cover image A Rough Ride to the Future

A Rough Ride to the Future

James Lovelock. Overlook, $25.95 (208p) ISBN 978-1-4683-1046-7

As one of the originators of the Gaia hypothesis, which emphasized “our irreplaceable value to the Earth” and its value to us, Lovelock (The Vanishing Face of Gaia) has written extensively over the years about the complicated relationship humans have with nature. In his latest volume, the Royal Society fellow offers further observations on “our old and familiar planetary home.” Striking a cautionary but measured tone and avoiding polemics, Lovelock warns readers about excessive industrial growth, global warming, “hunger in the face of an ever-growing population,” and constant shifts of market economics. These scare and confuse us, he says, making us feel “like a colony of red ants exposed when we lift the garden slab.” Lovelock also scatters throughout this slim narrative references to his long career in the U.S. and U.K. as a scientist and inventor “professionally qualified in physics, chemistry and non-clinical medicine.” This includes his work in the 1960s for NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, and his previous work on the Gaia hypothesis (originated in the 1970s). In this way, Lovelock’s book becomes not simply another look at Mother Nature’s uncertain future, but a revealing glimpse at the life of an outspoken and accomplished man of ideas. [em](Feb.) [/em]