Who hasn’t seen it coming, the Green Movement transformed from a mission that sought to preserve and sustain the wealth and beauty of the earth’s bio-systems, to one that regards the earth as divine and worthy of worship.
Gaia, the ancient Greek goddess of earth personified, is now for many, the heartbeat of all nature reverence. Yet, the earth as primordial ‘Mother who bears and sustains life’, must be updated for a 21st century ‘New Age’ spiritual world view. This update is a clever combination of science and religion presented through the guise of the Gaia hypothesis, also known as Gaia theory or Gaia principle. The education system throughout the United States has been on board for years. On all grade levels environmental science courses are often introduced through a scientific/philosophical/theological lens. This concern is one of the major reasons for an increasing interest in homeschooling among many parents today, another is parental rights.
The Gaia principle was formulated in the 1970’s, by two scientists, James Lovelock an independent scientist, environmentalist and futurologist with a strong background in chemistry for medical research and the late Lynn Margulis, a microbiologist. This theory asserts that the biosphere is a self-regulating system and as such, contributes to and maintains the conditions that nurture all life on the planet. The scientific contribution of this theory only exists in its supporting context for how the Earth functions and renews itself. With this frame of reference, the Earth, Gaia, self-regulates global temperature, atmospheric content, ocean salinity, etc…, in a way that is very similar to that of healthy living organism, like us. This hypothesis has been very useful for the collection of data and research in such hard science disciplines as geophysics, Earth system science, biochemistry, systems ecology and of course climate science. Furthermore, it has also had an impact on regulatory laws for land and water use on local, state and Federal levels.
The religious/philosophical aspect of Gaia Theory becomes problematic when Gaia’s health is affected by human beings, domesticated cattle, horses, etc… The Gaia principle is not an anthrocentric approach to what is desirable and necessary and what is not. So when the Earth’s interests are in conflict with humanity, it is mankind that must be suppressed. After all, with this world view, “nature” becomes the most fundamental truth and this “truth” requires that all spheres of society conform to it. Therefore, freedom of choice and basic individual rights must be sacrificed for the common good. If the Earth is viewed in some abstract way as a sentient being and given a name, then protecting her becomes a sacred mission.
This fierce passion is the crusade of the environmental movement with its objectives of sustainable development that affect agricultural lands through water and private property rights. With such warm-and-fuzzy terms like “clean and green”. “sustainable development” “earth friendly” and “social equality” it doesn’t hurt so much and we are eager to pitch in, for now. However, more people are waking up and discovering how the Gaia Movement is impacting their lives on local, state, national and global levels through the United Nations directives of Agenda 21.
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