010. Learn about the Gaia Trust awards and grants

Widely circulated essay Guided by Gaia, by Jan Lundberg, April 2012

CO2 emissions rises mean dangerous climate change now almost certain "Research by Global Carbon Project says emissions growth placing world on path to warm between 4 and 6C" -- Reuters /guardian.co.uk, December 3, 2012

Megastorms Could Drown Massive Portions of California "Huge flows of vapor in the atmosphere, dubbed "atmospheric rivers," have unleashed massive floods every 200 years, and climate change could bring more of them" -- Scientific American, by Michael D. Dettinger and B. Lynn Ingram, Nov. 2012

Fossil fuel subsidies five times greater than climate-finance pleedges, by David Turnbull, December 3, 2012

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Comments (7)Add Comment
Jan Lundberg, witness to vintage streetcar collection positioned at South Lake Tahoe and privy to details of demonstration renewable powered rail transit lines connecting waterborne transit with Stateline and Camp Richardson Visitors Center. Blown away by South Tahoe officials...

Railways not Jan's bag, so next comes sail and a fling with GAIA the Magnificent! Meanwhile, current events are in progress: Written so even atheists can understand, George Grant's "The Blood Of The Moon" is deep research on the spiritual background for Muhammadanism mission to remove Jews from the earth. Unfortunate deal FDR made with the House of Saud for oil franchise specified US would block creation of Jewish State. US tangle in Middle East account of motor mania assures serious consequences for America.

Funny things happen... FDR dies soon after 1945 deal with the devil; in 1948 President Harry Truman puts US imprimatur on new nation of Israel. US bets economy on imported oil component, rips out more than 2/3 rail mileage. Jan Lundberg grows up without a clue about the strategic role of railways. "Food not too good on Amtrak" is about the limit of Jan's railway expertise! Rail was an undeniable part of the US transport mix in the decades America enjoyed "Lending Not Borrowing Nation Status". For Peak Oil update, see "Aleklett's Blog", (Kjell Aleklett is President of the "Association For The Study Of Peak Oil & Gas). Jan knows him well.

Military lingo for railroad is "Second Dimension Surface Transport Logistics Platform". Meaning railway operates on any known (renewable a natural partner) energy source, and exhibits stand alone, apolitical operating capabilities. Sail is a hobby; rail is a crucial necessity. Jan has resisted the renewable railway "SYSTEMS" approach offered by Christopher C. Swan of "Suntrain Transportation Corporation" for decades. Maybe some of the Society of GAIA groupies would have time to take a look at Swan's book: ELECTRIC WATER" (New Society 2007), and feedback directly to Professor Lundberg?

Individuals with time and intellect to study in-depth the original Hebraic basis for Judeo/Christianity will note serious warnings forbidding meddling with Israel and Jerusalem- -Islam take heed. And, incidentally, commands to worship the Creator not the created. Atheists will not care about these particulars, proving "smart" people usually outsmart themselves. Yours truly does not claim to be smart, lacking the faith to believe in atheism. Modern examination of the semantics and, computer generated programming for translating Bible Codes reveal any possible human origen. Divine authority for the Hebraic accounts and warnings is indisputable. Back to you, Mr. Lundberg et al.

tahoevalleylines
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Consciousness spans a virtually infinite continuum. Beginning with the most basic forms of life, consciousness, using a process we call evolution, constantly experiments and complexifies itself. I have no doubt that consciousness continues to manifest itself in this Universe as ever more complex beings than ourselves.
Given that premise, humans are very newly self-aware, and self-aware beings have a huge amount of 'growing up' to do. And, since self-awareness inherently offers 'free will,' it also offers far more and radical options for development. Many newly self-aware child-like species no doubt take dead-end paths toward self extinction. That's just the way it goes, I would guess.
Humans always have the option of growing up at any moment; perhaps we will get lucky and somehow choose a more life-positive option. And perhaps we must flirt with disaster enough times to finally wake up.
Whether Gaia can tolerate our growing pains is the question. Gaia is wholly integrated in our fate, as well as having created and supported our development up 'til now. I suspect that we each have instinctive circuits that are currently being overridden by other pleasure-inducing circuits. And, of course, our clever little brains learn ever more clever ways to exploit ourselves and our environment for ever more pleasure. I hope that our instinctive circuits kick in, providing a deeper pleasure experience than the superficial ones we now addictively crave.
Robert
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- Ha! As if taking an average of everyone's opinion will somehow reveal the truth. Gaia does her thing in a different timeframe, and the process is already and always underway.
izzy
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I liked Robert's and Izzy's comments. I like trains, too, and use them first if available. Our Alliance for a Paving Moratorium was founded as a way to help Amtrak. Our spending over a decade fighting new road construction and car domination did not yield more track or engines, nor renewable-energy powered systems for rail. When a solid proposal with proven technology comes along, and there is both the financing and petroleum-infrastructure to allow it to happen, we will feature it on Culture Change. Meanwhile, 90% of world trade depends on ships, and that means oil that needs to be replaced by sail power to the extent possible. Or, we can take trains across the oceans, Mr. tahoevalleylines? - Jan Lundberg
depaver jan
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and, as I understand her, does not take conscious action in any human sense. I think it's pretty much straight cause-and-effect: if we cause the planet to become uninhabitable for complex critters like ourselves, we will be eliminated. In all likelihood the tendency of organisms to evolve into greater complexity will continue from whatever level of complexity remains after we are gone. Whether that will result in self-conscious organisms such as ourselves living here once again before the Sun explodes, I can't say.
Martin Holsinger
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Guns, bibles, lies, fear, stupidity. Actually, very few humans are conscious. The overwhelming majority of people are programmed, preprogrammed by the previous generation. If we were conscious, fully conscious, there would not be the conditions to have this kind of conversation. The ego, that cannot accept that we know absolutely nothing must be looked at very deeply and then perhaps we might be ready to learn. For those people who accept popular ideas about science and other subjects taught by our illustrious indoctrination system, you more than anyone must face the truth that you know absolutely nothing ! Are you courageous enough ? Are you even alive ?
joe
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This website is amazing! I collected ancient depictions of the sacred feminine, which may be viewed at gravettianvenusfigurines.com. We are all feminine at conception; males are created from female embryos once testosterone starts effecting their transformation in the womb. As for Mother Earth, she has bestowed the endocrine system and its neuro-endocrine stress response in us. This mechanism allows adaptation to environmental stressors, as well as functioning as a population regulation mechanism. When crowded or otherwise over-stressed, elevated stress hormone levels (CRH and Cortisol, among others) inhibit the master reproductive hormone, GnRH (gonadotropic releasing hormone) production and release in the hypothalamus, thus turning off reproduction and reducing crowded populations. This process has maintained ecological balance between animal populations and their nutrient environments for eons. However, altruistic humans, with our big brains, have learned to over-ride the disease processes (Cortisol suppresses the immune system and makes us vulnerable to diseases) and GnRH inhibitions with our creative medical innovations. So, Mother Nature has had to step up Her game, which we see with rising rates of all human diseases and infertility. Gaia will prevail. We may choose to voluntarily limit our numbers or She will do it for us. The choice is ours, each one of us. Thanks to Jan Lundberg for raising yet one more important discussion.
Greeley Miklashek, MD(retired)
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