Workshop on 'Gaia Theory' Comes to Arlington

(Saturday, September 30, 2006 11:36 AM EDT)
The Gaia Theory - sounds a little spacey, doesn't it?

Spacey or not, nationally acclaimed scientists, local teachers, academics and earth conscious residents will unite Oct. 14-15 at a conference on the theory at George Mason University Law School in Arlington.

Named by author William Golding after Gaia, Greek goddess of Earth, the Gaia Theory sees the Earth as a system that self-regulates itself for survival. Just as the human body adjusts to its surroundings (perspiring in order to cool down in the heat is one example), Earth adjusts and adapts to its environment as a collective unit.

“We're not just living things on a rock,” said Martin Ogle, conference organizer and chief naturalist at Potomac Overlook Regional Park. “We're things living as a system.”

The theory doesn't specifically prescribe solutions to environmental issues like global warming, but the ideas it posits allow us to respond better, Ogle said.

“It's provided us a new context for research,” he said.

The theory has raised scientists' eyebrows in years past, but recently has gained more credibility in the scientific community.

“It's considered ‘new-agey' because of its name, but now scientists are realizing it's a robust science,” Ogle said.

More than 20 Gaia Theory experts, including area scientists, are scheduled to speak. In addition to lectures, the conference will include talks connecting the theory with poetry, ethics, Native American philosophy and politics. Musician Paul Winter will perform in concert.

Ogle has been actively involved with the Gaia Theory for more than 10 years, and has made the theory the theme at Potomac Overlook Regional Park this year.

For information, see the Web site

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