The Gaia Principle and The Great Turning


Aerial photo of river deltas. We have ecosystems inside of us. Can we remember that we are this awesome, and that earth is this precious?

By Devi Peri

In the early 1970’s a British chemist named James Lovelock, supported by microbiologist Lynn Margulis, developed the Gaia Principle, named after the ancient Greek goddess of the Earth.  They postulated that the Earth is not just dead rock, soil and water.  It is a living, self-regulating system with organisms interacting with their inorganic surroundings to maintain and perpetuate the conditions for life on the planet. The Gaia Principle proposes that the living system of Earth can be thought of as analogous to the workings of our human bodies or of any organism that self-regulates body temperature, blood salinity, etc. For example, the ocean is Gaia’s heart and the rivers are her circulatory system.  Her forests are her respiratory system helping circulate oxygen and carbon.

We each have these amazing, self-regulating human Earth bodies, which are an integral part of the larger Earth body, Gaia.   An extended belief of the theory of Gaia is that like each of us, Earth, or Gaia, has a spirit and a consciousness. It is a living, evolving process that we are all a part of.  And as we get more intimate with Nature, and realize we are part of it, intertwined with All and Everything, then we get more intimate with our own True Nature.

Some people believe that humans are like the nervous system of Gaia since we play such a big role in harming or healing her.  Right now we’re still in the period of humanity that Buddhist scholar and deep ecology pioneer, Joanna Macy, calls “The Industrial Growth Society” which has gotten out of hand like a cancerous growth, destroying the health of its host.  However, we are getting closer and closer to a “tipping point” in which we may be able to experience “the Great Turning”, as Macy calls it.  The Great Turning is a global awakening to the dis-ease of our planet; an awakening to a love of all Life and the belief that our actions can heal our planet. “Scientists have found that when just 10 percent of the population holds an unshakable belief, their belief will always be adopted by the majority of the society.” (“Tipping point” definition from wikipedia)

The intention of my work is to contribute to healing our world through encouraging more love of all Life and more awareness of our interconnectedness in the Web of Life. As more and more of us humans learn to pay more attention to the ripple effects of our thoughts and actions, and learn to listen to the messages of our bodies and hearts… we just may hit the tipping point and experience the Great Turning!


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