/Earth is a living system and humans will decide whether it thrives

Earth is a living system and humans will decide whether it thrives

Earth

Its future is in our hands

NASA

The Earth is a complex machine that works to support life – and humans have seized control of the machine, for better or worse. This was the message of a conference this week dedicated to Earth system science.

The idea that life on Earth acts to preserve its own existence, by stabilising conditions on the planet, is known as the Gaia hypothesis. Formulated by independent scientist James Lovelock and popularised in the 1970s, Gaia has inspired a generation of scientists who study the Earth’s many systems, from the climate to …