James Lovelock is an environmental scientist, a futurist and an independent expert on global warming, though he now thinks we should call it global heating. He says warming doesn’t do justice to what’s happening and sounds a bit too cozy and comfortable. Lovelock was the first to discover chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in the atmosphere and he is the pioneer of the Gaia Theory - a way of thinking of the whole Earth as one big, interconnected living organism. Lovelock’s latest book on the subject is called “The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning.” And about that subtitle…Lovelock says that was the publisher’s idea. He wanted his book to be subtitled “Enjoy It While You Can.” Lovelock has come to the conclusion, after decades of independent study and research, that global heating is here and that humanity is past the point of being able to stop it. But he does call himself an “optimistic pessimist” and offers a few options for putting off the inevitable. Since our major problem is the production of carbon dioxide, Lovelock recommends converting the world’s agicultural waste into inert charcoal and burying it underground or at the bottom of the ocean to take that carbon out of the environment. Another option is to simulate a volcanic eruption by inserting a layer of sulfuric acid droplets into the stratosphere to reflect sunlight back to space. Lovelock is not a believer in biofuels or wind power as reliable, practical solution to our energy needs. He believes nuclear power is our best option. You can learn more about his research at James Lovelock’s website.
He turns 90 this weekend (July 26) and thanks to an invitation from Sir Richard Branson, Lovelock hopes to take a trip into space before the end of the year. Branson’s Virgin Galactic Spaceship will be capable of flying about 60 miles above the Earth and remain at that altitude for about five minutes. Lovelock says that duration sounds just about long enough to him and he will be high enough to see a bit of our planet’s curvature, which he says has been a life-long dream of his.