Tag Archives: Gaia

Major Tom to ground control

Once a photograph of the Earth, taken from the outside, is available, a new idea as powerful as any in history will be let loose. — Sir Fred Hoyle, 1948.

The mighty genius of man has made steel and chemicals and computers and rockets and bundled these together to fire ourselves into space. The giant phalluses thunder up, unleasing gigawatts of power; shooting life into the void. Nobody has returned the same. As Dr Edgar Mitchell put it:

We went to the Moon as technicians; we returned as humanitarians.

No perspective could be newer then that of an earthling no longer on earth. Suddenly our planet seems small and fragile and the atmosphere a remarkably thin layer. The exceptional book Moondust documents how astronaughts return to earth forever changed.

Sunrise on Earth

Here are some reactions to seeing our home from space:

If somebody’d said before the flight, “Are you going to get carried away looking at the earth from the moon?” I would have say, “No, no way.” But yet when I first looked back at the earth, standing on the moon, I cried. — Alan Shepard

This planet is not terra firma. It is a delicate flower and it must be cared for. It’s lonely. It’s small. It’s isolated, and there is no resupply. And we are mistreating it. Clearly, the highest loyalty we should have is not to our own country or our own religion or our hometown or even to ourselves. It should be to, number two, the family of man, and number one, the planet at large. This is our home, and this is all we’ve got. — Scott Carpenter, Mecury 7 astronaut

For the first time in my life I saw the horizon as a curved line. It was accentuated by a thin seam of dark blue light – our atmosphere. Obviously this was not the ocean of air I had been told it was so many times in my life. I was terrified by its fragile appearance. – Ulf Merbold, Federal Republic of Germany

(For more on the fragility of our atmosphere check out: Climate sceptic!? You do the maths…)

Dr Ed Mitchell had an epiphany (a powerful Savikalpa samadhi experience) in his spaceship on the return trip from the moon and wrote:

On the return trip home, gazing through 240,000 miles of space toward the stars and the planet from which I had come, I suddenly experienced the universe as intelligent, loving, harmonious.

and

My view of our planet was a glimpse of divinity.

Our technology has flung us into space. It is also tearing apart the living fabric of our planet. We must listen to our spacemen. It is time for us to care for our planet as if it was a living being; because that is what she is. And she has a name; Gaia.

For more on Gaia check out: Science is Great but God is Green.

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Earth 2 Jay Kay

Earth to Jay Kay… Come in Jay Kay!

[NOTE TO READER: for some reason (possibly their revolutionary content) the great eco-corporate Sony has deemed these videos to be restricted access (nice move Sony, you assholes). To get the full effect open the tunes in a new window.  : )  ]

The first CD album I ever bought was Emergency on Planet Earth the debut album of Jamiroquai. I was blown away, not just by the wicked tunes and musical groove but by the uncompromising, switched-on message. Undoubtably this album had a profound impact on my 13-year-old mind. There is an emergency on planet earth and these dudes have made a whole album about it!

Remember how good this one is:

Yeah baby! But wait a second… check out this mother… it’s even better!

This was in 1993! This cat was way ahead of his time! But then something went terribly wrong…

Jay Kay post ‘success’

After becoming a multimillionaire popstar, Jay Kay was lured to the Darkside. In particular he became fascinated with the power of long dead organisms, released with fury in the internal combustion engines of his supercars. The fossil fuel fumes must have done something to his brain because since then he is often seen  in London, off his nut, getting noticed for all the wrong reasons.

Jay Kay in a new Ferrari Source: http://bit.ly/eoue8X

Jay Kay's £180k Lamborghini Diablo SE30 ultra-rare 'Anniversary' edition after a smash

Jay Kay scrapping on a night out in London (Source: http://bit.ly/fxqiJs)

Jay Kay gets nailed by the dreaded 'biker cops'. Source: http://bit.ly/gAAbN

Jay Kay… what happened? Come back to planet earth! We need you now more than ever!

Didgin’ Out

Coolest opening of any tune? Didgin’ Out (I used to repeat the first 5 seconds repeatedly)

For more sweet eco tunes… check out: http://ecohustler.co.uk/top-10-eco-tunes-of-all-time-ever-for-now/

Borders divide; frontiers unite

You have to go full screen, dim the lights and sit back for this one.

First seen on: http://halfiranian.com.

Climate sceptic!? You do the maths…

Our Atmosphere: you gotta love it!

The process behind altering the earth’s atmosphere and therefore its climate is now well understood. Humans mine from the earth and from the bottom of the oceans the compressed fossils of organisms that lived on the planet eons ago. These beings were sustained by the energy captured from ancient sunlight beamed through space in an epoch before the first mammals had even evolved.

Geological Time Spiral

Photosynthetic organisms use the energy of sunlight to turn CO2 from a gas in the atmosphere into the living matter of all the creatures on earth. When these plants, algae and plankton are eaten the matter is passed up the food chain. When living organisms die if they are not consumed by another they may be transformed to soil, sedimentary rock or the infamous, so-called fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas). Thus the total mass of organic matter has been increasing on earth continuously since the dawn of life.

Prehistoric Life

The industrial revolution and subsequent, derived technological expansion reverses this process. Power stations, the boiler in your cupboard and the engine in your car take the fossilized remains of ancient animals and burn them. This combustion releases the energy that was captured back in the day and returns the complex organic carbon matter back to molecular form (CO2 and water). Because we live in a ‘fossil fuel economy’ almost everything we do has a carbon footprint. However, because this is a new science and only recently taught in schools many people struggle to understand what a carbon footprint actually is. A carbon footprint is the carbon released into the atmosphere from whatever you do…  but how can we conceptualize this?

People discussing climate change often use the unit of a tonne of co2. We know that on average in the UK we release 11 a year, about 1 a month. In the US it is about double this. Specific activities can be given a carbon footprint. For example, flying to New York releases about 3 tonnes of co2 and flying to Australia about 10.

What is this tonne? Where is this tonne? What is it doing? Even within the low carbon world this practical information is not well understood. Presumably this is because we are discussing an invisible gas. This may get to the heart of the climate challenge. No one can see it happening. The ‘greatest threat humanity has ever faced’ is invisible and gradual (until it goes non-linear that is; if feedback loops amplify change so that it ‘runs away’ change will be fast and irreversible).

Last year I worked with a crack squad of artists, architects, event producers and the world’s leading projection company to construct a sculpture the size of 1 tonne of co2 at COP 15 and project upon it a range of climate themed audio visuals.

Standing in front of the work of art elicited a range of psychological, emotional and physical responses. This mega monolith manifested in downtown Copenhagen was so big (8m x 8m x 8m) it was shocking; but it was the accompanying data that really knocked the wind out of you. In total humans release 80 million of these suckers every day (2006 data). Stacked on top of each other these would go to the moon and back 1.5 times (every day). In a year the figure is 28,431,741,000 tonnes. In other words we have got cubes coming out of the ying yang!

The Cube from the Air

The exhibit culminated with a Kenji Williams performing Bella Gaia in front of the cube with exclusive NASA footage projected in the background.

This staggering scale is even more sobering when it is made relative to the total volume of the atmosphere. From the scale of us humans busy with our daily endeavours on the planet’s surface the atmosphere seems enormous. It dwarfs us. However, at the scale of the planet the atmosphere is almost unnoticeable. The atmosphere and oceans are so small in comparison to the overall earth it is comparable to a film of water on a billiard ball. Even all the mighty oceans only make up 1/4000 of the earth’s total mass.  The scale height of the atmosphere is about 8.5 km.[8] Whereas the radius of the earth is 6,371.0km[3] in other words the earth is more than 1000 times bigger than the atmosphere.

 

The third rock from the sun contains around it a thin layer of water, gases and vapour at a temperature of between −89 °C to 57.7 °C (mean = 14 °C). Within this exists all of the known life in the universe and all that most of us holds dear. For astronauts in space seeing this can be an epiphany. Here are some reactions to seeing our home from space:

An Astronaut

Looking outward to the blackness of space, sprinkled with the glory of a universe of lights, I  saw majesty – but no welcome. Below was a welcoming planet. There, contained in the thin, moving, incredibly fragile shell of the biosphere is everything that is dear to you, all the human drama and comedy. That’s where life is; that’s were all the good stuff is.

– Loren Acton, USA

For the first time in my life I saw the horizon as a curved line. It was accentuated by a thin seam of dark blue light – our atmosphere. Obviously this was not the ocean of air I had been told it was so many times in my life. I was terrified by its fragile appearance. – Ulf Merbold, Federal Republic of Germany

A Chinese tale tells of some men sent to harm a young girl who, upon seeing her beauty, become her protectors rather than her violators. That’s how I felt seeing the Earth for the first time. I could not help but love and cherish her.  – Taylor Wang, China/USA

The total annual emissions of greenhouse gasses from human activity are a not insignificant percentage of the total atmospheric mass. If our atmosphere was the size of an apple, every year we are sticking a pea size amount of poisonous gas into it. We have been doing this since 1750. It is not unbelievable that doing this would create a change to our atmosphere and to our climate. It is unbelievable that we have been doing this for 250 years and we are still around to talk about it. Why aren’t we already extinct!? The resilience of the earth’s atmosphere is largely down to the dynamic nature of the ecological systems that make up the biosphere. At this point it may be worth pointing out that at the same time as pumping vast amounts of gas into the biosphere we are also removing the great forests of the world which draw co2 out of the atmosphere.

Personally I sincerely wish it was true that a group of scientists had invented climate change as an elaborate plot to usher in a world government who will curtail the rights of US gun toters, ban Christianity and create a homosexual communist utopia. The inconvenient truth that just will not go away is that thousands of different scientists in different parts of the world, using different techniques and speaking different languages are measuring and monitoring the same phenomena. We are changing our atmosphere and our climate.

Whatever your ideological stand point you need a healthy atmosphere to breathe. The people who are slowing down and hampering global efforts to preserve our atmosphere fit into 3 different categories. They are either not educated to the level to enable them to understand the science; they are stupid or they work for the fossil fuel industry. If you can’t understand the science for whatever reason, we politely ask you: please step aside; your ignorance is deadly. Those who can understand the science are aware of an enormous imminent threat and are working hard to find solutions. For the other category you are worse than irresponsible. You are traitors to your species, your planet and this grand evolutionary adventure. Your greed is endangering all of the life on this planet. The best thing we could do with you would be to stick you on a planet that doesn’t have an atmosphere and see how you like it when your eyes pop out of your skull rapidly followed by your evil little reptilian brain.

Sunrise on Earth