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Gaia scientist under attack

WA | 30.07.2010 17:12 | Ecology | South Coast

THE SCIENTIST behind the Gaia concept came under attack at a meeting in Sussex on Thursday July 29.

James Lovelock is already a controversial figure in the environmental movement because of his support for nuclear power, but for one speaker the problem goes a lot deeper than that.
Eco-anarchist Paul Cudenec explained to the Worthing Alliance meeting at The Jolly Brewers pub in the seaside town that Lovelock argued everything humans did was all part of the life of Gaia and thus ‘natural’, so people did not need to take any corrective action.
He quoted Lovelock’s original Gaia book in which he wrote: “In a sensible world, industrial waste would not be banned but put to good use. The negative, unconstructive response of prohibition by law seems as idiotic as legislating against the emission of dung from cows.”
Cudenec said this reminded him of the title of a book on industrial PR firms – ‘Toxic Sludge is Good For You’ - and Lovelock’s logic meant the BP oil spill or the new Tesco store built near Titnore Woods in Durrington could also be described as natural.
He added: “They’re only natural in the same way as cancer is natural.”
Cudenec explained that in his opinion it was the role of responsible human beings to act as ‘antibodies’, as the Earth’s immune system, to defeat the cancer inflicted on the living planet by other humans.
No other species was in a position to do anything about it, he said.
But Lovelock, by telling his environmentally conscious readers they didn’t need to lift a finger to save the planet, was effectively trying to disable that immune system.
Cudenec’s talk about his new ‘Antibodies’ pamphlet was followed by a question and answer session.
One participant expressed fears that Cudenec’s emphasis on collective well-being might be seen as devaluing the rights of individuals and this sparked a thoughtful general discussion.
Worthing Alliance’s next meeting is at the Jolly Brewers in Clifton Road, Worthing, on Thursday August 26, 8pm. Paul Cudenec has a blog at