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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index L > James E. Lovelock Quotes

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James E. Lovelock
(26 Jul 1919 - 26 Jul 2022)

British climatologist and inventor who invented (1957) the electron capture detector, a portable analytical instrument able to detect infinitesimal traces of man-made chemicals. From the late 1960s, Lovelock championed his Gaia theory of Earth as a planet-sized superorganism.


Science Quotes by James E. Lovelock (56 quotes)

A frequent misunderstanding of my vision of Gaia is that I champion complacence, that I claim feedback will always protect the environment from any serious harm that humans might do. It is sometimes more crudely put as “Lovelock’s Gaia gives industry the green light to pollute at will.” The truth is almost diametrically opposite. Gaia, as I see her, is no doting mother tolerant of misdemeanors, nor is she some fragile and delicate damsel in danger from brutal mankind. She is stern and tough, always keeping the world warm and comfortable for those who obey the rules, but ruthless in her destruction of those who transgress. Her unconscious goal is a planet fit for life. If humans stand in the way of this, we shall be eliminated with as little pity as would be shown by the micro-brain of an intercontinental ballistic nuclear missile in full flight to its target.
— James E. Lovelock
In The Ages of Gaia: A Biography of Our Living Earth (1999), 199.
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According to the historian D. B. McIntyre (1963), James Hutton, often known as the father of geology, said in a lecture before the Royal Society of Edinburgh in the 1790s that he thought of the Earth as a superorganism and that its proper study would be by physiology. Hutton went on to make the analogy between the circulation of the blood, discovered by Harvey, and the circulation of the nutrient elements of the Earth and of the way that sunlight distills water from the oceans so that it may later fall as rain and so refresh the earth.
— James E. Lovelock
In 'The Earth as a Living Organism', Essay collected in E. O. Wilson and F. M. Peter (eds.), Biodiversity (1988), Chap. 56, 488. [Notes: Donald Bertram McIntyre (1923–2009) was a geologist. Hutton had medical training early in his life. According to Mirriam-Webster’s dictionary, the first known use of the word “superorganism” was “circa 1899”—so Hutton did not use that word. However, McIntyre did adopt that sophisticated word to describe Hutton’s thought, twice, in Philosophy of Geology (1963), 7 & 10. Thus, McIntyre and Lovelock freely embroidered whatever Hutton actually wrote, perhaps over-stepping. Cándido Manuel García Cruz criticizes that these “assertions are merely a misinterpretation” although “Hutton has nevertheless an holistic view which is closer to the Alfred N. Whitehead’s organic mechanicism than the James Lovelock’s Gaia Hypothesis,” as quoted from the abstract of his article 'From James Hutton’s «Theory of the Earth» to James Lovelock’s «Gaia Hypothesis»', Asclepio; Archivo Iberoamericano de Historia de la Medicina y Antropología Médica (Jun 2007), 59, No. 1, 65-100. Thus, it is best to read his own words in James Hutton, Theory of the Earth, which at length describes the “terrestrial system” as a “machine of a peculiar construction.” —Webmaster]
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Any artist or novelist would understand—some of us do not produce their best when directed. We expect the artist, the novelist and the composer to lead solitary lives, often working at home. While a few of these creative individuals exist in institutions or universities, the idea of a majority of established novelists or painters working at the “National Institute for Painting and Fine Art” or a university “Department of Creative Composition” seems mildly amusing. By contrast, alarm greets the idea of a creative scientist working at home. A lone scientist is as unusual as a solitary termite and regarded as irresponsible or worse.
— James E. Lovelock
Homage to Gala: The Life of an Independent Scholar (2000), 2.
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As Arthur C. Clarke has observed: “How inappropriate to call this planet Earth, when clearly it is Ocean.” Nearly three-quarters of the Earth’s surface is sea, which is why those magnificent photographs taken from space show our planet as a sapphire blue globe, flecked with soft wisps of cloud and capped by brilliant white fields of polar ice.
— James E. Lovelock
From opening paragraph to Chap. 6, 'The Sea', in James E. Lovelock, Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth (1979) 84. The origin of the Arthur C. Clarke quote is not cited therein, and Webmaster has, as yet, been unable to locate a primary source, although found widely quoted without citation, in print and on the web. Note that G. Carleton Ray made a similar quote in 1963, naming “sea” rather than “Ocean”. See the web page for Ray on this site for his quote, beginning, “We call this planet Earth…”.
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At best, perhaps it [large-scale geoengineering] will buy us some time.
— James E. Lovelock
As told to and quoted in Jeff Goodell, How to Cool the Planet: Geoengineering and the Audacious Quest to Fix Earth’s Climate (2010), 92-93. Jeff Goodall writes that Lovelock had told him, this could be (without quote marks) an emergency measure, much like kidney dialysis is necessary to a person whose health is failing.
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Because we are urban dwellers we are obsessed with human problems. … We are so alienated from the world of nature that few of us can name the wild flowers and insects of our locality or notice the rapidity of their extinction.
— James E. Lovelock
In 'The Earth as a Living Organism', Essay collected in E. O. Wilson and F. M. Peter (eds.), Biodiversity (1988), Chap. 56, 489. The ellipsis is for a sentence that Webmaster has extracted as a standalone quote on this webpage, beginning: “Even environmentalists seem more concerned”.
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Camels, unlike most animals, regulate their body temperatures at two different but stable states. During daytime in the desert, when it is unbearably hot, camels regulate close to 40°C, a close enough match to the air temperature to avoid having to cool by sweating precious water. At night the desert is cold, and even cold enough for frost; the camel would seriously lose heat if it tried to stay at 40°C, so it moves its regulation to a more suitable 34°C, which is warm.
— James E. Lovelock
In The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis & The Fate of Humanity (2006, 2007), 21.
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Chemists can devise ways to make … less polluting fuels for transport, from any energy source, even nuclear, but such is the inertia of industrial civilization that we are likely to go on using fossil fuel for a decade [beyond that] at least.
— James E. Lovelock
In The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis & The Fate of Humanity (2006, 2007), 94.
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City wisdom became almost entirely centered on the problems of human relationships, in contrast to the wisdom of any natural tribal group, where relationships with the rest of the animate and inanimate world are still given due place.
— James E. Lovelock
In Gaia, a New Look at Life on Earth (1979), 135.
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Darwinists are right to say that selection favours the organisms that leave alive the most progeny, but vigorous growth takes place within a constrained space where feedback from the environment allows the emergence of natural self-regulation.
— James E. Lovelock
In The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis & The Fate of Humanity (2006, 2007), 35.
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Edna St Vincent Millay said:
My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But, ah, my foes, and oh, my friends –
It gives a lovely light.
So it is with Gaia. The first aeons of her life were bacterial, and only in her equivalent of late middle age did the first meta-fauna and meta-zoa appear. Not until her eighties did the first intelligent animal appear on the planet. Whatever our faults, we surely have enlightened Gaia’s seniority by letting her see herself from space as a whole planet while she was still beautiful.
— James E. Lovelock
In 'The Life History of Gaia', The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis & The Fate of Humanity (2006), Chap. 3, 46-47.
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Even environmentalists seem more concerned about the loss of a year or so of life expectation through cancer than they are about the degradation of the natural world by deforestation or greenhouse gases—something that could cause the death of our grandchildren.
— James E. Lovelock
In 'The Earth as a Living Organism', Essay collected in E. O. Wilson and F. M. Peter (eds.), Biodiversity (1988), Chap. 56, 489.
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For the same energy output as from coal or oil, methane combustion releases only half as much carbon dioxide. This implies that powering a nation entirely by gas reduces emissions of carbon dioxide by half. … The problem with [production leaks and other escapes of] … methane is that this substance is twenty-four times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
— James E. Lovelock
In The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis & The Fate of Humanity (2006, 2007), 95.
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Gaia is a thin spherical shell of matter that surrounds the incandescent interior; it begins where the crustal rocks meet the magma of the Earth’s hot interior, about 100 miles below the surface, and proceeds another 100 miles outwards through the ocean and air to the even hotter thermosphere at the edge of space. It includes the biosphere and is a dynamic physiological system that has kept our planet fit for life for over three billion years. I call Gaia a physiological system because it appears to have the unconscious goal of regulating the climate and the chemistry at a comfortable state for life. Its goals are not set points but adjustable for whatever is the current environment and adaptable to whatever forms of life it carries.
— James E. Lovelock
In The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis & The Fate of Humanity (2006, 2007), 19.
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I don’t think we’re yet evolved to the point where we’re clever enough to handle a complex a situation as climate change.… The inertia of humans is so huge that you can’t really do anything meaningful.
— James E. Lovelock
As quoted in 'James Lovelock: Humans Are Too Stupid to Prevent Climate Change', Guardian (29 Mar 2010).
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I find it sad, but all too human, that there are vast bureaucracies concerned about nuclear waste, huge organizations devoted to decommissioning nuclear power stations, but nothing comparable to deal with that truly malign waste, carbon dioxide.
— James E. Lovelock
In The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis & The Fate of Humanity (2006, 2007), 117-118.
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I know that to personalize the Earth System as Gaia, as I have often done and continue to do in this book, irritates the scientifically correct, but I am unrepentant because metaphors are more than ever needed for a widespread comprehension of the true nature of the Earth and an understanding of the lethal dangers that lie ahead.
— James E. Lovelock
In The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis & The Fate of Humanity (2006, 2007), 188.
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I recognize that to view the Earth as if it were alive is just a convenient, but different, way of organizing the facts of the Earth. I am, of course, prejudiced in favour of Gaia and have filled my life for the past 25 years with the thought that the Earth might be in certain ways be alive—not as the ancients saw her, a sentient goddess with purpose and foresight—more like a tree. A tree that exists, never moving except to sway in the wind, yet endlessly conversing with the sunlight and the soil. Using sunlight and water and nutrients to grow and change. But all done so imperceptibly that, to me, the old oak tree on the green is the same as it was when I was a child.
— James E. Lovelock
In Healing Gaia: Practical Medicine for the Planet (1991), 12.
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I speak as a planetary physician whose patient, the living Earth, complains of fever; I see the Earth’s declining health as our most important concern, our very lives depending upon a healthy Earth. Our concern for it must come first, because the welfare of the burgeoning mass of humanity demands a healthy planet.
— James E. Lovelock
In The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis & The Fate of Humanity (2006, 2007), 2.
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I think that we reject the evidence that our world is changing because we are still, as that wonderfully wise biologist E. O. Wilson reminded us, tribal carnivores. We are programmed by our inheritance to see other living things as mainly something to eat, and we care more about our national tribe than anything else. … . We still find alien the concept that we and the rest of life, from bacteria to whales, are parts of the much larger and diverse entity, the living Earth.
— James E. Lovelock
In The Revenge of Gaia (2006).
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I’d sooner expect a goat to succeed as a gardener than expect humans to become stewards of the earth.
— James E. Lovelock
Expressing pessimism about the profound hubris in proposing large-scale geoengineering efforts. As told to and quoted in Jeff Goodell, How to Cool the Planet: Geoengineering and the Audacious Quest to Fix Earth’s Climate (2010), 92.
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If there were a billion people living on the planet, we could do whatever we please. But there are nearly seven billion. At this scale, life as we know it today is not sustainable.
— James E. Lovelock
As told to and quoted in Jeff Goodell, How to Cool the Planet: Geoengineering and the Audacious Quest to Fix Earth’s Climate (2010), 91.
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If you were an artist or novelist, or a poet or somebody like that, nobody would think it odd if you worked in your own home. In science there’s none of this at all. I’m almost the only independent scientist in Britain. Everybody else works in large institutions, universities, or industrial labs. Why should one expect scientists to work that way?
— James E. Lovelock
From Visionaries documentary, 'The Man Who Named the World' (1989). As quoted on jameslovelock.org website.
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In science, the more discovered, the more new paths open for exploration. It is usual in science, when things are vague and unclear, for the path to be like that of a drunkard, wandering in a zigzag. As we stagger back from what lastly dawns upon our befuddled wits is the wrong way, we cross over the true path and move nearly as far to the, equally wrong, opposite side. If all goes well, our deviations lessen and the path converges towards, but never completely follows, the true one. It gives a new insight to the old tag in vino veritas.
— James E. Lovelock
In The Ages of Gaia: A Biography of Our Living Earth (1999), 199.
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It is not the amount of oxygen that determines flammability, but its proportion in the mixture with nitrogen. About 40 per cent of the nitrogen on Earth is now buried in the crust; perhaps in the Cretaceous that nitrogen had not yet been buried and existed in the air and so kept the proportion of oxygen safer for trees [from greatly intensified forest fires].
— James E. Lovelock
In The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis & The Fate of Humanity (2006, 2007), 27.
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Keep in mind that it is hubris to think that we know how to save the Earth: our planet looks after itself. All we can do is try to save ourselves.
— James E. Lovelock
In The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning (2010), 13.
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Metaphor is important because to deal with, understand, and even ameliorate the fix we are now in over global change requires us to know the true nature of the Earth and imagine it as the largest living thing in the solar system, not something inanimate like that disreputable contraption ‘spaceship Earth’.
— James E. Lovelock
In The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis & The Fate of Humanity (2006, 2007), 21.
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My main reason for not relaxing into contented retirement is that like most of you I am deeply concerned about the probability of massively harmful climate change and the need to do something about it now.
— James E. Lovelock
From a talk at Geological Society of London, 'Conjectures of an Independent Scientist' (5 May 2011). As quoted on jameslovelock.org website.
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No one who has experienced the intense involvement of computer modeling would deny that the temptation exists to use any data input that will enable one to continue playing what is perhaps the ultimate game of solitaire.
— James E. Lovelock
Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth (1979), 137-8.
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One of the striking things about places heavily contaminated by radioactive nuclides is the richness of their wildlife. This is true of the land around Chernobyl, the bomb test sites of the Pacific, and areas near the United States’ Savannah River nuclear weapons plant of the Second World War. Wild plants and animals do not perceive radiation as dangerous, and any slight reduction it may cause in their lifespans is far less a hazard than is the presence of people and their pets.
— James E. Lovelock
In The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis & The Fate of Humanity (2006, 2007), 115-116.
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Only rarely do we see beyond the needs of humanity. … Now that we are over six billion hungry and greedy individuals, all aspiring to a first-world lifestyle, our urban way of life encroaches upon the domain of the living Earth. We are taking so much that it is no longer able to sustain the familiar and comfortable world we have taken for granted. Now it is changing, according to its own internal rules, to a state where we are no longer welcome.
— James E. Lovelock
In The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis & The Fate of Humanity (2006, 2007), 9. The first sentence is a concept acknowledged to John Gray, Straw Dogs (2002).
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Others consider us superior because of our cultured ways and intellectual tendencies; our technology lets us drive cars, use word processors and travel great distances by air. Some of us live in air-conditioned houses and we are entertained by the media. We think that we are more intelligent than stone-agers, yet how many modern humans could live successfully in caves, or would know how to light wood fires for cooking, or make clothes and shoes from animal skins or bows and arrows good enough to keep their families fed?
— James E. Lovelock
In The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis & The Fate of Humanity (2006, 2007), 185
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Perhaps our and Gaia’s greatest error was the conscious abuse of fire. Cooking meat over a wood fire may have been acceptable, but the deliberate destruction of whole ecosystems by fire merely to drive out the animals within was surely our first great sin against the living Earth. It has haunted us ever since and combustion could now be our auto da fé, and the cause of our extinction.
— James E. Lovelock
In The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis & The Fate of Humanity (2006, 2007), 186.
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Science is a cosy, friendly club of specialists who follow their numerous different stars; it is proud and wonderfully productive but never certain and always hampered by the persistence of incomplete world views.
— James E. Lovelock
In 'The State of Earth', The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis & The Fate of Humanity (2006), Chap. 1, 5.
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Scientists today are hampered by their low social and economic status. Long gone is the respect and independence given to Lavoisier, Darwin, Faraday, Maxwell, Perkin, Curie and Einstein. Hardly any laboratory scientist anywhere is as free as a good writer can be. Indeed I suspect that the only scientists we know well are those who can write entertaining books; the real contributors to knowledge are mostly unknown.
— James E. Lovelock
In The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis & The Fate of Humanity (2006, 2007), 93.
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The difference between the long-term average of the graph and the ice age, 12,000 years ago, is just over 3°C. The IPCC 2001 report suggests that the line of the hockey stick graph might rise a further 5°C during this century. This is about twice as much as the temperature change from the ice age to pre-industrial times.
— James E. Lovelock
In The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis & The Fate of Humanity (2006, 2007), 67.
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The Earth has recovered after fevers like this, and there are no grounds for thinking that what we are doing will destroy Gaia, but if we continue business as usual, our species may never again enjoy the lush and verdant world we had only a hundred years ago. What is most in danger is civilization; humans are tough enough for breeding pairs to survive, and Gaia is toughest of all. What we are doing weakens her but is unlikely to destroy her. She has survived numerous catastrophes in her three billion years or more of life.
— James E. Lovelock
In The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis & The Fate of Humanity (2006, 2007), 76-77.
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The entire range of living matter on Earth from whales to viruses and from oaks to algae could be regarded as constituting a single living entity capable of maintaining the Earth’s atmosphere to suit its overall needs and endowed with faculties and powers far beyond those of its constituent parts.
— James E. Lovelock
In Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth (1979), 9.
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The great rapidity with which we add carbon gases to the air is as damaging as is the quantity.
— James E. Lovelock
From Lecture at the Royal Society, 'Climate Change on a Living Earth' (29 Oct 2007). As quoted on jameslovelock.org website.
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The idea that humans are yet intelligent enough to serve as stewards of the Earth is among the most hubristic ever.
— James E. Lovelock
In The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis & The Fate of Humanity (2006, 2007), 195.
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The idea that the Earth is alive may be as old as humankind. The ancient Greeks gave her the powerful name Gaia and looked on her as a goddess.
— James E. Lovelock
In 'The Earth as a Living Organism', Essay collected in E. O. Wilson and F. M. Peter (eds.), Biodiversity (1988), Chap. 56, 488. [Lovelock gave the name Gaia to Earth’s self-regulation of its own material conditions and requirements akin to a living organism. —Webmaster
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This false belief that we own the Earth, or are its stewards, allow us to pay lip service to environmental policies and programmes but to continue with business as usual.
— James E. Lovelock
In The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis & The Fate of Humanity (2006, 2007), 173.
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Unfortunately, we are a species with schizoid tendencies, and like an old lady who has to share her house with a growing and destructive group of teenagers, Gaia grows angry, and if they do not mend their ways she will evict them.
— James E. Lovelock
In The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis & The Fate of Humanity (2006, 2007), 60.
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Until that afternoon, my thoughts on planetary atmospheres had been wholly concerned with atmospheric analysis as a method of life detection and nothing more. Now that I knew the composition of the Martian atmosphere was so different from that of our own, my mind filled with wonderings about the nature of the Earth. If the air is burning, what sustains it at a constant composition? I also wondered about the supply of fuel and the removal of the products of combustion. It came to me suddenly, just like a flash of enlightenment, that to persist and keep stable, something must be regulating the atmosphere and so keeping it at its constant composition. Moreover, if most of the gases came from living organisms, then life at the surface must be doing the regulation.
— James E. Lovelock
Homage to Gaia: The Life of an Independent Scholar (2000), 253.
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We are already farming more than the Earth can afford, and if we attempt to farm the whole Earth to feed people, even with organic farming, it would make us like sailors who burnt the timbers and rigging of their ship to keep warm.
— James E. Lovelock
In The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis & The Fate of Humanity (2006, 2007), 15-16.
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We are no more qualified to be the stewards or developers of the Earth than are goats to be gardeners.
— James E. Lovelock
In The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis & The Fate of Humanity (2006, 2007), 176.
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We are the intelligent elite among animal life on earth and whatever our mistakes, [Earth] needs us. This may seem an odd statement after … the way 20th century humans became almost a planetary disease organism. But it has taken [Earth] 2.5 billion years to evolve an animal that can think and communicate its thoughts. If we become extinct she has little chance of evolving another.
— James E. Lovelock
In The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning (2010), 28.
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We belong to the family of Gaia and are like a revolting teenager, intelligent and with great potential, but far too greedy and selfish for our own good.
— James E. Lovelock
In The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis & The Fate of Humanity (2006, 2007), 197.
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We have to stop thinking of human needs and rights alone. Let us be brave and see that the real threat comes from the living earth, which we have harmed and is now at war with us.
— James E. Lovelock
From speech to International Conference, Paris, 'Nuclear Energy for the 21st Century', (21–22 Mar 2005). As quoted on jameslovelock.org website.
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We live at a time when emotions and feelings count more than truth, and there is a vast ignorance of science.
— James E. Lovelock
In The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis & The Fate of Humanity (2006, 2007), 16.
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We live on a live planet that can respond to the changes we make, either by cancelling the changes or by cancelling us.
— James E. Lovelock
In The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis & The Fate of Humanity (2006, 2007), 21.
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We must stop fretting over the minute statistical risks of cancer from chemicals or radiation. Almost a third of us will die of cancer anyway, mainly because we breathe air laden with that all pervasive carcinogen, oxygen.
— James E. Lovelock
In The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis & The Fate of Humanity (2006, 2007), 15.
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When an accident at sea releases huge volumes of crude oil onto beaches, rocks and coves we see it as an environmental disaster, and not long ago we tried vainly to wash it away with detergents. Now, with greater common sense, we leave the clean-up to the natural organisms that regard the spillage as food.
— James E. Lovelock
In The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis & The Fate of Humanity (2006, 2007), 92.
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When we burn fossil fuel for energy we are, in qualitative terms, doing nothing more wrong than burning wood. Our wrongdoing, if that is an appropriate term, is taking energy from Gaia hundreds of times faster than it is naturally made available. We are sinning in a quantitative not a qualitative way.
— James E. Lovelock
In The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis & The Fate of Humanity (2006, 2007), 92.
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You could quite seriously look at climate change as a response of the system designed — well, ‘de- signed’ would be a very dangerous word to use — intended to get rid of an irritating species: us humans. Or at least cut them back to size.
— James E. Lovelock
As told to and quoted in Jeff Goodell, How to Cool the Planet: Geoengineering and the Audacious Quest to Fix Earth’s Climate (2010), 92.
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Younger scientists cannot freely express their opinions without risking their ability to apply for grants or publish papers. Much worse than this, few of them can now follow that strange and serendipitous path that leads to deep discovery. They are not constrained by political or theological tyrannies, but by the ever-clinging hands of the jobsworths that form the vast tribe of the qualified but hampering middle management and the safety officials that surround them.
— James E. Lovelock
In The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis & The Fate of Humanity (2006, 2007), 93.
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Quotes by others about James E. Lovelock (2)

If Lovelock hadn’t detected those CFCs [in the atmosphere above Antarctica] we’d all be living under the ocean in snorkels and fins to escape that poisonous sun.
As quoted in Jeff Goodell, How to Cool the Planet: Geoengineering and the Audacious Quest to Fix Earth’s Climate (2010), 95. Goodell noted that Nobel Prize-winning scientists Rowland and Molina hypothesized that sunlight split apart CFC molecules, releasing reactive chlorine atoms, that would burn a hole in the protective ozone layer of the atmosphere, increasing danger from more ultraviolet light penetrating to the earth. When the ozone hole was experimentally verified over Antarctica, the potential destruction to the planet on a grand scale was realized, CFCs were banned, and ozone depletion was halted. Rowland and Molina shared a 1995 Nobel Prize. Although earlier, Lovelock had recognized “no conceivable hazard” from CFCs in the earth’s atmosphere, he was nevertheless the first to detect them in the atmosphere over Antarctica. For this critical evidence, Lovelock was at least mentioned in the Nobel Prize press release.
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Contact means the exchange of specific knowledge, ideas, or at least of findings, definite facts. But what if no exchange is possible? If an elephant is not a giant microbe, the ocean is not a giant brain.
As translated from the French by Joanna Kilmartin and Steve Cox, in Solaris (2002), 145.
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See also:
  • 26 Jul - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Lovelock's birth.
  • Gaia, by James E. Lovelock. - book suggestion.
  • Booklist by James Lovelock.

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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