Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky & the Gaia Theory

In the last post, I introduced Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky (link to a brief bio), the Russian scientist whose pioneering work, unnoticed by James Lovelock when he first proposed the Gaia hypothesis, forms the basis for much of our understanding of the biosphere, what it really is, and how the region of the biosphere is the key to understanding Gaia.  In this post I will explore some of Vernadsky’s ideas, based on his book, The Biosphere, first published in Moscow, in 1926. … Read more

Global Thinking & the Gaia Theory

In 1989 I met Dr. Anatoly Zaklebyney, professor of environmental science education, the Russian Academy of Education, Moscow. I was working with American and Russian teachers on a project that had emerged from teacher and researcher exchanges that I directed for the Association for Humanistic Psychology.

Dr. Anatoly Zaklebny explains  to American & Russian Global Thinking Project students in Moscow that the Earth is a single system as depicted in the Vernadsky's ideas.

Dr. Zakglebny explaining to American & Russian Global Thinking Project students in Moscow that the Earth is a single system as depicted by Vernadsky.

Our project in Russia was organized by the Russian Academy of Education, and it was through that connection that Anatoly and I met and became close friends.… Read more

The Gaia Theory: Its Origins & Implications

The Gaia Theory was the result of collaboration between the British scientist, James Lovelock, and the American biologist, Lynn Margulis. They proposed the Gaia “hypothesis” in their 1974 paper entitled Atmospheric homeostasis by and for the biosphere: the Gaia hypothesis and was published in Tellus, Volume 26.

According to the Gribbin’s account, Lovelock and Margulis first met at a conference at Princeton University in 1968. It was at this conference that Lovelock presented his idea of the “earth system.” At the time Margulis was a professor of biology at Boston University and was married to Carl Sagan.… Read more

The Gaia Theory: Implications for Science Teaching

I returned this week from a two week trip to Texas, and waiting for me in the mail was a book I had pre-ordered from Amazon.  The title of the book is James Lovelock: In Search of Gaia, and it was written by John Gribbin & Mary Gribbin.  Here’s what the book is about:

In 1972, when James Lovelock first proposed the Gaia hypothesis–the idea that the Earth is a living organism that maintains conditions suitable for life–he was ridiculed by the scientific establishment.

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Paradigm shifts: Education about, in and for the environment

Education about, in, and for the environment represent three different paradigms useful in helping us view environmental education and environmental science programs and activities.  Based on research by Rachel Michel (1996), these three paradigms can briefly be described as follows:

  • Education about the environment is viewed as an approach in which information about the environment (concepts, facts, information) is transmitted by teacher to students. This approach reinforces traditional methods of teaching including lectures, reconstructive laboratory activities, and the recall of information.
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