4 how do principles of system theory apply to the

This preview shows page 2 out of 2 pages.

4. How do principles of system theory apply to the Earth as a living system? Explain interactions between humans and natural ecosystems. The idea of a living Earth can be traced back at least to Roman times in the writing of Lucretius. James Hutton, whose theory of uniformitarianism was discussed earlier, stated in 1785 that he believed Earth to be a superorganism, and he compared the cycling of nutrients from soils and rocks in streams and rivers to the circulation of blood in an animal. In this metaphor, the rivers are the arteries and veins, the forests are the lungs, and the oceans are the heart of Earth. The Gaia hypothesis is really a series of hypotheses. The first is that life, since its inception, has greatly affected the planetary environment. Few scientists would disagree. The second hypothesis asserts that life has altered Earth's environment in ways that have allowed life to persist. Certainly, there is some evidence that life has had such an effect on Earth's climate. A popularized extension of the Gaia hypothesis is that life deliberately (consciously) controls the global environment. Few scientists accept this idea. The extended Gaia hypothesis may have merit in the future, however. We have become conscious of our effects on the planet, some of which influence future changes in the global environment. Thus, the concept that we can consciously make a difference in the future of our planet is not as extreme a view as many once thought. The future status of the human environment may depend in part on actions we take now and in coming years . Reference: WILEY PLUS: Botkin, D. B., & Keller, E. A. (2011). Environmental science: Earth as a living planet (8th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Plus.
Image of page 2
You've reached the end of this preview.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern