Posts Tagged ‘earth’

Dr. James E. Lovelock, 1996

October 7, 2009


The true opposite of a reductionist

The Prize Jury´s citation:

The Volvo Environment Prize for 1996 is awarded to Dr. James E. Lovelock, F.R.S., for his invention of the Electron Capture and Photo-ionisation Detectors, nowadays indispensable tools in modern analytical chemistry and essential for the recognition and measurement of minute traces of pollutant substances and other chemical compounds in the environment

Doomsday Pending? James Lovelock on The Hour, 27 May 2009

Lovelock’s scientific contributions, beginning with his early work in the medical sciences, is particularly rooted in two, as it would first appear, unrelated scientific fields: instrumental engineering and biochemistry. An important part of his work has been inventions. In total, Lovelock has filed more than 30 patents, mostly for detectors for use in chemical analysis. He worked with NASA in their preparations for the first lunar landing. NASA wanted Lovelock to design a device to detect if there might be substances dangerous to man on the surface of the moon.  It was while working as a consultant for NASA that Lovelock developed the Gaia Hypothesis, for which he is most widely known.

Lovelock invented the electron capture detector, which ultimately assisted in discoveries about the persistence of CFCs and their role in stratospheric ozone depletion. After studying the operation of the Earth’s sulfur cycle, Lovelock and his colleagues developed the CLAW hypothesis as a possible example of biological control of the Earth’s climate.

Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring in 1962 had a massive impact on the environmental debate and movement. It is not equally well known that James Lovelock’s invention the Electron Capture Detector was used by scientists to reveal the core information, on the distribution of pesticide residues and other halogen-bearing chemicals, of the book.

Gaia hypothesis
Author of the GAIA theory, named after Gaya greek godess of the world, which states that life on Earth functions as a single organism. Basically Lovelock says that the earth is one giant interdependent living system that regulates itself. It keeps chemical levels temperature and other conditions optimal to keep life going. Until the humans came along…

Lovelock is also renowned for supporting nuclear power as a way of cutting carbon emissions

Lovelock is an independent scientist working out of a lab in Cornwall, England, that used to be a barn. For years he has been sounding the alarm on climate change.
New book: The vanishing face of Gaya: A final warning

“We have passed the point of no return. We have reached a point where civilization itself is threatened and we have no one to blame but our own ignorance and greed.”

 On his work at the National Institute of Medical Research:
“Physicists, chemists, biologists and medical scientists talked and planned together in the coffeeroom or the cafeteria. For a while the institute was a fertile island of creativity in a sea of mediocracy…At the institute it was the tradition of those days never to read the literature, especially not textbooks. Senior scientists warned that our job was to make the literature, not read it, which was a recipe that worked well for me. Had I read the literature on ionization phenomena in gases before doing my experiments, I would have been hopelessly discouraged and confused. Instead I just experimented.”

More information:
Read more on James Lovelocks facinating life as an independent scientist & environmentalist and about the Gaia theory:

Professor Paul R. Ehrlich, 1993

September 26, 2009

banner1993Paul R. Ehrlich is Bing Professor of Population Studies and professor of biology at Stanford University and a fellow of the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics. Starting in the mid 1960s, Ehrlich has been a very productive author of professional papers and popular articles on different aspects on humankind’s environmental predicament.

Ehrlich has been tireless in presenting both to the scientific world and to the general public and politicians his well-founded concern for our common future. He has worked through popular presentations, scientific papers, and hundreds of lectures. He has focused on questions of environmental degradation, natural resource limitations, population growth, and development processes, especially highlighting the interface between scientific enquiry and societal values. He has taken the environmental cause into the wider public sphere through frequent appearances on television and radio. He is also an active leader in a number of non-governmental organizations and citizen groups.

The Bomb
His well-known book “The Population Bomb” from 1968  has sold more than 3 million copies and been translated into several languages.  The concept of the book was that the excessive population growth is inseparably connected with natural resource depletion and environmental degradation. These are three interlinked problems that can only be confronted together. In 1968, this was a very radical idea.
In the book he predicted that “In the 1970s and 1980s . . . hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.”

The Popular Explosion: This sequel to Paul Ehrlich’s 1968 landmark best-seller The Population Bomb examines the critical choices we face today and proposes an agenda for the 1990s to avoid global ecocide. The Population Explosion vividly describes how the Earth’s population, growing by 95 million people a year, is rapidly depleting the planet’s resources, resulting in famine, global warming, acid rain, and other major problems.

The Dominant Animal: In 2008 Paul and Anne Ehrlich publiched “The Dominant Animal” that explores why we are creating a world that threatens our own species and what we can we do to change the current trajectory toward more climate change, increased famine, and epidemic disease.

Ehrlich has been frequently criticized for venturing into professional fields other than that of his background training, and his research findings have been hotly contested by his professional peers on numerous occasions. But his conclusions have been confirmed through experience until they have become part of mainstream scientific thinking. For instance, The Population Bomb was roundly criticized at the U.N. population conference in Bucharest in 1974, but its  message was broadly accepted at the next population conference in Mexico City 10 years later.

Paul Ehrich Blogg:

Volvo Environment Prize presenting laureates

September 1, 2009
Some of the winners


Starting September 8, 2009. Volvo Environment Prize will present its 36 distinguished laureates.

Until then please visit the official web site: