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Gaia Hypothesis

  • By: Lawrence Duffy
  • In: Green Politics: An A-to-Z Guide
  • Edited by: Dustin Mulvaney & Paul Robbins
  • Subject:Environmental Sociology, Environmental Technology, Policy & Management, Environmental Policy & Law (general)

The Gaia hypothesis addresses complex system cycles on Earth by using a medical metaphor of homeostasis for the global ecosystem. This concept expresses a process in which life-forms on the Earth grow, change, and die in ways that lead to the persistence of these or other forms. Specifically, the Gaia hypothesis proposes that life on Earth maintains the Earth's climate and atmospheric composition at an optimum for life. James E. Lovelock formulated the Gaia hypothesis, which was later championed by Lynn Margulis, who elaborated on symbiosis with microorganisms.

Gaia is the name of the Greek Earth goddess. In recent decades, as climate change data accumulated about the connectivity of plants and other organisms with geochemical processes, such as the carbon cycle and oxygen cycle, the idea ...

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