The Lovelock effect

I’ve been brooding over James Lovelock’s Revenge of Gaia the last few weeks. His message is clear, if somewhat melodramatic, as where he invokes Wagner’s Gotterdammerung. But then, Lovelock believes we are in twilight, that at best some fraction of humanity will survive, likely in subjection to vicious warlords, in some sort of unending Hobbesian nightmare. (For a well-done profile of Lovelock, see Michael Powell’s The End of Eden.)

Lovelock is no technophobe. He supports nuclear power as a clean source of energy, and he is a fan of the idea of space-mounted sun shades and John Latham’s floating nuclei. But he does not like the idea of windturbines and biofuels, which he argues just perpetuate our problems.
He is or has become something of a travelphobe — he thinks we should stay home and use the Internet for entertainment, so we burn less fossil fuel. (At the same time, he argues that most of what we know is from TV and books, and this narrows our understanding of the world.)

Ultimately, he calls for a literate (that is, understandable by non-specialists) book of knowledge, composed on long-lasting paper, so that whomever survives the near-death of the earth will not have to start over.

Lovelock is Malthusian (or maybe Al Gore-ian — though Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth” is less depressing), though I’m not sure who his Ricardo is (most climate change scientists think things are less grim). But I still find myself wondering what skills I can impart to my children so that they will make it to the Arctic Circle and have a chance to survive. I don’t think I have a whole lot of those skills, myself. I think Global Warming Survival Camp is in their summer future, when they’re a little older.

3 thoughts on “The Lovelock effect

  1. “I think Global Warming Survival Camp is in their summer future, when they’re a little older.”

    Wow, you have just suggested (perhaps inadvertantly) a very intriguing idea for a real-world game. ^_^

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