Our Blue Earth

April 11, 2013 at 8:57 pm | Posted in Media, Nature, Science | Leave a comment

Awhile back, I wrote about a TED talk that framed “Earth” as a dark ages term. That we lived on an ocean planet and there’s far more life in the water than on land. How land is a 2D flatland while the ocean is 3D.

It was a cool talk. Similar references have more actively suggested a name change for the planet. From space, we are indeed a blue planet. However, we’re still talking surface appearances. Under all that water is more earth. And there remains more earth than water. But that’s just the crust, like the skin of an apple. Even deeper is the mantle made of viscous rock. The earth’s crust is just the solidified surface of that. The mantle makes up 84% of the earth’s volume. Would it be a better representation?

And then there’s Lovelock’s Gaia theory that shows that organisms interact with their inorganic surroundings on Earth to form a self-regulating, complex system that contributes to maintaining the conditions for life on the planet. Our oxygen-rich atmosphere is one example. The name Gaia is Greek, from the goddess or personification of the earth as the mother of all.

Perhaps that’s the best idea of all. Gaia recognizes the earth as a whole interdependent system that supports life. A useful reminder for all of us.
David

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