The recent tsunami in the Indian ocean is a result of plate tectonics and of an Earthquake, i.e. physical movements of the crust of the Earth, which have only very little interaction (except over the very long term) with the living biosphere of Gaia (the atmosphere, and Earth's surface). But if we continue to fool around with the atmosphere, and continue to increase global warming by the unreasonable burning of fossil fuels, then Gaia will react, and storms and other catastrophic climatic events with consequences somewhat comparable to those of the recent tsunami (although produced by an entirely different mechanism) will result and will occur more and more frequently as time passes. In other words, there is no direct relation between Gaia, global warming due to human activity, and the recent tsunami; but this terrible event should be considered as a warning and incite us to be cautious about the way we interact with the climate by burning fossil fuels as we are doing today.
There are other much better sources of energy which do not affect Gaia instead of burning oil, gas and coal. Saving energy could be useful, of course, and should be encouraged vigorously, but this will not suffice. Wind and solar energies can be developed but they are very dilute, they produce only small amounts of energy, at great expense, and their production is highly variable. These energies are not only expensive but they are incapable of meeting the vast requirements of our industrial society. On the contrary, nuclear energy is clean and reliable. It can safely produce large amounts of energy while hardly affecting the biosphere at all (one gram of uranium produces as much energy as one ton of oil - this difference is a factor of one million). Clean nuclear energy should be developed as much as possible, and as rapidly as possible (the situation of our planet requires urgent action) to replace the dangerous habit of burning CO2-producing fuels which are dominating the energy production today. With all respect for our German friends, the decision of nuclear phase-out in Germany was a historical mistake, and it will lead to increasing (instead of softening it) the harm already inflicted to Gaia by the CO2 emissions into the atmosphere at world level. It would be good for Gaia, and for the environment, as well as a wise and courageous decision, if Germany reconsidered its nuclear phase-out from this perspective.
James Lovelock (author of the Gaia theory, pioneer of environmental thinking, age 84)
Bruno Comby (President of EFN - Environmentalists For Nuclear Energy, www.ecolo.org )
Photos of the authors : click here
(for James Lovelock) here
(for Bruno Comby) and here
(c) Copyright photos : Bruno Comby - www.comby.org
- "The Ages of Gaia" by James Lovelock and his other books on Gaia / see his web site : http://www.ecolo.org/lovelock/ (click on the English flag on this page)
- "Environmentalists For Nuclear Energy" by Bruno Comby, with an introduction by James Lovelock : http://www.ecolo.org (click on "Book" in the menu)
(this text was written by Bruno Comby on January 14th 2005, after a discussion with James Lovelock, with his input and authorization to do so, to answer a question from a German journalist about Gaia and Tsunamis, for publication in the German newspaper "Bild Am Sonntag")
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Professor James Lovelock, FRS, independent researcher, author of the Gaia theory, is considered as one of the historical founders of global and environmental thinking since the 1960's. He is an eminent member of the Scientific Committee of EFN. For information on Pr. James Lovelock :