Summary of Gaia

A New Look at Life on Earth

Oxford UP,
First Edition: 1979 more...

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Gaia book summary
James Lovelock revisits his landmark study of “Life On Earth” with updates and discussions reflecting recent findings.


9 Overall

10 Importance

9 Innovation

7 Style


James Lovelock’s theories have become indispensable to anyone responsible for a firm’s environmental impact. His “Gaia hypothesis” has gained a tremendous following, though debate about it continues in the scientific and lay communities. Lovelock tries to break his science down into terms an average reader can grasp, but the mechanics of the Earth can prove hard to follow. People have discussed, reviewed and debated his text since its debut in 1979. The text in the new version is mostly from 1979, but the preface is an intriguing update that corrects statements which science has since proven wrong, like the idea that oceans dump CO2 into the atmosphere to keep levels constant. getAbstract recommends this classic because of its importance on the road to modern scientific theory, and for its power in shaping public perception of the environment.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What Gaia is in terms of environmental theory,
  • How Gaia affects humanity and how humanity affects Gaia,
  • Why people should accept being part of a larger system, and
  • Why people must preserve that system in a form that supports life.


The Earth Is a Living Being
In the late 1970s, people became concerned about environmental protection. The primary threat seemed to be nuclear war and a subsequent radiological disaster. Climate change was not yet on the tip of everyone’s tongue. Society now must be more mindful of the...
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About the Author

James Lovelock, a celebrated and often controversial scientist, author and lecturer, received a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) from the Queen of England in 1990 and contributed to NASA’s planetary exploration program.

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