The Earth Defends Herself By Slowing Down Growth

Leonardo Boff

The idea of a living Earth is widely accepted, and has been incorporated into the most recent manuals of ecology (cf.R. Barbault, Ecologia Geral, Vozes, Petrópolis 2011.) It was first proposed by Russian geochemist W.Vernadsky in the 1920’s, and was retaken with great depth in the 1970s by James Lovelock, and among us, by J. Lutzenberger, where she was called Gaia. This name tries to convey the fact that the Earth is a gigantic, self regulating, super-organism, that makes all beings interconnect and cooperate with each other. Nothing is omitted, because everything is an expression of the life of Gaia, including human societies, their cultural projects, and their forms of production and consumption. But by creating the conscious and free human being, Gaia has endangered herself. Human beings are called upon to live in harmony with her, but they can also break the bonds of belonging. She is tolerant, but when the rupture damages the whole, she teaches us bitter lessons. We can already feel them now.

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