“The basic pattern of life is a network. Whenever you see life, you see networks. The whole planet, what we can term ‘Gaia’ is a network of processes involving feedback tubes. Humans are part of the larger whole, Gaia.” -Fritjof Capra
hen studying Earth’s global biosphere, Lynn Margulis and James Lovelock recognized that it has certain qualities of a life form. Many of Earth’s life‐sustaining elements display phenomenal stability, dynamic equilibrium and self-regulation, known in biology as ‘homeostasis’. The temperature range of the climate; the oxygen content of the atmosphere; the chemistry and salinity of the ocean — all of these are biologically mediated. All have, for hundreds of millions of years, stayed within a range conducive to life.
Lovelock and Margulis hypothesized that the totality of life is interacting with its environment in ways that regulate these global properties. They realized that Earth is, in a sense, a living organism. They named this creature Gaia after the ancient Greek Earth goddess.