Controversial Global Warming Theory to Be Explored in Upcoming Conference

Posted: September 20, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Tara Laskowski

A theory that’s been heating up the scientific world lately – the Gaia Theory – is coming to Mason next month. The theory, which states that the Earth is a self-regulating system operating as a single living system, explores global warming and has influenced ideas about the design of economic, energy, social and governmental systems.

Its founder, James Lovelock, has stirred up controversy in the scientific world with his dire predictions of rapid global warming and his statements that the population will need to migrate close to the Arctic in the next few decades or so.

But despite some radical aspects, the theory has already inspired ideas and practical applications for climate research, energy and economic systems, policy, new scientific inquiry and other valuable work.

Gaia Theory logo

On October 14-15 at the Arlington Campus, curious researchers, scientists and other members of the community can attend a conference on the theory. Though Lovelock himself will not attend, he will participate via a video prepared for the event.

Speakers include Lynn Margulis, distinguished university professor of geosciences at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Margulis was the earliest proponent of Lovelock’s Gaia Theory, and her theories on microbiological evolution are internationally accepted as the new standard of the field.

Other speakers are Tyler Volk, codirector of the Program in Earth and Environmental Science at New York University; Donald Aitken, principal of Donald Aitken Associates; and environmental ethicist, J. Baird Callicott.

Menas Kafatos, dean of Mason’s College of Science, will present “Is the Earth Responding to Human-Induced Changes? A Critical Examination of Natural Hazards.”

The conference is sponsored by the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority in conjunction with George Mason and many other organizations. Visit for more information.

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