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a guiding principle

[T]he entire human community must be joined together through the dynamic of genuine unity in diversity that constitutes a complementary principle of social ecology in human life uniting all people under non-military democratic world government. Only thus can the Gaia principle become a guiding principle for all human political, economic, and social processes. These principles of social ecology are inseparable from the principles of natural ecology. It is necessary to do for humanity what the natural Gaia principle does for nature.

Conceptual Model of the Earth Federation
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Boldly Go

…I saw a cold, dark, black emptiness. It was unlike any blackness you can see or feel on Earth. It was deep, enveloping, all-encompassing. I turned back toward the light of home. I could see the curvature of Earth, the beige of the desert, the white of the clouds and the blue of the sky. It was life. Nurturing, sustaining, life. Mother Earth. Gaia. And I was leaving her…

Everything I had thought was wrong. Everything I had expected to see was wrong. I had thought that going into space would be the ultimate catharsis of that connection I had been looking for between all living things—that being up there would be the next beautiful step to understanding the harmony of the universe…

…It was among the strongest feelings of grief I have ever encountered. The contrast between the vicious coldness of space and the warm nurturing of Earth below filled me with overwhelming sadness. Every day, we are confronted with the knowledge of further destruction of Earth at our hands: the extinction of animal species, of flora and fauna . . . things that took five billion years to evolve, and suddenly we will never see them again because of the interference of mankind. It filled me with dread. My trip to space was supposed to be a celebration; instead, it felt like a funeral…

…It reinforced tenfold my own view on the power of our beautiful, mysterious collective human entanglement, and eventually, it returned a feeling of hope to my heart. In this insignificance we share, we have one gift that other species perhaps do not: we are aware—not only of our insignificance, but the grandeur around us that makes us insignificant. That allows us perhaps a chance to rededicate ourselves to our planet, to each other, to life and love all around us. If we seize that chance.

William Shatner, after actually visiting space

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Gaia Mater

Now we […] have been caught up to see our earth, our mother, Gaia Mater, set like a jewel in space. We have no excuse now for supposing her riches inexhaustible nor the area we have to live on limitless because unbounded. We are the children of that great blue white jewel. Through our mother we are part of the solar system and part through that of the whole universe. In the blazing poetry of the fact we are children of the stars.

William Golding, Nobel Prize Lecture (1983)

We are the Earth

We often forget that the planet we are living on has given us all the elements that make up our bodies. The water in our flesh, our bones, and all the microscopic cells inside our bodies all come from the Earth and are part of the Earth. The Earth is not just the environment we live in. We are the Earth and we are always carrying her within us.

Realizing this, we can see that the Earth is truly alive. We are a living, breathing manifestation of this beautiful and generous planet. Knowing this, we can begin to transform our relationship to the Earth. We can begin to walk differently and to care for her differently. We will fall completely in love with the Earth. When we are in love with someone or something, there is no separation between ourselves and the person or thing we love. We do whatever we can for them and this brings us great joy and nourishment. That is the relationship each of us can have with the Earth. That is the relationship each of us must have with the Earth if the Earth is to survive, and if we are to survive as well.

Thích Nhất Hạnh, Love Letters to the Earth

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Life is social

Life is social. It exists in communities and collectives. There is a useful word in physics to describe the properties of collections: colligative. […] All collections of living things show properties unexpected from a knowledge of a single one of them. We, and some other animals, keep a constant temperature whatever the temperature of our surroundings. This fact could not easily have been deduced from the observations of a single cell from a human being. […] Homeostasis is a colligative property of life.

We have no trouble with the idea that noble entities such as people are made up from an intricate interconnected set of cell communities. We don’t find it too difficult to consider a nation or a tribe as an entity made up of its people and the territory they occupy. But what of large entities, like ecosystems and Gaia?

James Lovelock, The Ages of Gaia

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In Gaia

In Gaia we are just another species, neither the owners nor the stewards of this planet. Our future depends much more upon a right relationship with Gaia than with the never-ending drama of human interest.

James Lovelock, The Ages of Gaia (2010)

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Earth, our home and Mother

Instead of looking at the solstice as a remote event “out there” in space somewhere, I saw that it was intimately connected to life here on Earth. Though we often speak of “solar holidays,” the solstice is not a strictly solar event. It’s an Earth-Sun event. Nothing happens to the Sun, after all; nothing changes there, though we seem to see changes from our place here on Earth.

It’s here, Earth, our home and Mother, that I’ve come to understand as both a sacred place and a divine being. Divinity is not “out there” but right here. As Glenys Livingstone writes in PaGaian Cosmology, “When I speak of Mother, I understand Her as Holy Context, Place to Be.” We are not separate from the Mother; we are all a part of her. She is the place where all humanity lives, and a being in which we all participate.

Spinning in Place, Bart Everson

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Gaia, whose ways are bloody

My blood is holy nourishment. My blood nourishes the growing fetus. My blood becomes milk to nourish the young child. My blood flows into the ground as holy nourishment for the Great Mother, Gaia, Mother Earth.

Gaia, whose ways are bloody. Woman, whose ways are bloody. Blood of nourishment. But bloody. Bloody menstrual blood, bloody birth blood. Blood of peace, nourishing blood. Blood of health/wholeness/holiness, not of sacrifice. The Wise Woman tradition is a bloody-handed woman, a bloody-thighed woman, a woman who gives birth, a woman who sees to the other side of things.

Blood Mysteries,” Susun S. Weed

Autopoietic Gaia defined

Autopoiesis […] refers to the living nature of material systems. Well within the materialist view that recognizes the physical-chemical composition of organisms, autopoiesis refers to the self-making and self-maintaining properties of living systems relative to their dead counterparts. Autopoietic, unlike mechanical, systems produce and maintain their own boundaries (plasma membranes, skin, exoskeletons, bark, etc.). […] The smallest autopoietic systems, spherical and less than a micrometer in diameter, are bacterial cells. […] The largest autopoietic system, so far incapable of reproduction, is the modulated surface of the Earth that Lovelock has named Gaia. […] Gaia is defined as the large self-maintaining, self-producing system extending within about 20 kilometers of the surface of the Earth.

Slanted Truths: Essays on Gaia, Symbiosis and Evolution, Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan (2013)