Aardvark Daily

New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

Content copyright © 1995 - 2019 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at

Please visit the sponsor!
Please visit the sponsor!

Is this Gaia?

28 June 2019

To quote Wikipedia, Gaia is the ancestral mother of all life: the primal Mother Earth goddess.

This is also the title sometimes given to the survival instinct of the ecosphere as a whole in the belief that any imbalance in that ecosphere will eventually be eliminated by Gaia and harmony restored.

Perhaps another name for Gaia should be "the balance of nature".

We know that when a prey species enjoys a population explosion, the resulting predator species will follow suit and this quickly results in a reduction of the former.

Likewise, even without a suitable predator species to keep populations in check, any species that creates an imbalance due to its numbers will also eventually be brought back into balance by an exhaustion of its food source.

These are the forces that have kept the planet ticking along quite nicely for many millions of years.

And then man came along...

We've posed a bit of a challenge to Gaia because we've sidestepped some of the simpler rules which have maintained the balance of nature.

We have no natural predators -- having developed strategies and weapons to protect ourselves from the wild animals that may have hunted our early ancestors. One of those strategies has been to all but eradicate some predatory species such that they no longer exist or are on the endangered list.

That's not supposed to happen.

We've also exempted ourselves (for the time-being) from the effects of a limited food supply. This has been done by terraforming the planet through extensive agriculture in such a way that we now feed many times more people than would otherwise have been even remotely possible.

By doing all this, mankind has become the single biggest threat to the ecosphere and I suspect that Gaia is not best pleased.

One thing about the balance of nature is that it adapts. It may take a long time, but it does adapt.

Right now, mankind has (according to some) become a blight on the planet. We pollute its landscape and air, we consume inordinate amounts of resource, we waste energy and our activities are causing near-irreversible climate change.

How will Gaia fight back?

How will the balance be restored?

Perhaps by way of things like this.

We, as a species, thought ourselves pretty damned smart when we discovered antibiotics. One of the biggest killers, bacterial infections and diseases, was at last conquered... or so we thought.

It wasn't long before Gaia responded by coming up with anti-biotic-resistant strains of infectious bacteria and it's starting to look as if we're heading back to square one in many cases with new generations of "superbugs" being immune to our technologies. Balance restored!

The appearance of drug-resistant fungal pathogens such as C.auris are another clear indicator that the planet is fighting back against mankind's attempts to upset the balance and this time we don't seem to have any immediate response in hand.

As a species we need not fear eradication however. Balance requires control, not elimination.

As with any Darwinian-driven change, some of the species will have a natural resistance to these pathogens so although it's possible we could see some pretty horrific pandemics which wipe out significant percentages of the world's population, some will survive and become stronger due to their inherent immunity.

The only real worry is that Gaia acts too late and the balance is not restored in time to avert the massive pan-global climate crisis that some say will be the end of mankind.

What do you say? Is this all just airy-fairy hogwash?

Or is the concept of Gaia very real and absolutely essential to the preservation of life on planet Earth?

Please visit the sponsor!
Please visit the sponsor!

Have your say in the Aardvark Forums.

PERMALINK to this column

Rank This Aardvark Page


Change Font

Sci-Tech headlines



The EZ Battery Reconditioning scam

Beware The Alternative Energy Scammers

The Great "Run Your Car On Water" Scam


Recent Columns

The hysteria takes its toll
It's less than six weeks to Christmas but there is one gift that won't be as popular this year as it has been in years-past...

Something strange is happening on Mars
Everyone loves a good mystery...

Talking of weather
If you ever need to strike up a conversation with someone but have no shared interests then the subject of weather is often a good place to start...

The dependency trap
No, this isn't a column about the evils of welfare handouts...

Google/YouTube have done it again
Hands up everyone who remembers Google+, aka G+...

Social media disasters
Yesterday I wrote about my disappointing experiences with Noel Leeming's online chat and price-match service...

Noel Leeming, could do better!
I've spent a few grand with Noel Leeming (NL) in recent years...

Oh the irony
Last night was Guy Fawkes night here in Godzone...

Busting Scammers
I love debunking and busting scams. It's one of the best games on the internet...

The curse of immortality
I'm starting this week with a thought experiment that has significant ethical and moral implications...

Mayor Jenny Shattock
Regular readers will know that I've had more than a few altercations and disagreements with the local South Waikato District Council...