The Whims of Gaia
“Vows made in storms are forgotten in calm.” – Thomas Fuller
With a limited understanding of how the universe worked, ancient civilizations relied on mythmaking, storytelling, and the deification of much of their surroundings to cope with life’s unpredictable nature. If otherwise random events could be ascribed to a god, there stood the potential to impact the course of those events through ritual, prayer, and sacrifice. With its hand heavy on the plight of humanity, no phenomenon attracted more deification than the weather, and nearly all primeval cultures ascribed swings in climate to divine intervention. From rain dancing to human sacrifice, the historical record is populated with various societies unwilling to leave the weather to pure chance.
The modern use of the phrase “Mother Nature” can be traced back to the Greek goddess Gaia, the personification of the Earth. Considered the mother of all creation, Gaia is often portrayed as fiercely protective of her children – messing with Mother Nature is not something to be done lightly, lest you be prepared to suffer her wrath.
With the progress of science, humanity’s ability to harvest massive supplies of energy to do purposeful work, and our ever-increasing understanding of agricultural technology, the role of mythology has mostly been relegated to entertainment.
Mostly, but not entirely.
When challengers to the climate change dogma refer to it as a religion, there is some truth to the matter. An entire field of climate “research” is based on the belief that the planet itself can best be modeled as a single living, self-regulating entity, a hypothesis that has unironically been adorned with Mother Nature’s name (emphasis added throughout):
“The Gaia hypothesis, named after the ancient Greek goddess of Earth, posits that Earth and its biological systems behave as a huge single entity. This entity has closely controlled self-regulatory negative feedback loops that keep the conditions on the planet within boundaries that are favorable to life. Introduced in the early 1970s, the idea was conceived by chemist and inventor James E. Lovelock and biologist Lynn Margulis. This new way of looking at global ecology and evolution differs from the classical picture of ecology as a biological response to a menu of physical conditions.”
Out of respect for the fact that Mr. Lovelock recently passed away on his 103rd birthday in July, we’ll refrain from roasting his “hypothesis” too harshly, except to say that unfalsifiable ones may find a home in religious or philosophical debate, but they are not the stuff of science, no matter how many prestigious awards, notable academy memberships, and lucrative research grants come your way for putting them forward.
While we’re in the land of faith masquerading as science, let’s check in on some of the most devout fundamentalists of climate theology – the German Greens. Having maneuvered their fellow compatriots into a position of praying to the weather gods as their last, best option, early indications are that Gaia has delivered at least a temporary salvation. What is the current state of the European energy crisis, what lessons, if any, will be learned from this shattering experience, and what is the outlook for 2023 and beyond? Let’s dig in.