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Gaia 2.0 — could humans add some level of self-awareness to Earth’s self-regulation?

Bruno Latour

According to Lovelock and Margulis’s Gaia hypothesis, living things are part of a planetary-scale selfregulating system that has maintained habitable conditions for the past 3.5 billion years (1, 2). Gaia has operated without foresight or planning on the part of organisms, but the evolution of humans and their technology are changing that. Earth has now entered a new epochcalled the Anthropocene (3), and humans are beginning to become aware of the global consequences of their actions. As a result, deliberate self-regulation—from personal action to global geoengineering schemes—is either happening or imminently possible. Making such conscious choices to operate within Gaia constitutes a fundamental new state of Gaia, which we call Gaia 2.0. By emphasizin g the agency of life-forms and their ability to set goals, Gaia 2.0 may be an effective framework for fostering global sustainability. [First paragraph]