James Lovelock described his previous book, The Revenge of Gaia, as 'a wake-up call for humanity'. Stark though it was in many respects, in The Vanishing Face of Gaia Lovelock says that even though the weather seems cooler and pollution lessens as the recession bites, the environmental problems we will face in the twenty-first century are even more terrifying than he previously realised. The Arctic and Antarctic ice-caps are melting very quickly, and water shortages and natural disasters are more common occurrences than at any time in recent history. The civilisations of many countries will be jeopardised and life as we know it severely disrupted.
Almost all predictions of the likely rate of climate change have been based on estimates which professional observers in the real worldnow show are consistently underestimating the true rate of change. As a global community we continue to be fixated by conventional 'green' ideas which we believe will help save our world. Lovelock argues that only Gaia theory, which he originated over forty years ago, can really help us understand the crisis fully. The root problem is that there are too many people and animals for the Earth to carry. And there is in fact only one possible procedure which might bring a permanent cure for climate change, but we are unlikely to adopt it.
'Our wish to continue business as usual will probably prevent us from saving ourselves' says Lovelock, so we must adapt as best we can and try to ensure that enough of us survive to allow a more capable species to evolve from us. There could hardly be a more important message for humankind. James Lovelock has been an active and accurate observer of the Earth environment since the 1960s and was the first to find CFCs and other gases accumulating in the air. His Gaia theory provides insight into climate change in the coming century.This is his final warning.