cover image The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning

The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning

James Lovelock, . . Basic, $25 (278pp) ISBN 978-0-465-01549-8

Lovelock (The Revenge of Gaia ) presents evidence of a dire future for our planet. The controversial originator of Gaia theory (which views Earth as a self-regulating, evolving system made of “organisms, the surface rocks, the ocean and the atmosphere” with the goal “always to be as favorable for contemporary life as possible”) proposes an even more inconvenient truth than Al Gore’s. No voluntary human act can reduce our numbers fast enough even to slow climate change.” Nevertheless, human civilization has a “duty to survive” in the few safe havens—the far north and south, islands like Great Britain and Tasmania—free from the drought that will overtake most of the Earth. While Lovelock’s propensity to ramble is disconcerting, his predictions are persuasive—although some readers will be appalled by his contention that democracy may need to be abandoned to appropriately confront the challenge. (May)