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The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  488 Ratings  ·  76 Reviews
In The Vanishing Face of Gaia, British scientist James Lovelock predicts global warming will lead to a Hot Epoch. Lovelock is best known for formulating the controversial Gaia theory in the 1970s, with Ruth Margulis of the University of Massachusetts, which states that organisms interact with and regulate Earth's surface and atmosphere. We ignore this interaction at our pe ...more
Audiobook, Unabridged Digital Download, 1 page
Published August 11th 2011 by Post Hypnotic Press Inc. (first published January 1st 2009)
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Jan 28, 2010 Gordon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
James Lovelock writes very scary books. Since the 1960’s, he has been warning that we are abusing the planet and that we do so at our peril. Now, at the age of 90, this British scientist has written what is likely to be his last book, with ominous sub-title of “A Final Warning”.

Lovelock believes that our current population of nearly seven billion is completely unsustainable, and that we are about to see a catastrophic plunge in our numbers, likely to something under one billion. In fact, he says
Apr 28, 2009 Justin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Vanishing Face of Gaia is my first exposure to James Lovelock’s work and is my first in-depth reading of a work about Gaia theory, the idea that the Earth is a self-regulating organism. Environmentalists and New Age movements speak of the earth being alive and this perspective is often lumped with Gaia theory to discredit the concept. The origination of Gaia in the 1960’s didn’t win any skeptics over either. Sadly, mainstream science has sidelined Lovelock’s ideas for the last 30 years, gain ...more
May 05, 2014 Dan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is well written, if confused book. I find the author's arguments twisted in a strange way, but there is a certain logic to them. James Lovelock (eminent scientist who championed Gaia Theory), certainly makes a good case that we are on a path to destruction, but at the same time he derides environmentalism, once even to the point of endorsing the use of DDT and the use of other harmful pesticides. On the one hand he says that preserving Gaia (the planet as an Eco-sphere), with or without the ...more
Jan 11, 2010 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lovelock convinced me that a holistic approach towards earth science is preferable to the narrow, reductive views held by many of the established scientists who rely on models that only account for factors within their areas of study. I was also somewhat skeptical about the net benefits of such "green" energy sources like biofuels, wind power, and solar cells before reading this book, but Lovelock pushed me firmly into the enemy camp. Too many bandwagon enthusiasts fail to calculate the overall ...more
+ Síkra száll az atomenergia démonizálása ellen, yaaaaay!
+ "Bolygómérnöki" ötletek a klímaváltozás megállítására, a kvótarendszer meg a nagyonzöld szélturbinák helyett.
+ Alapvető jó szándék.

- Nekem ez az egész Gaia-hipotézis sántít. Mivel nem vagyok szakértő, csak intuitív alapon sántít, de akkor is.
- Lovelock csapongó, naiv sztorizgatásai.
- Nagy-Britannia, mint a világ közepe és a klímamenekültek mentsvára, amit majd megkímél a klímaváltozás. Aha.
William Thorsen
Rating: 4 out of 5

In one of the most indelible images from the documentary film An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore mounts a scissor lift to demonstrate the dizzying scale of the global warming trend. That scary chart showed, as no table of figures could, the sheer magnitude of the problem we face.

Awareness of climate change has increased since then, and “cap and trade”, “carbon footprint”, and even “carbon capture and sequestration” have entered the lawmaker’s lexicon. But the average citizen has mo
Apr 02, 2017 Dorotea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book is 80% narrative about the author's life and 20% science. If it were the other way around I would have given it five stars.
Pete daPixie
Feb 17, 2011 Pete daPixie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: green
Now in his 90's, is this to be the final book of his Gaia series? 'The Vanishing Face of Gaia-A Final Warning', published in 2009, is as stark as the title suggests. Just last Saturday, I was doing my Greenpeace activist duty, and putting stickers on tins of tuna in local supermarkets. Even under the noses of staff members and customers, as we stuck Greenpeace labels declaring 'This product kills more than tuna', we were completely ignored. Maybe the staff and customers of Asda and Morrisons hav ...more
Jan 06, 2014 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I give you Lovelock's unflinching and horrifying assessment of the climate crisis, and his closing image in his final chapter of his last book--his final warning that the planet we dwell upon will heat up far faster than most have imagined--with only a few inhabitable oases left to offer any form of refuge to what few survivors will remain:

"Sometime later in this century the survivors may reach a small harbor and dismount from their camels. Moored there they may see a small wooden ship scratchin
This is the first book by Lovelock that I've read. I enjoyed it and was maddened by it in equal measure- Lovelock has a wonderfully clear vision of what is and is not possible to accomplish vis-a-vis climate change, with an admirable focus on adaptation as opposed to remediation, but I suppose his shrugging pragmatism rubs me a bit the wrong way. He does a great job here of tearing apart the "green" ideology that has been foisted on highly consumerized societies in the hopes of making their orth ...more
This no option to "pause" your reading which is annoying.

Have put this aside as Lovelock has a new book out soon, where he essentially goes back on much of what he says here and in his previous book.

The message here is, essentially, WE ARE FUCKED, the climate change we have set in motion is already irreversible and there is nothing we can do to stop it. It will lead to a drastic reduction of life on Earth, including humans, who will be extremely lucky sustain a population of a billion and that i
Mar 12, 2012 Hokomoko rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book disturbed me more than any I've read I think. It offers a terribly bleak prospect for our future. Lovelock's grim insight that we individually and collectively will do nothing in time to prevent or even reduce this fate is almost too much to bear. The writing itself offers a series of insights into the nature and purpose of life on Earth. Essentially, each living being past, present and future contribute to maintaining, changing and participating in the collective life of the planet. O ...more
May 17, 2017 Marina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Non mi ha soddisfatta come il primo libro scritto da Lovelock (Gaia). Le sue affermazioni sulle conseguenze e le cause del surriscaldamento terrestre erano già state sviluppate nel primo testo. Questo ultimo libro é un po' una ripetizione. Gli argomenti nuovi riguardano le sue opinioni personali su come la Gran Bretagna può affrontare questa modificazione globale. Secondo l'autore occorre usufruire delle centrali atomiche come fonte energetica, e ne spiega i motivi. Quanto alle cause che ci hann ...more
Todd Martin
James Lovelock is a pretty pessimistic guy. He believes that we should be doing everything within our power to prepare for the devastation that is to come from a planet destabilized by global climate change, which he expects to be worse and sooner than scientists at the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) predict. To get a feel for how very pessimistic he is, Lovelock has been quoted in The Guardian as saying that 80% of humans will perish by 2100 AD due to climate change, and that ...more
An interesting theory unfolds throughout the book. The way it's presented, muddled through repeating arguments on very specific points, like why nuclear is the way to go, makes the message of more parts of the book unclear to me.
Andy Gibb
This is “A Final Warning” from James Lovelock, who first proposed the holistic Gaia hypothesis. He has some quotable stuff: "the breathing and other gaseous emissions (dare I say farts?) of 7 billion people, their pets and livestock are responsible for 23% of greenhouse gas emissions." Add the fuel burnt in providing food for this lot to get to nearly 50%. What chance of the 60% reduction to keep CO2 in check without actually killing something?

We seem to be double screwed because such a reductio

Chris Chester
Reads like the confused environmental treatise of an overly proud scientist who is very set in his ways, with a triumphal tone no doubt borne of the fact that he himself will not have to live with the consequences of the processes he describes.

First thing's first: Gaia. It's such an important notion to this book that it's a little absurd how long he goes without actually defining it, almost as though he assumes you have read all his previous books. It's the notion that biology, geology and atmos
Steve H
May 27, 2014 Steve H rated it liked it
I read this because many other books I've read on climate change reference James Lovelock, and I remember getting a very brief introduction to the Gaia theory back in the 1980s. While this is a somewhat rambling and depressing book, what has stuck with me is his mention of cognitive dissonance, which is basically the practice of trying to mentally reconcile conflicting information. I was experiencing a lot of cognitive dissonance while listening to this book, and I'm still processing what to bel ...more
Matthew Moes
Aug 02, 2011 Matthew Moes rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
I had my introduction to Gaia theory through this "final warning". While reading I began to contrast my experience with reading Huston Smith's memoir. An odd connection perhaps, but the similarity being that Smith and Lovelock are both 90 yr old experts at two opposite ends of the spectrum who could reminisce on the development of their ideas over several decades and the array of colleagues they agreed and disagreed with through the years. In spite of the new age sound, Gaia is not a "spiritual" ...more
Jul 29, 2010 James rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Any scientist who characterises the Earth’s condition in terms of a
patient with an incurable disease can expect a sceptical response.
But when that scientist is the man who first detected ozone-busting
gases in the atmosphere his views can’t be so easily dismissed.

In his latest book, James Lovelock presents a grim vision of the future: an overheated Earth offering a reduced portion of its land surface to diminishing pockets of humanity. But his central point is more terrifying still. Lovelock beli
Beshr Nammouz
الكاتب عالم قدير وباحث سابق بناسا والكتاب ترجمته جيدة وموضوعه العلمي غني ومهم، أنصح بقراءة الكتاب، ينتقد الكاتب سياسة الحكومات في وضع خططها لمواجهة الاحترار العالمي لعدة عقود إلى الأمام بناء على نماذج (آي بي بي سي) وهي منظمة حكومية، ورغم كفاءة هذه الجهة العلمية فإن المعطيات اثبتت أن الاحترار العالمي يزداد بشكل يفوق أكثر السيناريوهات الموضوعة سوءا، وأن السياسة المعتمدة حاليا على وسائل الطاقة المتجدد كالرياح والطاقة الشمسية لن تفيد في تجنب الكارثة القادمة
ويصر الكاتب على خيار الطاقة النووية، التي
Steven Brandt (Audiobook-Heaven)
The Gaia Theory suggests that the planet Earth, and everything that lives on it, is a single, self-regulating organism. The planet, its air and water, and all of its plant and animal life all work together to regulate ocean salinity, oxygen content of the atmosphere, and the global surface temperature, maintaining a balance that is optimal for contemporary life. This far-reaching hypothesis was first developed by James Lovelock in the late 1970’s. Lovelock was met with a great deal of distrust a ...more
John Esterly
Aug 31, 2014 John Esterly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very eye opening book by the father of Gaia theory. Based on what reviews and references I've seen to his other work, I get the feeling this was a much tamer trip into the world of Gaia by Lovelock. He speaks candidly of the present state of our planet, carbon dioxide concentration, polar caps melting, changes in vegetation, and the abundance of human influence on the Gaian system. He believes, and supports with sufficient scientific evidence, that the damage we have done to the plane ...more
Jafar Qasim
"إننا مثل مخمور يقود دبابة حطمنا بالمصادفة عالمنا "

يقوم العالم جيمس لفلوك و بعد سنوات عمره الطويلة بتوجيه صرخة نداء أخيرة لسكان هذه المعمورة ,كنبي وحيد بين جموع الإنكار نجده يدعو الجميع للبدء ببناء سفينة النجاة قبل حدوث إنتقام غايا

لا مجال للتراجع أو العودة فالأرض قد استنزفت ووصلت إلى مرحلة الشيخوخة و قد ضاقت ذرعاً بمرضها العضال المسمى الجنس البشري ,لذا فإنها كعادتها و من أجل الحفاظ على بقائها قامت بإعادة برمجة نظامها الذاتي بتغذية راجعة إيجابية تعمل على توفير ظروف صعبة لعيش بني البشر لكنها تضمن
ジェイムズ・n. パウエル
I give you Lovelock's unflinching and horrifying assessment of the climate crisis, and his closing image in his final chapter of his last book--his final warning that the planet we dwell upon will heat up far faster than most have imagined--with only a few inhabitable oases left to offer any form of refuge to what few survivors will remain:

"Sometime later in this century the survivors may reach a small harbor and dismount from their camels. Moored there they may see a small wooden ship scratchin
May 11, 2015 R.Z. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Whether you have read Lovelock's previous books about Gaia or not, this one is essential for understanding what may be happening to our planet right now. Gaia is the name for the theory that the earth is a living being in and of itself and does what it needs to in order to survive. It is a living self-regulating super-organism. Because humans have proliferated beyond the capacity of the planet to sustain itself, a correction is happening now. The question is: Will we be able to stop it, or will ...more
Jul 19, 2014 Robin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: climate
Lovelock says that the survival of Gaia is more important than the survival of mankind. I contest that. In some abstract sense I understand what he means, but a true gaian would never say so. Only a disgruntled and misanthropic old man who already has said goodbye to the world would do that.

A true gaian would recognize that we humans, with all our instincts, errors, and ideas gone astray are part of Gaia just like a tornado, a virus or a parasite is part of Gaia. A man dismissing the survival o
Lovelock is an intelligent man and often enough he has something interesting and stimulating to say. Unfortunately, I had a feeling that this book was somewhat incoherent. He talks about the dangers of non-linear feedbacks between climate and ecosystems, but then jumps to promoting his Gaia theory and tabulating all sorts of famous poeople he has rubbed shoulders with. I felt that this was a collection of quickly written essays stappled together with an obligatory term "Gaia" added to the title ...more
Ian Russell
Jul 28, 2009 Ian Russell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nature, science
I'd loaned this from the library having already bought the previous one, Revenge of Gaia, quite recently. I'm glad I did, there isn't too much he adds in this that isn't conveyed in the other. Is he keeping the topic on the front burner or using up unecessary dead trees? I favour the former but I didn't want to contribute to the latter.

If you haven't read Revenge of Gaia please treat this as a five star recommendation and go get a copy. I simply give it four stars because I'd read much of it bef
Nov 08, 2012 Dave rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this contains a persuasive argument for interrelatedness in general and that of our planet in particular. it also debunks the cleverness of computer science models particularly regarding climate.lovelock thinks we are already past the point of no return and regards green ideology as misguided and dangerous.
he believes we will soon inhabit a hotter planet needing a lifeboat response. p.239 quoting e o wilson " How unfortunate that the Earth's first intelligent social animal is a tribal carnivor
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

James Ephraim Lovelock, CH, CBE, FRS, is an independent scientist, author, researcher, environmentalist, and futurist who lives in Devon, England. He is known for proposing the Gaia hypothesis, in which he postulates that the Earth functions as a self-regulating system.
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“We are the intelligent elite among animal life on earth and whatever our mistakes, [Earth] needs us. This may seem an odd statement after all that I have said about the way 20th century humans became almost a planetary disease organism. But it has taken [Earth] 2.5 billion years to evolve an animal that can think and communicate its thoughts. If we become extinct she has little chance of evolving another.” 20 likes
“the IPCC now spoke comfortably of consensus and endorsed those mysterious concepts of sustainability and energy that renewed itself. We even thought that this way somehow we could save the planet and grow richer as well, a more pleasing outcome than the uncomfortable truth.” 0 likes
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